The barista smiled brightly and asked, “Good morning! How are you?”
Like a storm too tightly stuffed with lightning, the witch began:
“I overslept. Twice. I have some of those Reverse Morning clocks, yeah? Well I used two to make sure I wouldn’t oversleep. Smart, right? Fool proof? Well I am the fool’s proof!
“Or at least I am in this timeline because I reset all of them — in all universes — and overslept. By… a lot, is that the right time? Charms and hexes! Did I mention I lost my keys? Because one of the time traveling me-s decided to do some reorganizing. I try to keep clean, but I’m really bad at it — well, in this timeline apparently. Not everywhere I guess? Somewhere a me is good at it and she has my keys because she is forgetful, that happens to all of us I guess. Or she put them in the “perfect” spot. But “me”-me — hi — I have no idea where this is.
“So I get up, grocery shopping isn’t until tomorrow? What?! So no breakfast, yeah? I tried conjuring up waffles and mixed up ‘mudroot’ with ‘muckroot’ — now there is an imp in my home. Possibly it ate my keys — it ate all of my dragonscale, it ate my mandrake, minotaur horn, and bat wings — it tried to eat my broom but that exploded. Hello expensive repair. And is that THE TIME? Ohsweetmoon I am so late. Again. Buying coffee I can’t afford because I’m definitely going to get fired for walking — walking! it is going to take forever! — into work at lunch time.”
The witch took her first breath in several exhausting moments. “I’m so sorry… that was a lot. I’ll just have a small swamp water to… go… and thank you.”
The barista recognized the witch as the library assistant at the Peyroux Public Phantasmal Library. Picking up a ceramic mug adorned with scenes of plump black cats comically snoozing in improbably comfortable poses throughout a graveyard, the barista set about making a proper drink. She also knew without asking her name was “Clementine” and that she loves blaqwort fungi sandwiches on specterdough.
“You won’t be fired. If they try, I’ll stop serving your boss, Ms. Vandergloom yeah?, until she hires you back. She’s in here like three times a week at least. And you’re having lunch, I insist. If you’re late already, you’ll get there while everyone else is out eating, so rushing about isn’t going to do you any good.”
The witch began warming up, until — “OH STARS AND STORMS I FORGOT MY WALLET. So thanks for listening and never mind? I’m so sorry.”
“Oh! Don’t worry, this is on me.”
Gently, and with a crimson blush, “Thank you so much. I’ll come by later with the money I promise.”