The Nation's Pulse

Double Frappuccino, Hold the Pistol

Enforcing the law at Starbucks against the Miller gang.

By 10.2.13

(10:22 a.m.) Tony, our head barista, tells me that Frank Miller is gunning for me and plans to meet me at high noon at Starbucks. I consider myself a peaceable man who doesn’t look for trouble, but Miller is after me for supposedly crowding into line ahead of him for my morning frappuccino. He vows to get back at me. Miller, a notorious outlaw, was nabbed several times for stealing packets of Splenda from various Starbucks.

(10:47 a.m.) The clock is ticking but I need to protect myself from the crazed gunman for terrorizing baristas while other patrons cower beneath tables and behind their laptops, fearing for their lives. Until now, it has been impossible to find a table without Wi-Fi.

(10:58 a.m.) Miller is notorious for shooting up a Starbucks in Dodge City and another in Durango, where he and his boys made off with a valuable supply of chocolate-covered biscotti. Clearly the varmint will stop at nothing. Miller swept through four or five Starbucks in Denver and is said to be on his way to our little neighborhood hangout.

(11:03 a.m.) This ruthless outlaw has gone far enough so I’ve spent the last few hours trying to round up some townsfolk to help me confront Miller and his gang before they instill more fear in decent coffee-loving patrons. Once Miller blazes his way through Starbucks, the marshal tells me he might invade a suburban Peet’s and then hit the new Blue Bottle outlet. I had to stop him before things got out of hand.

(11:16 a.m.) Quietly, I wend my through Starbucks, trying to round up a citizen posse, but everyone has an excuse for not joining me in ridding the place of a vicious desperado. I tell a woman with a double stroller that I will arm her with an AK-47 if she’ll lend me a hand, but she begs off, claiming she’s just a nanny on her coffee break.

(11:22 a.m.) When I approach a guy in a jogging outfit, he says that helping to gun down Miller would interfere with his morning run. Two old ladies smile nervously and ask me to please go away before anything happens. “We don’t need your type in Starbucks, mister,” one said. “We can take care of ourselves.”

(11:26 a.m.) I jump up on a leather couch and explain that I need patrons willing to stand with me to fend off the ruthless Miller gang, due in at noon on their bicycles. When the Starbucks regulars remain mute, I pull out my iPhone and call my girlfriend, Maddie. She tries to talk me out of a showdown with Miller and pleads with me to come home for lunch. “I can’t back down now,” I tell her. “If Miller isn’t stopped today there’s no telling what he might do. He once lit up a cigarette at the Fort Apache Starbucks.”

(11:33 a.m.) In desperation, I tweet a few friends to join me, but nobody is willing to come to my aid on such short notice. One replies, “Hey, Dude, I’m free Thursday at 3.” It looks like I’m in this alone -- just me and Howard Schultz, Starbucks’ founder and brave CEO, who had posted help-wanted ads in the local paper asking for patrons to leave their side arms at home when they mosey into one of his coffee bars. This only further provoked Miller, who has a long-standing grudge against Schultz for failing to hire him as a gun-toting barista bouncer at a Starbucks in Death Valley.

(11:47 a.m.) Time is growing short and I haven’t been able to recruit anyone in Starbucks to help me bring Miller to justice when he’s due to arrive in just 13 minutes.

(12 noon) The Starbucks doors swing open and Frank Miller arrives, toting his six-shooter, four buffed men at his side. The patrons scatter behind the counter, but I remain standing, armed only with my trusty double frappuccino and an apple-almond tartlet. Miller’s gun clicks. I coolly stare him down, sipping my double frap. “Nice to see, Frank. I’d heard you were due in town today.” Miller, a twisted snarl on his lips, mutters to a comely barista, “Gimme a decaf low-fat latte, sister, and make it snappy!”

(12:06 p.m.) I take a step toward Miller and say, “Maybe you hadn’t heard yet, Frank, but that poster on the wall by the door says all firearms need to be checked at the door.” Miller replies, “Oh, yeah? You aimin’ to do somethin’ about it?” Thinking fast, I fling my still-steaming frappuccino in his ugly face. Miller doubles over, screaming in pain.

“I’ll get you later, you dirty low-life sidewinder!,” Miller shouts, then turns to one of his boys and orders, “Lefty, text my attorney and tell him to prepare a suit against Howard Schultz for allowing an innocent customer to be injured with hot coffee. And don’t forget to cite the McDonald’s scalding coffee precedent. Looks like I’ll see you in court, pardner!” With that, Miller backs out of the swinging door, clutching his face in agony. Once again, order has been restored to Starbucks.


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About the Author

Gerald Nachman is the author of Funny: The Rebel Comedians of the 1950s and 1960s, Raised on Radio and Right Here On Our Stage Tonight!: Ed Sullivan's America. He is currently working on a book about the great Broadway musical show-stoppers.