By Chris Deferio
KNOXVILLE, TN— Concerned customers and townspeople are milling about in confusion and wonder this morning after Lenny Welker, the closing barista at a local espresso bar, accidentally performed the perfect close and realized that the shop could never open again.
Welker had been finishing the final item on the closing checklist when he realized what had happened. “I was folding towels, thinking to myself. ‘You know, I don’t know why the openers can’t do this.’ Then, as I folded the last towel, I saw the lights flicker and and that’s when I saw it: the store was… perfect.”
Welker reports that he stood still for at least an hour for fear of disturbing the nativity-like peace that the store had been enveloped in upon being set into perfect order. “It was incredible; I’ve never experienced anything like it before. But I was also filled with fear at the thought of the next morning’s open—it just wouldn’t be right to disturb this ever again.”
He finally worked up the courage to call the store’s owner Beth Williams, who then managed to extract Welker from the shop without damaging the newly-sanctified cafe space.
“When he called, I was annoyed,” Williams told us. “But once I went in, I saw that he was right. We can’t go back in there.” She looked up at the shop, an awestruck expression still on her face. “There was really nothing left for us to do but to shut the store down forever.”
Williams will be launching a Kickstarter campaign to help open another store to replace the now-perfect one that she lost. The city of Knoxville is fast-tracking the cafe to historical monument status.
Chris Deferio is an 18 year specialty coffee veteran and is the host of the Sprudgie award nominated podcast, Keys to the Shop. Chris is based in Louisville, Kentucky where he dabbles in cheap bourbon and crafts artisanal puns.