Author Topic: The Hard Drive Cafe  (Read 170 times)

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Offline noquiexis

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The Hard Drive Cafe
« on: January 30, 2017, 05:19:29 PM »
The Hard Drive Cafe

November 2008
by noquiexis
Note: This story was originally published on another doll-related forum, and contains references to characters and history found there.

     The Hard Drive Cafe is much like any other fast food joint with the usual collection of blue collar workers and office types. An ordinary day here is just that - ordinary. But every once in a while things are a bit different, as this little slice of Americana will show.

     The staff is the typical collection of people and personalities that you find in any city.  Ascii Hex, the owner of this particular establishment, is a giant bear of a man, but he is gentle as a dove. He started out in life like all of us, doing bits and bytes just trying to survive. Once he got enough words together he soaked everything into this little corner shop. It isn't much, but its his, and he is his own boss.
     Perl, the Sql Manager, is your typical late middle aged bleached blonde, but she is a lot smarter than she lets on. It was once rumored that she was a Hollywood starlet that washed out when her beauty started to fade.
     The waitresses are Rachel Daydreamer, Nicky Cross, and Tanya Goldman. Hex says that they are the best file servers in the city. Tanya is famous for hosting wild parties in the chat rooms.
      Sergio Sutherland, the head chef, is a 'Tony Curtis handsome' fellow in his early thirties. He has a New York kind of look about him, and nobody messes with him! He works with BarbieNEO, cook and salad chef. BarbieNEO is understudying with the local theater group.

     Large picture windows flank the glass and aluminum front door. A large neon sign in the left window proclaims that this is the Hard Drive Cafe. Booths form an L shape around the front and outside walls, and tables are placed in the spacious floor. A cafe bar with stools stands in front of the wall between the dining room the kitchen. Perl usually waits on customers at the counter and runs the register at the center.
     The wall behind the cafe bar holds a collection of poster-sized advertisements and photographs, along with some awards and Microsoft certificates. One of the pictures shows Ascii Hex handshaking with the Her Honor, the Mayor. One of the ads has a picture of a Mr. Clean lookalike with a liquid mustache. The caption reads "Got McAfee?" Another poster is a photo of Rommie Harper and Nikki Fox in tight skirts and tops walking by a man seated on a park bench. The caption reads "Could've had a B8!"
     The television, mounted high on the wall between the posters, was showing the end credits of "Claudia", a Doll Light Zone story. A split screen inset has the ghostly image of Arana, the narrator, as she previews the next episode. The volume is kept low so as to not interfere with the jukebox in the back corner.
     Perl had just placed the latest edition of CoverDoll in the rack next to some city street guides. There were also a few copies of the latest book by Keith Allen Cross.

     Bill, the oldest living resident, sat by himself in a booth in the back corner. An information specialist, he had once owned the Macintosh Apple orchard, but he called himself "the farmer in the Dell". Most people called him The Old Man. On the table before him was a shoebox full of floppy disks. Nobody knew the secrets he held, but they all respected him. He had just put a nickel in the jukebox and selected George Harrison's "What Is Life?", his favorite.
     A couple of booths over Rachel Daydreamer was pouring out a cup of Java for Sophie, one of the regulars. She had a bad case of the 'Becker Blues' and was worried that she might never see her sisters again. TC sat across from her and was trying to give her some comfort. Sergio would come out from the kitchen when he could to get a peek at her TXTs.
     Three couples sat at one of the round tables near the center of the floor. Sidore was teasing that she had beaten Davecat at video games - 56 times! Davecat just smiled as he thumbed through her Sylvia Plath book. Sam and Euchre were on their left. Mahtek, seated on the right, watched as Phoebe checked her makeup.
     In a booth near the door, Cortigiana sat with a couple of Animated GIFs. Nicky Cross had just given the kids some crayons and cartoon placemats. Cortigiana looked for something nutritious to order for the kids.
     Three gorgeous ladies shared the booth on the other side of the door. Debra and Leah are lounge singers at the Linux Hed Hat and Lisa Teddy Babe is the headliner. They wore Tee shirts and jeans but would change into their show costumes when they got to work.
     One of the cusomers at the counter was Elle Jihan who had just arrived from Paris. A model and JPEG artist, she was in town for the opening of a new art gallery. Elle was going over the new menu, a cascading style sheet that Hex had just picked up from the printer.
     Kleewis sat in the front corner booth next to Catalina. She was leafing through an old Star Trek Technical Manual while trying not to be bothered by Noquiexis, who was trying to make time with them.
     "Men!" she complained. "One minute they're spouting sonnets, the next you're back to being the hired help!"

