Dita strongly dislikes sweet coffee.
And she could tell that she did not mix well with anyone who did.
She could sense the simplicity in their eyes, in their taste, in their lives.
People who soil and dilute their premium brewed espresso shots with half a truck load of artificial almond syrup and almond milk don’t deserve the finer things in life. They could barely see the beauty in the cup of coffee on the saucer before them, let alone the glory of the watercolor sunset and the lush willow trees guarding the swamps on the opposing ends of every road in town.
She hated those people the same way she despised the summer months, as that’s when the hordes of tourists terrorize and infiltrate her hometown of Somerton Outpost. It used to simply be “Somerton” but the town council decided that the additive of “Outpost” seemed more adventurous, more appealing for inland college students to rent in our once affordable and locally attainable apartments.
But now every inhabitant of Somerton Outpost who didn’t live above ground in rent-stabilized apartments and lived on land was forced to turn to the dark side of Bed and Breakfasts just to get by. Along with their humble careers down by the docks, the collected rent from the whitewashed tourists was just enough to put food on their tables.
Dita was one of the lucky ones, she knew, as she was lucky enough to support herself with her palm reading business and humble job as a barista. But every friend she has invited into her life has suffered as the town gentrified into Halloweentown for the tame, simple-minded, sweet coffee drinkers.
If Halloweentown was what Mayor Calhoun wanted, then Halloweentown was what he was going to get, whether he liked it or not.
As Dita savored a slow sip of her black souled coffee from her fire escape, her hair still coiled in her hot rollers from the night before, feet dangling over the ledge, she decided that someone had to take a stand.
And who better than the troublemaker of Somerton Outpost?
Her plan started out simple. A spoonful of swamp mud was spread into the coffee grounds before brewing for weeks, each day a spoonful more than the last. She would keep her contaminated bag of coffee grounds behind the whole milk in the fridge to ensure that her coworkers weren’t affected. But the results were less than what she had hoped for. People began to rave about the freshness of Witches Brew Cafe, and soon it was the most popular shop in town, driving every hipster spring breaker through the saloon doors for a taste. They would ask how the espresso shots were so earthy, and wondered if they could buy bags straight from the shop. Dita would smile and turn them away, only to watch them soil it further with almond syrup and chocolate sauce.
That was the last straw for Dita. So she decided to add to her plan and hit them where it hurts. She decided to make a new flavor of artificial syrup.
After her shift, Dita hopped on her ruby trike and headed down to Dove Lake, the very lake that Mayor Calhoun deemed a chemical waste dump. Her fingers locked onto the fence as she hoisted herself over the “DANGER” and “NO TRESPASSING” signs. She dropped to her knees, not a care for how badly the dirt would stain her white skirt, and began to shovel the toxic mud into her mason jar. She dug deep into the earth, making sure to catch a few radioactive worms, beetles, or even a maggot if she was lucky. Climbing back over the fence and hopping onto her trike, the sun was about to set, meaning that the cafe would be empty soon. And Dita would be able to start her experiment.