Illustrations by Spencer Olson

Seven Magical Barista Fantasies

Because they could do so much more for you than make your lattes…

They’re our daytime bartenders. They give us coffee, scones, maybe a few remarks about traffic or the beauty of one of our graphic tees. But sometimes that’s not enough. Sometimes we want more. Sometimes we want them to rescue us — from an insurmountable sleep debt, a dead-end job, a sort-of-okay-but-sometimes-totally-not life. We want baristas to wield special barista powers.

Here are some fantasies about barista magic. These go out to anyone who has ever wondered: If my barista can give me milky caffeine and fluffy carbs, why can’t they give me everything else?

Escape to the pastry case

It’s 8 a.m. on a Wednesday. When you reach the front of the line, the words “large coffee” slither out of your uncaffeinated mouth, which needs more sleep to form full sentences. Your head feels like an expensive carburetor. Your barista leans over the bar, locks eyes with you and whispers, “Come with me.” He carries you into the pastry case, where you sleep on croissants and live forever without deadlines, self-doubt or Wednesdays.

Recognition of your hard work

“Looks like you’re working really hard over there,” says your barista, loudly enough for everyone in the coffee shop to hear. You’ve been huddled over your laptop, typing furiously and hoping someone would notice. “This one’s on me,” she adds, handing you a mason jar of iced coffee with everlasting ice. The coffee causes a normal amount of peeing.

“Oh!” says your barista, casually pouring the ideal amount of simple syrup into your jar. “Have I told you I moonlight as an accountant? I’d happily file your taxes, on the house. You’ve earned it.”

The DJ set

Your barista slips a card for his DJ set into your croissant. You take a bite and pull the card out with your teeth — gross, but strangely satisfying. As you approach the bar to confront your barista, you glance at his black-and-white headshot on the card. It winks at you. “Have you heard my sick remix?” the headshot whispers. Blink once, and you’re standing next to a fog machine in an underground club on the other side of the space-time continuum. It’s 8 a.m. on a Wednesday, and you begin to dance to your barista’s beats. You can’t help it.

This seat’s for you

The coffee shop is crowded with Scandinavian tourists and 2-year-olds named Atticus. Your favorite seat by the window is taken. The stained mustard-yellow sofa is booked. Every non-wobbly chair is occupied by a non-wobbly ass. You resign yourself to a creaky wooden stool by the door, next to Mr. Very Loud Business Deal.

As you order your usual $2.75 coffee and $4 muffin, your barista reads the disappointment on your face. “We have a special seat for you,” she says, pointing toward the ceiling. There, high above the rabble, floats a charmingly distressed leather armchair in the sky. You ascend a staircase lined with scones and take your place among the barista’s Chosen.

Watching your stuff

“I’ll watch your stuff,” your barista says with his back turned to you. “I will always watch your stuff. I will watch your stuff until we both die, and then I’ll keep watching it. I’m watching your stuff right now, with nothing but my heart. Your stuff is my stuff, and I will guard and protect it with every ounce of Sugar in The Raw coursing through my veins. You could fly to the forest in Bolivia where these beans come from and back and I would still be here, with your stuff, watching. Take as long as you need in the bathroom.”

Secret bathroom

“Is there another bathroom nearby?” you ask your barista. The bathroom has been occupied for more than 10 minutes, and you’re sure it’s either E. coli or a highly caffeinated prostitution ring.

Your barista places a tiny golden key onto the bar. It shimmers under the coffee shop’s vintage industrial lighting. You pick it up and hear the faint gurgle of a bathroom sink, which sounds like it’s coming from the supply closet. Open it, and you’re facing a marble vanity. Arrayed in front of you are five varieties of contact lens rewetting drops and a small bust of you made entirely with Sugar in The Raw. The “Employees Must Wash Hands” sign has been replaced by your tax returns, which are complete. Also, time stops in this bathroom.

Approval of your existence

“Nice T-shirt,” your barista says, pointing to your graphic tee and handing you a complimentary soft-baked ginger molasses cookie. “I’ve been meaning to say this for months, but you have exceptional personal style. In fact, the entire staff and I admire all of your observable life choices, and also your soul, which we can see. What inspires you?”

Harris Sockel is a writer who has contributed to XoJane and Thought Catalog.