Monday, January 31, 2005

Hey You, Under-Steam This

Latigo Flint has come to greatly respect those gunslingers of the food & beverage service industry, the Starbucks Espresso Machine Calibration Technicians.

Squinty-eyed, the Starbucks Espresso Machine Calibration Technician (EMCT) surveys the morning call sheet. Somewhere down a lonely and dangerous road is a Starbucks in peril. Its machines are no longer achieving the exact right temperatures and grinding consistencies. Unsatisfied customers are becoming highly upset, and the townspeop- uh, employees don't know what to do. Panic is beginning to set in.

The front door opens and through it strides a tall, confident figure. A crisp white collared work shirt unable to obscure layers of rippling, fast-twitch muscle. In determined silence he stares down his enemy. When he speaks it's in a low, confident growl.

"Hey Model Number SB 1287, I hear you been under-steaming some milk and/or soy replacement 'round these here parts."

The Machine gurgles disrespectfully and tries to spray him with curdled milk. With deceptive quickness the EMCT sidesteps then rushes. Blazing hands remove the outer cover and dive deep into recesses of the shiny beast. The cowed employees can only stare in slack-jawed amazement. Theirs is a life lived in unquestioning servitude at the mercy of this machine and its rowdy friends (Blender, Grinder and Vanilla Pump). Where this man found the courage to strap on a miniature tool belt and fight back they'll never know.


The test cup fills with a satisfying steamy hiss. The Assistant Manager's thermometer proves what the silent fighter already knew, that perfect lattes and cappuccinos will now flow from this Starbucks for many years to come. As suddenly as he appeared, the EMCT is gone. (Phone number of the hottest cashier tucked safely behind his tiny ratchet set.)

The greatest era in the history of this planet, the glory days of the American Old West, have come and gone. Latigo Flint accepts that. But at least fragments of its ideals, style and self-made justice and success live on. They live on in the Starbucks Espresso Machine Calibration Technician.

(...It also lives on in the distant laughter of children at play, but mostly in the Starbucks Espresso Machine Calibration Technician.

Sometimes Starbucks Espresso Machine Calibration Technicians bonk their heads on the steamer nozzle, then the machine has won.

I may have made this job up.

But I didn't make gunslingers up. They're real.

I'm going to sleep now, but my song won't stop... my song will continue.)


At 9:08 AM, Blogger darthmoridin said...

You don't want to meet Vanilla Pump in a dark alley.

The results could be...


At 9:23 AM, Blogger Teaspoon said...

God be praised for the EMCT, god be praised.

At 9:41 AM, Blogger Lightning Bug's Butt said...

That post left me a little teary-eyed.

Although I still ain't paying $4.50 for a goddamn cup of coffee.

At 11:40 AM, Blogger Gil The Carnie said...

I think Latigo needs ta' get outa' Starbucks once ana' while. Get himself a blended smoothy and tryin' not think so much.

At 4:02 PM, Blogger Cad Grublygold said...

Howdy there pardner, bully for you and yer high class coffie stuffs. If you want to see how the other half lives, mosey on over to

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