My love affair with the bitter devil began around the age of 9. At first I started drinking coffee because I really wanted to be a business man and I thought that it was something business men did. That and have sex with their secretaries, but I was 9 years old... sick bastards. I also added lye to my brew once because my brother told me that it helped him get rid of the neighborhood hooligan old man McMannis. After profuse vomiting and burning of my esophagus, I sure learned not to try anything Greg said anymore; including the time he told me to steal the TV to hock and prostitute myself to get us to Vegas... what a goofball!
Anyway, coffee and I are quite the match. Not because of the cliche goth traits of bitterness, darkness and all of that garbage, but because I like to drink it. See how simple matches can be? Over the years, my imitation of business men evolved into a genuine appreciation for the drink. I began to expand my horizons from my mother's shitty drip coffee(I KID PEG I KID) to the wonders of the flavored coffees of Starbucks. If I could shoot Starbucks coffee into my veins and not get infections and die, I’d do it; that’s how good it is ladies and gents. After thousands of caramel macchiatos and years of dedication to their God-sent coffee, I applied to work there. They turned me down. Yes, Starbucks deemed me incabable of shooting steam into milk and repeating back stupid orders. I wanted to burn the Starbucks that turned me down to the ground, but the fact that it was in a mall sort of put an end to that idea. Besides, Starbucks' are sentient and can sense danger, so I'm sure the store would have disappeared moved itself long before I threw a lit cannister of kerosene inside of it. That and there are approximately 900 Starbucks per capita in the U.S., so burning one to the ground really wouldn’t accomplish anything... fire just makes the Starbucks stronger.
My heart was pummeled like Mike Tyson in his last fight(DID YOU SEE THAT BUSINESS? MIKE.. HANG IT UP PAL). When my mother asked to cook me dinner or clean something of mine, I spat at the ground and cursed her. When she asked what was wrong, all I could respond with was, "Oh Mama... what's right?" Afterwards I'd weep into my Egyptian cotton pillowcases and wish upon a thousands stars that my dream man would arrive and lift the curse before it fully consumed me and I permanently became a werewolf. Oh yeah, shit, I guess that was Beauty and the Beast... whatever. The point is that I was sent spiraling into a depression, the likes of which Hunter S. Thompson wouldn't even understand.(too soon?)
After a few days of depression, an idea crept its way into my mind. I HAD TO BEST THE STARBUCKS COFFEE AND LET THEM KNOW ABOUT IT. Oh it may seem impossible... the perfect amount of foam, the redundancy of drink from store to store, those friendly staff that announce your order for all to admire, but I had to find a better cup of coffee. And after I found that better cup of coffee, I would march into a random Starbucks and claim my dominance. The following are my accounts of various attempts to find a better cup of coffee.
The corner Bodega/Deli
As the name implies, I went to my local corner bodega to try out their coffee. It kind of seemed silly, as I knew it would taste like rancid cinnamon with a wonderful aftertaste of paper, but I had to try every cup of coffee I came accross to truly beat Starbucks.
As usual, when I walked in, the grill man smiled and asked me if I'd like my "usual" pastrami melt. When I declined, he looked so pitiful and crushed, as if I had just told him his wife was dead and the Deli was being closed. Except I'm pretty sure his wife is already dead or at least a shut-in of sorts, as he makes sandwiches 30 hours per day. I had to fight back the tears of sorrow for him, and knew that the only thing that would bring that smile back to his face was if I ordered a fucking sandwich. I say "fucking" sandwich because I did not want it at all, and am broke enough as is. Then I remembered to get coffee; I asked for the coffee to be regular(2 sugars and 2 creams). The half-retarded Asian casier handed me my styrofoam cup along with my sandwich that I did not want and I retired to the dungeon of love(my room) to test out the product.
I took one sip and immediately my stomach told me, "Hold on, bitch... now you just wait a goddamned minute. What do you think you're doing?"
I replied, "Well, I'm drinking this coffee to test it out. You know, to best them and the like."
He replied, *VOMIT*
Kind of funny those stomachs are. So the bodega lived up to its usual quality, but at least now I had room for that sandwich.
The Hippie Den
I don't know if you've ever experienced a hippie den coffee shop in New York or elsewhere, but they are not for the self-conscious or faint-hearted. They offer sporadically good coffee and awful service from people who hate life and you. As I entered this particular shop, the usual smell of hemp, hand-knit scarves, thrift shop t-shirts, and hippies filled the warm air inside. Oh God I had to get out of there before I was accosted by someone who was protesting the naming of plants we normal people refer to as "Bushes."
When I reached the counter, the black-haired, holes-all-over-the-face, pale, "starving(and yet somehow pudgy) artist," cashier greeted me warmly with a "What would you like?" All the while her eyes showed her absolute disdain for my Jcrew-esque clothing and snazzy black loafers. Her hate was almost seeping from the cracks in her horribly overdone foundation and makeup. I ordered a Mocha, as that was really all that was on the menu. She quickly responded with, "To go, right?" Oh how I would've beaten her where she stood for that remark if her assumption weren't so painfully correct. But just to one-up her, I decided to drink my coffee in this filthy, yet chic, haven for future janitors.
I sat down in a nice overstuffed arm chair. It wreaked of liberalism and stale tobacco; perhaps from the days when smoking was allowed indoors. Not bad thus far, but the coffee was the reason for this very unwanted journey. I took a large sip; held it in my mouth for a bit; swished it around like an elitist prick pretending like I knew what I was doing; then swallowed hard. Hmmm. I got up from my comfy and foul-smelling chair with my mug of coffee in hand. I asked the annoying-looking cashier if I could talk to the man who made the coffee; to compliment him. He approached the front counter with a perplexed expression, as if he had expected a negative reaction from the cup of coffee he had just made for me. See, something didn't taste right about that mocha. There was the taste of espresso, milk, chocolate, all of the ingredients one might expect from a mocha. And then there was something else. Oh no, not urine or Arsenic my friends.... Vanilla.
