Drawing of a takeaway coffee cup. Caption reads: "The coffee was in a takeaway cup."

Curse short story by Iris Carden

Settle in dear reader, while I tell you the strange tale of Karen, who never felt she had the respect she deserved, and who got exactly what she deserved.

Karen was a middle aged woman who had a sense of entitlement almost too large to fit into her designer dress. Karen ran a small hairdressing business, called Karen’s Kuts. She had two staff members: another hairdresser, and receptionist/cleaner. Neither of them were as competent as she wanted, but she’d had a succession of employees, and absolutely none of them had ever been competent. It was the bane of her life that no-one seemed to share her high standards.

Karen’s morning had started badly. She was out of coffee. Why had she forgotten to pick some up? It couldn’t have been her fault. Surely someone had distracted her at the supermarket, made her forget she needed coffee.

Karen’s Kuts opened at ten am. It was nine. She had time to pick up a magazine, and go and read it in the coffee shop next door to her shop. She would sip her coffee slowly, relax and read until five to ten, then go next door and open the hairdressing shop.

There was a line at the coffee shop. Why were there so many people, she wondered. Didn’t any of these layabouts have jobs to go to? By the time she reached the front of the line, it was a quarter past nine. Her time to relax and read with her coffee had been diminished by all these useless people.

There in front of her, was the dumbest-looking barista on the planet: a young woman with a name tag which said “Linda”.

“Good morning what can I get for you,” Linda said in an overly-enthusiastic voice.

“I’ll have a large cappuccino, with extra chocolate on top, not too much foam, to have here.”

The girl repeated her order in that overly-enthusiastic voice. Then she said, “I’m afraid we’ve been rushed this morning. We’re out of china mugs. Is a takeaway cup OK? Otherwise we can get you a medium in a have here cup.”

“No. I want a large cappuccino in a have here cup. That’s not unreasonable. If you can’t manage that, get me someone who can.”

A second barista, a boy in his late teens, looked over from the coffee maker and asked: “Is there a problem?”

“I want a large cappuccino, and this stupid idiot can’t even take my order without messing it up.”

“Large cappuccino it is then,” he said, almost as brightly as the girl had.

Karen paid, found a seat and began to read her magazine. A couple of minutes later, that inane Linda appeared and put a coffee on the table in front of her. It was in a takeaway cup.

Karen screeched. She stood up, picked up the coffee and threw it at Linda. The lid came off and the girl was covered in coffee.

Karen yelled: “Of all the stupid, incompetent, ignorant, waste of space people I have ever met, you are the worst!”

As she stalked out of the coffee shop, she heard Linda say, “May the rest of your day be as nice as you are.”

Karen spun around in the doorway and demanded to know what that was supposed to mean.

“Oh it was just a thing my mother used to say. It’s kind of a blessing, I think,” Linda said, standing there, coffee dripping from her hair and clothes, looking every bit as useless as she was.

Karen turned back to the door and left, as Linda said under her breath. “Or maybe it’s a curse.”

As Karen exited the building, a pigeon flying overhead deposited a spectacularly large dropping on her head. Someone threw a lighted cigarette butt out of a passing car, which bizarrely landed in the pocket of her expensive dress., which caught fire until she beat it with her hands.

With hands slightly burnt, hair befouled, and a smouldering hole in the pocket of her expensive suit jacket, she opened the door of her hairdressing salon.

She turned on the computer to check her bookings for the day, but it emitted puff of smoke, made a sizzling sound and stopped.

The phone rang. It was her other hairdresser, to say she was sick of Karen’s bullying and she quit. Karen yelled at her through the phone, as her receptionist walked in the door.

Hearing what the conversation was, the receptionist said, “You know what? I’ve had a gut full of this I’m out too.”

Karen washed her hair in one of the sinks, and spilled shampoo on the floor. She wasn’t as careful with styling and drying as she usually was, and her usually perfect hair was a mess.

One customer after another called to cancel their appointments. A couple came in, saw the state Karen was in and left.

Karen yelled at all of the people who missed appointments, ensuring they would never come back.

She paced around her shop like a caged tiger, stepped in the shampoo she’d spilled earlier and fell face-first on the floor, splitting her lip and breaking a tooth.

She realised the cause of all this was that weird blessing thing Linda at the coffee shop had said to her. She went back there.

Neither the baristas from earlier were behind the counter. Karen shouted: “Where’s Linda?”

“She was on early today. She’s gone home,” the woman behind the counter said.

“I want her phone number, and her address!”

“I’m sorry, I can’t give out employee’s personal information.”

Karen began to scream. She yelled her demand at the barista. She ranted. She raved.

I’m sorry to say dear reader, Karen in her dishevelled state, yelling incomprehensible things, led everyone who witnessed this incident to believe she had some severe mental illness.

The barista who was not directly being yelled at called the police.

So dear reader, Karen is spending the night in a nice, secure hospital ward. As for Linda, well, she’s at home snuggled up with her cat, and a nice cup of cocoa, studying her mother’s grimoire.

I invite you, dear reader, to look out for more:

Strange Tales

While you’re here…

Find Iris Carden's books:  
    at Lulu (publisher)     
    at Amazon  
   or  at your favourite online bookshop.

Digital Tip Jar: PayPal.Me

Follow Me: Twitter / Facebook / Instagram


By Iris Carden

Iris Carden is an Australian indie author, mother, grandmother, and chronic illness patient. On good days, she writes. Because of the unpredictability of her health, she writes on an indie basis, not trying to meet deadlines. She lives on a disability support pension now, but her ultimate dream is to earn her own living from her writing.


Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: