The Coffee

Short Story written by Jeremy C Kester
All Rights Reserved.
Please do not replicate or use without written permission from author (seriously, just ask). Linking to this page is permitted.

The coffee stung as it flowed down his throat.  He wasn’t concerned.  He continued to drive undeterred from the task at hand.  He needed the caffeine; he needed it quickly.  He made himself look past the pain and continue driving.

He thought to himself that he should wait until the coffee had cooled, but there was not time for that.  He wanted to make it there on time.  He wanted to be alert.  He couldn’t have both and have the coffee at a tolerable temperature.

So he increased his tolerance for pain to compensate.

But it made him angry to do so, although he made little association, little connection to his ever-increasing negativity.

The tires to his car hugged the blacktop of the highway.  A low hum emanated from the connection as the car rode down the highway.  It would have been relaxing, though he had forgotten how to listen to such trivial appreciations.  Inside only the sounds of the local news station could be heard, volume nearing intolerable levels. Each hiss of the “s” made a matching pop of in his ears as it did the speakers of the car. An involuntary wince occurred each time. He said that he wanted to stay informed, but it truly was only noise.

Outside, it was a beautiful example of how morning should appear.  A few speckled clouds were littered against a brilliant sharp, blue sky.  The Sun was bright, still somewhat close to the horizon, but still high enough to allow its light to engulf the world.

Such niceties were trivial at moments like this for him.  He remained diligent to his task at hand.  And quickly he gulped another steaming bit of coffee.

Out of frustration born of the pain, he swung past a driver that was not going fast enough according to his standards.  He didn’t realize the negligible difference in speeds.  He didn’t notice that he had slowed back down allowing his previous obstacle to keep up.

He didn’t care.

Another gulp of coffee flowed down his throat.

“Fucking retard,” he breathed aloud in reference to the other driver he just noticed was still in his rearview.

Traffic was good according to the radio. He had a differing opinion.

According to him and the coffee, it was a horrid morning of congested roadways.  There were too many goddamn cars on the road.  The coffee seconded that motion.  Everyone was an ass according to the burning coffee.  He agreed.

Further down the highway, he finally got around a few tractor-trailers he was stuck behind for some time.  Time told it as 17 seconds; 5 minutes sounded as though it were a more accurate measurement of what he had to endure.

The coffee was only slightly more generous and gave it 3 minutes and 58 seconds that those trailers delayed them.

Gulping down more persuaded both to increase it to 6 minutes.  Whatever the actual time, it was an eternity of driver waiting.

A quiet ringing suddenly came over the radio, interrupting the report on a kidnapped child a few days before.  They still hadn’t found the child.  He would have been interested to know whether or not they had any leads, but now he may never figure that out.

“Hello?” He said aloud after pushing the accept button on his steering wheel.

The hand now free again, he grabbed the coffee for another burning affair.

The voice of his secretary pierced through the speakers.  “I was calling to see if you were on your way.  A few of the board members are already waiting in the conference room.”

“Tell them to fucking wait,” he hissed impatiently.  Fire could have been shooting from his lips if only a few more degrees were there.

“I don’t think that they’d appreciate the tone,” she replied blandly, having been used to this typical rhetoric from her boss.

“I don’t particularly care,” he remarked.  “I’ll get there when I damn-well get there, Gerry.  They’ll just have to wait.”  To the point, he was never on time.  On average he was merely only ever 5 minutes late.  Conversely, he wouldn’t leave work until he had completed between 10 to 12 hours of presence there.  He felt that his staying late fully justified his being late every morning.

Others saw it different.

At least 3 days each week, there was a meeting scheduled for the time that he was due in.  One of each of those meetings, he would schedule himself.  None of those meetings was he ever on time for.

The coffee instructed his finger to depress the end button. Were he able to, his pressing of the button would have been meant to push his thumb straight through the controls. The news gleefully resumed.

The radio was reporting on a fire the night before that claimed three lives, two of them children.  Yet another car was blocking his progress.

He was positioned directly behind an elderly driver afraid to pass another large truck.  More coffee.  Only now was the temperature becoming more tolerable.  Still, the damage had already been done, and his esophagus continued to burn with the coffee’s conjoined disdainful view of traffic.

They should let these fucking old bastards drive, he thought to himself.  Pressing down on the center of his steering wheel, the car let out its piercing horn.  Nervously, the elderly driver slowed.  It was the opposite reaction that the coffee had assured would happen.  In retaliation, he continued to press on the horn, and he grabbed another drink. The coffee gleefully poured in angry unison.

The mug was getting noticeably lighter.  He was going to need more as soon as he arrived. If he would ever get there.  The old man in front of him was trying to prevent progress.

In a field on the side of the highway, there were deer grazing.  He paid little attention to their existence, still focused on trying to get around the elderly man who now finally was moving just beyond the semi.

No sooner was there enough space then he had pulled his car in front of the truck.  A loud horn blared from the discontent of the truck’s driver.  He reached out his hand and gave the driver the finger as he pressed the gas down.  He was surely late now as the time changed to 9:00am.

Traffic was again being reported on the radio.  All of it was noise to him.

Again, the phone rang.  “Fuck,” he said aloud.  He pushed the reject button on the call.  Immediately the radio was again reporting on some trivial matters of no interest to himself or the coffee.

There was no point to answering it.  He was almost there.

Another attempt at gulping down the remainder of the coffee revealed the empty container. Coffee protested the absence of it in the cup. The man slammed the cup back down at the console. Coffee demanded that the gas pedal be depressed further. More than getting to the meeting, there was more of the liquid to be had.

A jerk of the car was made to avoid another set of cars that weren’t abiding by the coffee’s standards of driving. Their exit was at that point on the highway anyway. A chorus of horns sounded the disapproval of the other drivers. Again, the man threw his hand up with his middle finger prominently displayed. The coffee joined him.

The car squealed as the tires tried to remain connected to the asphalt. Green turned to yellow. The phone again rang over the speakers of the car. There would be no stopping him at this point.

“What?!” he yelled after depressing the accept button on his steering wheel.

“They are giving you 5 minutes or they are going to pull the funding.” His secretary had no concern in her voice. She knew that he wouldn’t make it in time. This had happened too many times before.

“Tell them to fucking wait!”

“They already said that they are done waiting,” her voice cracked through the radio sounding as unconcerned with the reaction as she always was.

Several horns blared. The car’s tires squealed again. He could swear that the light would have lasted yellow longer. Eight minutes away if people would drive. The coffee knew he could make it in less than 5. He obliged as he pressed the pedal in further.

“I will see you when you get here,” the secretary said.

“You tell those fuckers that they better-“ the car notified him that the call ended. He pounded his fist against the dash.

Another light was fast approaching. It was already yellow. The coffee urged him forward. As he did so, he grabbed the cup. There had to be enough in it. The coffee smiled as the last few drops, now cold, hit the man’s throat. His head was tilted back as far as it could go.

The coffee saw what was coming. The man ignored it as the two young women stepped out, the light giving the pedestrians the OK to walk.

 

Short Story written by Jeremy C Kester
All Rights Reserved.
Please do not replicate or use without written permission from author (seriously, just ask). Linking to this page is permitted.

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