Monday, September 4, 2017



Darrell stumbled to the kitchen, desperately hoping there was coffee. There wasn't. In desolation he put some water in a coffee cup and raised it to his lips. He downed three swallows of aromatic nectar of the bean before he remembered he'd expected water. He set the cup down with shaking hands. He sniffed. Yes, this was that ambrosia Prometheus had given to man.

The special: grits, eggs, and bacon (or sausage). A dollar less than eggs and bacon alone. So even though he didn't eat grits, it was worth it. Today he asked for water instead of coffee.

"You flyin' this morning?" Rashika said, "why else you don't want coffee?"

"An experiment," he replied. When she turned away he took a sip. He gulped the rest so she wouldn't see the coffee. It was the perfect temperature.

"How was the experiment?"

"I'm makin' it."

Coke turned. Also, orange juice, milk, and vinegar, but not liquid paper. A shadow fell across him.

"Bored, Stevens? I can't think of a better reason for drinking liquid paper. And if you ARE bored," his boss continued, "I can find something for you."

Darrell hastily screwed the lid back on.

"Back to work and quit fooling around."

"Yes sir."

By the time the apartment door closed behind him that night, Darrell had drunk so much converted coffee his hands were shaking. He wanted water, but it seemed that wasn't going to happen. He started to examine the horse's teeth in earnest and came up with some hair-raising questions.

Just what would happen if he cut himself and absentmindedly sucked on it? If he watered the bushes and drank from the hose would the entire municipal water supply go mocha? What if he got seawater in his mouth at the beach? Was kissing too close to drinking? How long could he live without water?

He could drink broth, it turned out, if he did it with a spoon, so he didn't have to resort to intravenous fluids. The problem of kissing was only theoretical until he met Sara. Standing in line at the juice bar she struck up a conversation with him. One thing led to another. On the third date she grabbed him by the ears and took the kissing question out of his hands. She lived. She settled the ocean question by dunking him. Finally, he stopped at a drinking fountain and took the plunge. He had to know.

Publ. Daily Cabal 2007

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