I took a small plate of banana cake to work for the others to enjoy. I took a slice to my desk with the latte I bought at the nearby café. I try not to make a habit of buying lattes and instead make sure I’ve eaten breakfast at home and have plenty of snacks and a filling lunch. I don’t always put a lid on my hot drinks, but yesterday I did. I didn’t want my drink to go cold, so I was taking big gulps after a nibble of banana cake. It was a nice combination. I lifted the cup and was down to my last swig. I lifted it and began drinking, getting all the warm milk down when I felt something entering my mouth. I stopped thinking, wait a minute there isn’t supposed to be anything extra except foam. I pulled my lips away and saw something dark go back through the hole. Right at this point the boss had called me into his office with a question and I was making shrieking sounds because I had either just seen, and had in the tip of my mouth, a bug of some sort or a limp flower blossom. I didn’t know which. I went to the garbage can and spit out the liquid. I went back to my desk, lifted the lid and didn’t see anything but a bit of coffee and a little foam. Whatever it was, sunk to the bottom.
My boss said, “Rebbecca, is that you making that noise.”
“Yes,” I said. “There is either a bug or a flower in my latte!”
“Too much information,” he said. He didn’t want to hear about it, so we got down to business. I squirmed inside, curious to drain the cup to see what lay in the bottom of my cup.
The question he had form me was answered quickly. I went to my cup took it to the garbage and drained the remaining liquid out. I looked inside and at first I thought, a fuchsia blossom or some other complicated blossom. I moved the limp body around with my napkin. No, it was an insect! And it was at least an inch and a half long. Eeeeek. I was slightly disgusted and thought of all the times I’ve eaten and drank from this café. I thought of all the episodes of Kitchen Nightmares I’ve watched and the undelightful surprises that Chef Gordon Ramsay finds in the kitchens.
I stepped away and took my cup to the café to show the woman my discovery. In line I was slightly shaky: In one way absurd that this grossed me out so much and in another way quite valid feelings. I kept the lid on and waited my turn and then asked her to step over to the side. I took the lid off and said, “look what was in my latté.”
“That looks like a grasshopper,” she said in her British accent. “Did you take the lid off? Maybe it got in when you weren’t looking."
“No, the lid was on the whole time and when I went to take my last sip, this touched my lips.” We couldn’t stop looking at the hopper. “And I don’t think we have grasshoppers hopping around in the office.” I couldn’t believe that she was insinuating that this critter had hopped into my coffee. I pointed to the canisters that hold the milk for preparing hot drinks. “It could have come from one of those,” I said. “They are there open all day and the flowers there. He could have hopped in.” She considered this but would not commit.
We looked at each other then back to the inside of the cup.
“That must have been awful for you then. Well, here, let me make you another.”
“No, nono. I don’t think I’d like another.” We were both friendly since I come here often. I was in double disbelief. Would I like another? After that? Who was she kidding? “I think I’ll just take my money back, thanks.”
“Oh sure. No problem. Gosh that must have been awful for you.”
“Yes, it was.”
The grasshopper was red and it really did remind me of a fuchsia blossom before I started moving it around with the napkin and seeing the legs, and yes, those were eyes. I’ve never seen a red one and I don’t often see them at all. I’m guessing he was red because he was steamed with hot milk or maybe he was a different species than the green I’m used to. This doesn’t make me want to get lattes there anymore and I don’t think I will or maybe I need a break from lattes altogether.
It’s different when you can see what you’re drinking or eating, but these types of surprises drowning at the bottom of a pool of whatever. It could have been soup or anything else thick and cloudy.
He was beautiful though.
On a Monday morning
Our lips touch—