Friday, November 27, 2015

Story Cubes 12: Coffee Calamity (fiction)

All I wanted was a steamy cup of wicked black java, something to perk me up and obliterate the sleepy funk I was in. I needed that fix so bad that I felt like a dying fish, a falling star, a bee without a buzz.

Turtle-slow, I shuffled toward the local caffeine emporium, a scruffy establishment that nevertheless ground a good bean. My feet were tied to bricks -- or so it seemed -- and for the first time in my life, I wished I had a cane. The door of the shop was loath to open, and for a panicky moment, I thought it might be locked, that this temple of caffeination might be drained for the day.

Inside was a skinny, acne-scarred teenager behind the counter, munching on an apple and waiting on a gray-haired man in a wrinkled business suit. "I'll have a mocha coconut Frappuccino", the man said. The counter-boy turned away to mix it, which I knew would take until the heat-death of the universe, since he seemed to be the only barista on duty. I rolled my eyes, and they landed on a hipster slumped in a corner armchair, snoring softly. I knew I'd be similarly narcoleptic if I wasn't sipping a mean grind soon.

Finally, it was my turn at the counter. I handed my debit card to the teen and barked that I wanted "a large black". "A large, black what?" he said, smirking. A rhetorical question. I said nothing. "Anything else?" he said. "No!" I retorted, with what I realized was too much insistence. His expression soured, and he proceeded to pour with the speed of an arthritic glacier. "Here," he said as he set the dark remedy before me at last. "Sugar?" "No, no thanks," I growled.

The paper cup was so hot that my fingers throbbed as I found a seat at a table. The first sips scorched by lips and tongue, but I didn't care. I needed jolt therapy to slam me back into radiant consciousness. I imbibed half the cup within two minutes, but the thunderbolt didn't come. In another minute I knew I'd been subjected to perfidy. I stared up at the ceiling and hissed a curse-word at the wagon-wheel chandelier: "decaf!"


(The bold-faced words are interpreted from the images on Rory's Story Cubes)

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