At first I played it nice and asked if he accidentally started making a vanilla mocha and tried to cover it up. The impression that I gave was that I fully understood but would like the correct order made next time. He scoffed at me and took a step back from the counter. He could not believe that I had just insinuated that his mediocre cup of coffee was anything but the elixir of life sent to him from Allah. He said he follows the code of the coffee maker and never mixes up an order or adds anything that was not ordered to his coffee. I scanned him from ugly army boot to shaved head and knew what had to be done. I pulled out a white leather glove from my side coat pocket and slapped him across the face, demanding satisfaction. The stupid goth cashier yelled out that it was duelin' time and took off her stained apron and led the rest of the coffee shop patrons out into the street to watch.
A few stragglers, still immersed in their Vonnegut books and Tori Amos music, took a while to find their way outside, probably from the effects of ingesting their body weight in psilocybin mushrooms, but they all made it. It just so turns out that on that particular day I was on my way to pawn my dueling pistols, as after the accident with my late wife Gertrude I felt I had to give it up. Oh how I miss my Gertrude....God-rotting cholera..
My pistols were cocked, a crowd of Asians snapping their cameras and the local hipsters acting disinterested starting forming a small mob around me and this mysterious coffee-maker. The hipsters of the village cannot show interest in anything but obscure bands and snorting MDMA, so a good duel was nothing to be worked up about. My opponent stood opposite me, hands by his holsters(I guess he kept them in his locker at the coffee shop... you know... just in case a good dueling comes along).
As I stared into his sea-green eyes, I began to doubt my ability to outgun him. Sweat beads collected on my forehead and dripped down to my brown. My heart began to synch with the count-down... 10....9....8....7...6.....5.....4*BANG* I discharged my first shot straight into my opponent's collar bone. He cringed down in pain, screaming obscenities and clutching his wound; now generously pulsing blood. He stumbled away from me, all the while still clutching his bloody wound. After 4 paces or so he stumbled to his knees, keeling over in a sort of Muslim prayer bow position.
The cashier, and also mediator of this duel, asked me what the hell I was doing. She informed me that here in the big city, they wait until the count reaches zero before firing. I explained that in the rough streets of Cherry Hills and Englewood, Colorado, we just picked a number from 1-10 and fired on that number. She asked, “Well then why the hell would anyone choose any number but 10?” She sure was a crafty minx, I had to hand it to her. I responded, “Well.. *BANG*” The bullet fragmented her skull and entered her frontal lobe, killing her instantly. I turned my attention back to the coffee man.
As I approached him slowly, every step closer brought more pleas and beggings of forgiveness. His face was planted firmly on the pavement, he could not bear to see the enemy that would bring him the death he claimed to desire in his stupid poetry. I steadied my other pistol and aimed at his cerebellum. As I applied slight pressure to the trigger, a voice told me not to kill him. It was not a voice from the crowd, they all shouted and demanded a kill. It was Gertrude. I lowered my pistol to my side as she reminded me that I promised to give up my wild ways and become a banker like a good Jew. I told her that I wasn't Jewish and was never particularly wild, besides the occasional theft and not correcting people when they gave me incorrect change. The voice said, "Oh.. well.. jeez this is sort of awkward isn't it? I mean here I am, back from the dead, and I've forgotten everything about you. Well, uhh, I love you? I don't really know what to do here, so I'll go ahead and leave now okay? okay then."
Now the coffee man sensed some sort of weakness or good will within me and turned his head away from the sand-covered pavement, granules still attached to his sweaty and pale forehead, to look me in the eye. The shock of the first wound had rendered him calm and detached. As my pistol slowly came up from my hip to aim at his eye, he nodded with a newly-formed tear in his eye and said, "I just.... wanted to give a little hint of vanilla in the aftertaste. Is that so wrong? hmm? Well is ii*BANG*" The bullet entered through his right temple and exited through the top of his skull. As I walked away, pistols still in hand, tears began collecting in the bottom of my eye. I pushed people aside so they wouldn't see my weakness, but the tears began to flow down my face and turned to sobbing. I collapsed in anguish over killing one of the only decent men left in this here town.
I re-cocked one of my pistols and stared up at the crystal blue sky, dotted by puffy cumulus clouds. I nodded to God, and just then a group of pigeons flew by above. It was time. The crackling sound echoed off the surrounding buildings and did not even phase the passers-by. Even if they had noticed, they have been trained to ignore everyone but themselves in this filthy city. The once-enthusiastic gatherers were now apathetic. No longer snapping pictures, and no longer pretending nothing existed but emo music and tight pants. They dispersed and I'm sure returned to their hotels or houses to plan the next sight to see or 5-minute-chic band to see.
All in the quest of the perfect brew because some lady in Florida didn't think I was good enough.
P.S I started watching the HBO series Deadwood about halfway through writing this, YOU MAY HAVE NOTICED ITS INFLUENCE JUST A BIT. If you're dissatisfied, I'll conclude it in a manner that you like better. It will involve me spitting coffee in people's faces and telling them that I've eaten bat shit that tasted better, etc. Chairs would be thrown at cashiers, and I'm sure some women would be injured. Let a nigga know.
cranked out at 11:28 PM | |
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