That afternoon in the café at Borders Books in Santa Monica I was chatting with a co-worker, my back turned away from the register, when a voice boomed behind me, "I'll have a cappuccino for my wife, and a double espresso!"
It was THE voice I'd heard a million times: Baritone stream charging through my ear canal, freezing the neurons in my brain and throat muscles into instant recognition.
I prayed he wouldn't see the thought ballooning from the top of my head, as my mouth was sealed shut.
"It's Leonard Spock! No, I mean, it's Captain Nimoy, No, I mean.... OH MY GOD!!!"
I counted to three in Klingon, but couldn't turn to face him. My co-worker went on her lunchbreak (she wasn't a sci-fi fan. She'd no idea who this man was).
My head craned around - there HE was; very tall (or so it seemed), square glasses, standing next to a stately-looking blond.
My lips compressed, my heart slowed, and lack of air made me force out the words," That will be $5.75." I skulked over to the espresso machine, surreptitiously gulping down my urge to beg for his autograph, or stare at his ears, which were so disappointingly round!
I churned milk under the steam wand with extra vigor. Mrs. Spock must have stiff foam for her cappuccino. The shots I pulled were lacking their signature 'crème' color, so I pulled eight more while he chatted with his wife, oblivious to my restraint.
"That'll be $5.75," I repeated, bringing the drinks to the register. He handed me a twenty-dollar bill, sweaty from being held too long. My thumb lightly brushed over Andrew Jackson's moist pompadour. I shook my head, gritted my teeth, punched in the transaction and handed him his change.
"Thanks," he replied, saluting me with his espresso and dropped a buck into my tip jar.
"You're welcome," I said, watching him and his wife stroll away from the counter, and out of sight.
The knot in my chest loosened, brain pumped full force and my mouth opened wide...
"Live long and prosper," I yelled into empty space.