Write a short story set in Argentina in 1932, in which a teacup plays a crucial role.

lunching ladiesA deep breath filled Belén’s lungs as she sat outside a café on the corner of Cordoba Street. Her eyes darted back and forth between her book and a boisterous group of middle aged women celebrating a birthday nearby. Cackles and shrieks seemed to erupt from the group every thirty seconds and rob attention from her reading. She exhaled and propped her book up in front of her to act as a barrier between herself and the cause of her vexation. This was not the calm, relaxing afternoon she had anticipated.

This disturbance was most intolerable and uncommon for the quiet spot tucked away from the busy market on the next block. She was not about to leave though. Out of spite and stubbornness, she instead hoped to outlast the celebration of some woman’s bold march toward 46 years old. After all, she had gotten here first. Back to chapter three; she tried to tune out her surroundings, sometimes quietly reading the words out loud to herself to protect further against distraction. She made it through a few pages when the waiter came by to check on her–another distraction–paired with another screech of laughter from the women.

Blood slowly boiling, and finding it now impossible to focus on her protagonists’ plight in the storms of love, or whatever this book was about, she started watching the tittering women. Her mind slowly fantasized of bursting over to their table and hurling their cake onto the cobblestone pavement, all the while bellowing that they were terrible wretches of women who howled like chimps while everyone around her cheered in agreement. Maybe she would add the pièce de résistance of a nice slap across the face of just one of them…

Belén’s daydreaming lingered on for a short while, when the next explosion of squeals and guffaws tore her out of her thoughts so severely she knocked over her cup of tea that was sitting on the corner of the table. The porcelain cup spilled its contents then hit the ground and cracked. The women all looked over, still drunk from their last fit of laugher, all of them starting to giggle towards Belén. A woman from the group in a blue sloped hat and matching gloves looked at Belén, commented something indistinct to her friends, then got up and went inside the café.

Belén flicked her hand, now covered in black tea. Her book lay face down on the table, the corner of it soaked by the brown liquid. Fingers clenching into her palm she looked up at the women with a furious glare. Her breaking point had come.

She walked irritably over to the women and shouted offenses at them, waving her hand back to her damaged book and ruined cup of tea, all while the women stared back wide-eyed with their chins ducked slightly and eyebrows raised. Now that she was sufficiently worked up, and getting little to no response from the women, Belén lunged at the cake, pushing it off the small table onto the ground. The cake hit the ground, flinging bits of yellow frosting on the women’s shoes. Shocked at what she had just done, and slightly disappointed it was not as climactic as she imagined, Belén turned to walk away quickly.   

She stopped suddenly though when she saw the woman in the blue hat come out of the café holding a new cup of black tea and a crisp $20 bill getting ready to set it at her table. The woman in the blue hat set the tea down with a note that read “Our Apologies” at Belén’s table then looked up to the scene that had just unfolded. A look of bewilderment and alarm swept across the woman’s face. Belén took a step back, realizing the atrocity she had just committed. Yellow frosting covering her left hand she stood in the middle of the café bewildered.


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