The masters of the universe arrive at quarter to midday. Sharp suits, shined shoes and greying hair coiffed for girlfriends rather than wives. The men who moved millions this morning have come for their cappuccinos.
Karri takes their orders and pours the fuel without which the world economy will stagnate, the banks will crumble and bankers’ bonuses would remain unpaid.
The masters order from the sides of their mouths, breaking their conversation only long enough to specify the volume of sprinkled chocolate and type of syrup with all the precision they bring to their trades.
Karri stirs, taps and squeezes, wondering what they’ve left the office to discuss. A new client? An interview for the next apprentice master?
“Brian,” one of them is saying. “She hired a detective. She knows about the saunas. She knows I didn’t go to the Strasbourg conference. Brian, she found the cocaine. She’ll tell the kids. She’ll take the house…what are you doing you silly tart? That’s far too much hazelnut syrup.”
“Sorry, darling.” Karri has found that the best way to respond to grumpy customers is to be face-splittingly cheerful. “I thought you needed a bit of sweetening.”
He’s not listening.
“Brian! She’s going to take the cat!”