Bill DeMarco Rates the Top 50 Starbucks in LA: This Week: #6
#6: the Starbucks at Compton and Gage.
Compton. What. Compton. What. C-C-Compton. WHAT.
I went to a Starbucks in Compton and ordered a Blackberry Green Tea LattÃ©.
I did. And you know it’s um. It’s not bad. It’s. Um. It’s got its own thing going on. You know, some people would say that if paint could throw up this drink is what it would taste like. But I’m not one of them. Unless someone paid me to say it. Or I paid someone.
At which point a discordant jangling fills the room. Is that clavier music? A bolt of something snaps the cup from my hand and impales it against the wall. That could have been me, that monstrous locust shell dripping seafoam blood. I’m thirsty.
“Coo Coo! You there! You look out of place!”
I look out of place says a guy dressed in breeches lowering his crossbow.
“I was saving you from a fate worse than whist. My name’s Geoffrey, like my toy?”
He raises his crossbow and turns it back and forth. “Where are my manners–I mean do you like me? What’s your name?”
I answer him.
“Ah the warm south. But I must say Mr. DeMarco you have a wan look for a paisano. Are you from Napoli?”
Yeah. You hit it on the nose. I’m from Napoli. Who is this guy?
“You’re not from Napoli but no matter. I must look the figure: hair in ruins, buttons unpolished, something impersonating a cravat round my throat. I’m not given to excuse-making but I had a catastrophic night at the tables and this time I really am done for. Say can I make up for my feat of daring and buy you something less mithridatic? An arrack-punch frappuccino peradventure?”
I tell him he can buy me an Americano.
“The genius of the Starbucks company is that they know their audience. Hence the Americano. You are what you eat. . .and drink.”
OK. A wise guy. But how wise. Time to rev-up Professor DeMarco’s Bullshit Detector.
“If you are from England. . .” I preface.
“Kent but who am I to quibble.”
“OK, Kent for the sake of argument. Do you play soccer?”
“I’ve bludgeoned the odd bladder.
“OK, if you really are from England. . .then. . .what’s it like?”
“Not to be borne. That’s why I prefer it here.”
He took a sip of his arrack-punch frappuccino.
“Reminds me of home.”
He’s got me on the ropes. Fuckin’ shit Demarco, say something witty.
“What’s your deal? Are you from here, are you from England, what?”
“You know, when the driver said this bus goes to Compton, I expected shire churches and wistaria. This is quite different. But not any less idyllic for all that.”
“But why are you here if you’re so English?
“To see a girl of course.”
He pointed his unloaded crossbow out the window at an idling MTA bus. There was only one person on it, a girl wearing a tiara.
“Signore, it’s been memorable. But now I take my leave. And I lied. . .whist is a gas. COO COO! You’ll never know! Ha ha ha!!!”
Just like that he breezed by me and hopped on the bus. Was he English? Maybe. Am I Italian? You make the call. My drink tasted like shit, I’ll give him that. Did he need to shoot it out of my hand? History will judge. Nice clothes. Bad attitude.
And I get the last laugh, Geoff: That’s the 202 to Carson. Good luck finding a game of whist.