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"Imani, where is this coffee shop again? And why are your shifts so late?" My mother pesters me, watching me from in the doorway as I fix my white colored shirt, unbuttoning the first two.

"Ma, I told you this before, it's about fifteen minutes away. This is a different type of coffee shop, you know. They do like, poetry slams and stuff, you know how those are late at night." I said, practically making up my answers as I go along, avoiding her eye contact in the mirror and I put on my necklace.

She just eyed me and she watched me put on my shoes.

I looked at her as I stood back up, spraying perfume on, raising my eyebrow.

"I've been working here for four months already mom, I'll be fine!" I groaned. I grabbed my bag, hugged her and walked down the stairs.

I yelled goodbye to my father as I see my uber was in front of my house. I walked quickly as to it being the beginning of October and it's getting more and more chilly outside. I was going to take the bus to the train, but if I did so, I would've been 45 minutes late, and I don't need that.

I thanked the driver as I walked across the street inside the bar, smelling the pungent scent of liquor and bleach, knowing it was just cleaned by another worker.

Smiling at my manager as I went to the back to put my stuff down. I made sure my bun looked cute and my sleeves were cuffed, walking behind the bar, smiling at the couple in front of me.

"What would you like?" I asked gently.

See, I got this job out of showing my skills and a whole lotta begging. The Manager, Jason, was skeptical because of how young I was knowing how to mix drinks. I even put a couple new names on the menu that people love.

I was serving pretty fast, the tips profusely entering the pockets of my apron.

After 11, that's when the rush of grown men came, my favorite time. Can you sense the sarcasm?

The Jack Daniels' bottles were always getting replaced because that all they like to drink. It tastes alright, kinda nasty.

If I was being honest, the only good part about the men's lustful looks and not giving them attitude is the tips.

Let me tell you about those tips.

If Jason found out how much I was making off of tips I wouldn't even get an actual paycheck.

I can walk out of here with about 1,200 in tips, on a good rush hour.

As the rush hour was winding down, the time hitting almost two, I started wiping the counters down, the bar closed early on Wednesdays.

I pursed myself a glass of water as I went to the back. I drank some and sat the glass down on the table in the break room, sliding on my leather jacket and throwing my bag over my shoulder.and heading out. I gave Jason a wave as I headed out on the backstreets, pondering on how I should get home.

The crisp air made nose sting as I took my phone out my bag. I pressed the home button and it didn't show my lock screen. I held the lock button and a low battery symbol popped up on the screen.


I put my iPhone back in my bag and zipped it. Fuck, what am I supposed to do?

Instead of just standing there, I started making the walk home, I didn't even have music to help.

I wasn't that scared or intimidated by the streets at this time of night, but I was high alert. I turned various corners and walked many blocks when I was back in my familiarity. As I turned another corner, there were a group of men shooting dice on the curb.

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