     A Netscape Navigator pulled up and parked next to Cortigiana's van. Zara, the "Wonder from Down Under" and Sexy Selene stepped out on the right. Jayde and Ceilidh got out the left. As ther entered the cafe they overheard Lenny the Lurker leer at Zara,
     "I'd sure like to get in her pants!" Selene, always ready with a comeback, replied,
     "She's already got one asshole in her pants! Why would she want another?" Passing by, Sam high fived Selene while Zara shook her butt at Lenny. Sam asked Zara,
     "Why didn't you tell that jerk to kiss your butt?"
     "Because he probably would!" was her cool reply.
     As she passed by Hex, Ceilidh grabbed his belt and said,
     "Is that a hammer in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?" Ascii Hex almost dropped the platter he was carrying.

     When the girls got seated, Tonya Goldman came over with some fresh Java. Just then a pair of Goons walked in dressed in wide brimmed hats and trenchcoats. Hex saw them come in and knew they were up to no good. They were headed in the direction of The Old Man. Hex followed close behind and ordered,
     "Stop right there or I'll park your heads!" The Goons reeled about brandishing Mozillas and aimed them at Hex.
     "You don't have the DOS to stand up to us!" one sneered.
     Hex raised his gigantic fist and drew back to land a death blow. In one smooth motion, Perl retrieved the Firefox from under the counter and put a round just under the sneering Goon's hat. A lock of greasy hair fell out, slid down the bridge of his nose, and dripped on to the floor. Hex opened his hand and with a circular motion knocked off the sneering Goon's hat, swept the Mozilla out of his hand, and whacked the Mozilla out of the other Goon's hand. He handed the hat back to the sneering Goon and said,
     "Here's your hat! What's your hurry?" The two Goons IP'd themselves and beat a hasty retreat out the door and down the sidewalk.
     A Win 98SE squealed to a halt in front of the cafe, then awkwardly parked next to the Navigator. Trixie Secretariat stepped out and walked deliberately to the passenger side. She came in just as Perl safetied the Firefox.
     "Dang it Perl! You just scared the crap out of my fare! That shot went through my heap and hit bank across the street!"
     "Hi, Trix!" Perl answered with a smile. "Whenever there's a fresh wind, that old jalopy sounds like a calliope! One more hole won't hurt!"
     "I smell Something Awful!" Trixie quipped. "Did you just have a couple of Goons in here? I saw them running down the street. They were leaving an IP trail that a blind man could follow!"
     Blind Reginald, seated near the register asked,
     "You want I should chase them, Trix?" Trixie kissed the man's shiny forehead.
     "Not this time Reggie! I don't want you to get your hands dirty!" To Ascii she said, "Hey pal! How about a hug?" She grabbed the big guy, but could only get her arms part way around him. Then she saw the Mozillas. "Holy crap, Batman! What did those Goons want, anyway?"
     "They were after my secrets!" The Old Man answered. "I was going to put them back in my safe deposit box when the bank opens!"
     "Well they won't open for a while," Hex said. "That bullet set off the alarm. The cops will be here soon. I should wipe the slop off these Mozillas before they get here!"
     "I wouldn't do that!" Reginald said. "They might want fingerprints!"
     "Yeah, you're probably right," Hex said.

     Now that things had settled down, Tonya Goldman asked the girls what they wanted.
     "Latte for me," Zara requested, "and a Fortran salad with Cobol dressing."
     "Make mine straight Java," Selene said, "and a slice of Goon meat!"
     "Sorry," Tanya chuckled, "we're fresh out of Goons!"
     Midiman, the passenger in Trixie's taxicab, finally made it into the cafe. He was holding a shattered thermos and had coffee all over his shirt and pants. BarbieNEO came out with Cortigiana's order, saw him, and happily announced,
     "Hey everybody! Coffee's on Midi!"
     Midiman just stood there with an exasperated look on his face. He threw up his hands and said,
     "It can only happen to Midiman!"

;D 8) ;D
"Green is in the mistletoe and red is in the holly
 Silver in the stars above that shine on everybody
 Gold is in the candlelight and crimson in the embers
 White is in the winter night that everyone remembers

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