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morning coffee

I’m usually the first person to wake up in the morning, a result of spending the last ten months stumbling downstairs to stab the cat.

Being the earliest riser, I’m usually in charge of making the coffee in the morning. Andrew doesn’t like coffee, but Alli and I are addicted to the stuff and Boychild will often enjoy a cup as well. After a brief flirtation with a French press, we now use a lovely copper percolator which Alli found on Amazon.

Great coffee. If only I could drink it every day without getting stomach aches and jitters.

This morning was a little different. I woke up to repeated pokes in the shoulder. Prying my eyes open, I found Alli already awake, dressed, and ready to talk over a cup of coffee.

“I’ve been up since five!” she chirped, already sounding like she had downed at least two cups of strong brew. “When are you getting up?”

A bleary-eyed fumble at my phone told me that it was just past six in the morning. “I dunno. Maybe….”

Any statement of delay was interrupted by Bandit landing on my chest, giving me an extremely concerned look, and beginning to lick my chin.

Minutes later, I was dressed and semi-functional, curled up at the dinette booth with a cup of strong coffee from Zeke’s roaster in Baltimore. It was over that cup of coffee that this project finally came together in my head. I’ve been flailing around for a few years, trying to organize my thoughts on how to present my writing online and, thanks to my editor, friend, and tiny-house-mate asking all the right questions, I think I finally have the answers.

Or at least most of them. I’m still trying to figure out the best procedure for making both regular and decaf coffee, since caffeine gives me heartburn. The alternative is to drink chicory coffee which, while delicious in it own right, isn’t quite the same as the traditional beans. I’ve had some success with Pero, which is a blend of chicory and malted grains, but it is a little too reminiscent of hot chocolate for drinking every morning. I need to find something though, because even one cup of coffee is enough to make me jittery now that I don’t drink caffeinated soda.

It was in the midst of our planning for world domination that I noticed movement out of the corner of my eye.

Most mornings since we semi-moved up here, I’ve been in charge of making coffee for Alli’s mother, as well as the two (sometimes three) of us. Today her mom had slept late but now… now it was time for coffee.

The gate clattered and down the driveway strode Barb, imperious in a purple house robe and goldenrod head wrap. In her left hand she clutched with purpose a heavy stoneware coffee cup. She sniffed the air as she approached and, without so much as a rattle or knock, pulled open the door and climbed the steps into the Mothership.

“I smelled coffee,” she said.

“Come on in,” I replied. Waving towards the coffee pot I said, “Creamer’s in the fridge and coffee’s in the pot. You want to sit down and I’ll-“

“Oh, no, hun. I just need my morning cuppa and then I’ll back and work on my list for the day.”

“You sure mom?” Alli asked. “We got plenty left.”

Barb shook her head and began to fill her mug from the steaming brass pot. “No, no. I just came downstairs and said to myself, what’s the point of fighting with the Keurig? They’ll have a pot out in the camper.”

“Can you pour me some?” Boychild asked.

“Have you finished your math?” I replied, talking hurriedly before his grandmother could respond.

He looked back at me over the laptop lid and ever so slowly began to sink lower into the bench seat until only a tuft of blond hair was visible over the keyboard.

“You finish your work and then come inside,” Barb said, mixing creamer into her coffee. She dropped the chromed plastic spoon into the sink and headed towards the door.

“Don’t you wanna stay out here?” Alli asked. “At least until daddy is awake?”

Barb shook her betoweled head and stepped down out of the camper. “I’ll see you inside. I just wanted to get some coffee and say good morning.”

Even as I write this, my eyes heavy from a long day of videoconferences and my stomach discontent at being subjected to a cup of coffee this morning, I’m looking forward to my next cup… and wishing that I could drink it without consequence.

By Andrew

Author of nine novels and a bunch of short stories. Teacher. Semi-professional game master.

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