The Scent

Sandy regretted making the strange feline visitor wait so long. She was last in line at the end of the morning rush and Sandy just couldn’t serve her before the others. She learned long ago that people were watching the order other customers entered even more than she was! It was just as important to get an order right as to get the order of those orders just right, or someone will tell you for sure that they’ve been skipped and it’s your job to fix it.

The cat hung around the counter even though Sandy went in back. She tried to keep the conversation going.

The Bavarian Breakfast is one of the best we have! Well, the biggest, at least. I never could handle so much meat all at once. Heh. Heh… Do you offer change for gold? Oh ho! Sure do! But you pay at the end, though. Did you come in off the train? Where are you from? Nowhere of consequence. Well… That’s kinda harsh. But it’s good enough to have a train station, right? Ah, sorry. You probably don’t want small talk during your breakfast. I remember people like that from back home. Yes. Sane people who do not wish to be interrogated by the help. What was that? Couldn’t hear you over the dishes! A-ah. I said I shall seat myself!

Sandy saw the black cat finally push herself away from the kitchen’s smells. Sandy had gotten used to the smell of bacon, eggs, and hash browns behind her day in and day out. She vaguely remembered when the smell of pancakes was something to get excited about as a kid. But now it was an expected part of her workday, one of a dozen stations that needed to be kept up just in case someone wanted some more. Sandy decided this cat needed a pick-me-up and threw some confectioner’s sugar onto a spare plate of pancakes just in case she offended her with the questions. She could hear the tired tone and the distant grumbles.

When Sandy next emerged, the cat was out by the window and Sandy delivered to her a venerable feast. No one had ever ordered the Bavarian before. But it was super easy to memorize… two of everything. It looked like Sandy had brought out enough food for four. The cat was pretty muscular, maybe that’s why she was in the mood for so much protein.

Aaah… sweet satisfaction. I haven’t eaten this well in days. Thank you! Please en- I need to rush off at any moment. May I pay now? Sure thing. I’ll just take that- *gobble!* *snarf!* *snap!* And be right… back…

Sandy walked over to the register just as Miko was coming in. One gold coin was enough to pay for the meal for sure. So she turned it over into the register and moved out all the silver and copper that would be next. Miko waved.

Straight to foxy coffee today, Foxy. And for the donut… Hmmm… I’m feeling… Pink. Pink with sprinkles it is. Do the pink ones smell different? Haha… no. But I like to pretend they do. So I’m in a pink mood today. Smells like… Like… Huh. Are you okay? I have other ones. No, I mean. I smelled something weird just then. But it’s already gone. I better check to see if anything’s burning. Okay, I’ll be in my usual seat.

Sandy went in back once more and sniffed the air. It was kind of pointless. Just because Miko had some super powerful sense of smell didn’t mean Sandy suddenly would pick something up by sniffing the air. The kitchen was what it always was; the smell of bacon, eggs, and hash-browns. She looked around a bit. And when she came back, Miko looked even weirder.

Miko’s eyes were wide and yet she was unfocused. She’d barely sat down and her coffee and donut were at odd angles, like she’d just frozen in place. Sandy had to come over and ask how she was feeling.

Nothing burning back there. Are you sure you’re okay? I know this smell… What’s it like? Pine. It smells a lot like pine… and pretzels. Uggn…! Sandy. Has anyone new come through here today?

Sandy only had to turn her head for Miko to immediately look the feline over. She was frozen in place with thick bits of sausage sticking out of her mouth like a bouquet.

Hey. Officwah. You mind if I ask you a few questions?

What happened next got Sandy to jump in fright! The cat leapt as hard as she could backward, tipping over her chair. Miko was ready and pounced, spilling her coffee and leaving everything for Sandy to clean up. Sandy gasped as it all came crashing down and Miko ran out the back door in pursuit, barking loudly!