Sunday, May 20, 2012

Solo Coffee

Ron Koppelberger
Solo Coffee
Curb Idle sat at the kitchen table drinking his coffee; it was hot, bitter and satisfying. The news was blaring in the living room and Curb listened with a distracted interest. “…….at risk of contracting the anthrax virus. The affected containers are Lot# 245987 and Lot# 34891 Fire Roast blend by Solo Coffee. Curb recognized the name, he had been drinking Solo Coffee for twenty years.
Standing he went to the living room and got a pencil. “……..Lot# 254987 and Lot# 34891 Fire Roast Solo Brand.” Curb wrote the two numbers down and returned to the kitchen. Finding the jar of Solo he looked warily at the label. The lot number was missing, the label was torn near the seem where he had removed a $1.00 coupon.
He put the jar on the table and stared at it, he had just opened it and the steaming cup was nearly empty. “Anthrax!” he said aloud to himself, “laced with Anthrax.” He ran to the bathroom and looked in the mirror. Sticking his tongue out he noted the brownish hue the coffee had left on his tongue. “Great, “ he said to his reflection, “I’ll be doing the two step with death!” He turned the faucet on the cold water and began scooping handfuls of water into his mouth. When he was finished he moved over to the toilet and took a deep inhalation, he could smell the cherry air freshener he had bought for the bathroom. He took another deep breath and stuck his finger down his throat making himself vomit.
The toilet bowl swam a dark brown as the coffee came up. After he had finished he hit the plunger on the toilet three or four times and watched the tempest go down the drain. “Anthrax…..I could have Anthrax!” he said as panic welled up from within him. He wiped his mouth with a piece of tissue and went to the sink again, the water was still running and a cold steam had formed on the mirror near the bottom. He rinsed his mouth again and coughed as water went up his nose. The liquid burned as it poured back through his nostrils and he sneezed into his hand. Blood, was that blood he thought looking at the crimson smear on his palm. He ran to the tissue dispenser and grabbed a wad of the white paper. Holding it to his nose he thought about all of the news reports he had heard about Anthrax, envelopes and packages laced with the deadly toxin, never Coffee.
Curb stumbled out of the bathroom with the toilet paper to his bleeding nose, along the way he tripped over the bathroom rug and fell headfirst into the doorframe. Thump and he saw stars, he sat there for a minute waiting for his head to clear as a dull throb pounded in his bruised head. Touching the surface of his scalp carefully he noted the goose egg that had formed there. “Dammit!” he cursed aloud as blood dripped from his nose onto the tile floor.
Standing on wobbly legs he went back into the kitchen to get the jar of coffee. He grabbed it off from the counter and heaved it with all of his might. The glass jar sailed through the kitchen window with a loud crash and splintering of glass. Something popped in his arm and he screamed. He had pulled a tendon in his arm. He groaned and dropped the toilet paper wad as he rubbed his shoulder. “I’ve got to get to the hospital!” he yelled at the broken window, “A friggin hospital,…….before I DIEEEEEEEEEEE!” His voice was a cloud in dark panic as it echoed against the nothingness of enlarging vortexes. There was a hissing sound coming from the kitchen window and Curb smelled the odor of garlic. He went to the window and looked out into the shady back yard. The coffee jar had hit the small tubing that fed into the gas pig and somehow it had come loose. Curb ran into the living room and looked around furiously for the portable phone. It was nowhere to be seen.
The television set was exclaiming the wonders of Sunder Lawn and Garden as he began to moan in great heaving gasps. The doorbell rang a second later and he leaped at the door to answer it. It was his neighbor Favor Lug.
He swung the door open and collapsed into Lug. Lug said, “What Miserable scrape mess have you gotten yourself into Curb?” He had looked at curbs blood covered face and his dismayed appearance in scolding wonder. “ The AnTHRAAAAAAAAAXXXXXXXXXX!” Curb moaned.
“What the hell is……….” Favor trailed off as the house exploded with a loud booming burst of flame.
Both men flew into the air nearly to the center of the front yard and as miracles happen they were uninjured except for a few cuts and bruises.
The fire trucks were there for five hours before Curb awoke on Lugs living room sofa. The evening news was on and suddenly he remembered the coffee. “The Anthrax.” he whispered to himself. Lug was next-door at his house with the fire trucks and sweating firemen. Curb listened as the story came on again.
“The Anthrax scare that we reported on earlier has been called off. To the drinkers of Solo Coffee, The coffee was found to be untainted and the initial reports were false…….we are working in earnest to find the source of the rumor and reports that were given earlier this afternoon. Solo coffee is offering a free jar of Joe to every customer who had the Lot Numbers #254987 and #34891. In other news………”
Curb closed his eyes for a moment and sighed. He had always been one to panic, thinking of his house and the disaster that had occurred he realized that he was lucky anyway. He could have died in the explosion. Curb sighed again and prayed briefly. He could use a cup of coffee. Shaking his head he ignored that notion and decided on tea instead.

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