Coffee - the Original

by voh on October 21st, 2017

Author's note: Coffee is an old story, probably about 10 years old now. I rewrote it a little, taking out some bits that I now feel were insensitive and taking out a lot of adjectives. This is the one that started the Jerry arc, continued in Something About Coffee and then in There he goes Again. And I'm not done with Jerry just yet.

"Oh my..." Jerry said softly, with a cooing quality in his voice he reserved for moments where he really approved of something. He held the cup with both hands and with single-minded attention sniffed the fumes coming from it. "Oh... my..." he repeated after a meaningful pause.

You see, Jerry loves coffee. And not in the general sense. One could quite factually state that Jerry's interest in coffee borders on an obsession. A very persistent one at that, as he's been a coffee 'aficionado' for as long as he himself cares to remember. He has a specific flavor for every day of the week, one specifically for every holiday and a very special blend only to be used on his birthday. Jerry's walk-in closet isn't filled with clothes, but is filled with an almost limitless variety of coffee.

Some of the coffee in there is pretty standard, though exquisite for its price point. Some of it is mildly exotic and then there's the wildly exotic and rare. One of his favorites, his birthday coffee to be precise, is Kopi Luwak, which is coffee ground from berries that have been eaten and subsequently passed through the digestive tract of Civet cats, weird little mammals who look like what would result from a cat making love to a very ugly raccoon. Bloody expensive stuff, and the process by which it is produced by itself limits its consumption to a handful who are willing to drink what effectively boils down to shit java.

Jerry is among that handful, and he's okay with that.

It's his love, after all.

Today was a special day for Jerry, though. Instead of going to one of the many places he frequented for a good cup of coffee, he had recently found out that a new coffee house had opened near his house. Intrigued by the possibility of perhaps finding a new blend, a new and undiscovered flavor, or simply a better version of what he's had elsewhere, he couldn't resist popping in as soon as he found himself able to.

Leisurely perusing the menu, he had noticed a blend he didn't recognize. Seemingly it was coffee from the Himalaya region, grown at high altitude, in tiny batches due to the harsh and unwelcome climate. Upon reading this, his mouth started watering, and he signaled one of the waitresses. When she came closer, he realized she was rather pretty.

"I'd like the Tibetan Highland blend, please. Make it large." he said sweetly to the black-haired girl.
"One Himalayan coffee coming right up," she said with a smile and a nod.

Watching her as she walked towards the counter, he wordlessly voiced a blessing for this day. A new flavor, a new coffee house, and on top of that, an attractive girl who he was bent on flirting with until she'd go out with him.

When the black-haired girl returned with a cup of coffee, he waited until she had put it down and asked him whether there was anything else he wanted before asking her whether he could interest her in a break, to be spent with him. You can say a lot about Jerry, though mostly about his obsession, but if there's one thing everyone who knows him will tell you, it's that Jerry goes for what he wants. And in cases where there's other people involved, he doesn't care all that much if they're into it.

In fact, most people who know him don't actually like him very much.

"Uhm..." she started, thinking it over for a bit, "I'll have to ask my supervisor if it's okay, but if it is, sure. I'll be right back." And she turned around to ask her supervisor.

Jerry chuckled and took a careful sip of his fresh coffee.

"Oh my..." Jerry said softly, with a cooing quality in his voice he reserved for moments where he really approved of something. He held the cup with both hands and with single-minded attention sniffed the fumes coming from it. "Oh... my..." he repeated after a meaningful pause.

After a few minutes the girl returned without her Java House apron, of which Jerry had decided before entering that it had the worst logo he'd ever seen for a coffee house, and sat down across from him. After some pleasantries, their conversation turned somewhat more informal and personal, and both Jerry and the coffee girl seemed to be enjoying where the conversation had taken them.

As they continued their talk, Jerry learned that the girl's name was Rebecca, that she was a philosophy major at the local state university, that she was only two years younger than he was and that she enjoyed long walks on the beach and hot baths. He also learned that black wasn't her natural hair color but she refused to tell him what color it actually was. This annoyed Jerry slightly, but he then decided that he liked black hair and stopped thinking about it.

Rebecca, in turn, learned that he went by the name of Jerry, was currently enrolled at a nearby college where he studied psychology, that he had an intense but entirely wholesome and far from obsessive interest in coffee, was therefore not only a connoisseur but also a purist when it comes to coffee, and that he also enjoyed long walks on the beach (but preferably not too long). She didn't learn much about his hair color as there wasn't much to comment on. It was of no importance and had always been of no importance. Jerry was fairly sure it would remain of no importance in the near future and had therefore chosen to not comment on it. Rebecca, on the other hand, simply hadn't asked.

"Excuse me," Rebecca said, "I'm going to get a cup of coffee as well. I'll be right back." She stood up and walked towards the counter once more. Jerry allowed his eyes to wander and they were quite thankful that he did. While she walked towards the counter, her thoughts went something like the following: "He seems like a sweet guy, not bad looking at all, socially comfortable and honest."

Jerry, in the meantime, sat with his eyes closed, enjoying as honestly as he possibly could the smell and flavor of this Himalayan heavenly delight. He decided that he would come here more often. Not just because of this amazing cup of coffee, nor solely due to the atmosphere of the place, but specifically because of Rebecca. He wasn't sure, though, whether to include the horrible company logo in his reasoning.

Today was a good day, he decided, before taking another careful, savoring sip.

Rebecca returned with a cup of coffee she could call her own and sat down again. "I got the same as you have, I got curious after seeing you drink it with such enthusiasm." she said. She put her cup down.

"So, tell me about that trip to Norway you were talking about before I got my drink."

She smiled at him, showing that she was going to listen intently to his every word. This pleased Jerry, and he took a sip of his coffee before speaking.

"Well, a friend of mine..." he started, but then fell silent. His jaw dropped, his eyes opened wide and a vein started to pulsate dangerously on his forehead.

Rebecca didn't notice, as she wasn't currently looking at him. She was too busy putting milk in her coffee, some sugar and a spoon. She swirled it all around and when she was pleased with the result, she looked up where she found Jerry's eyes staring at her with anger and confusion, and time suddenly ground to a standstill. Well, maybe not a standstill, but it wasn't going very fast either.

"Is he having a stroke?" she thought to herself. "Maybe he's not really studying psychology but actually insane?" She decided that was probably not the case, and was maybe even a little too judgmental. But it was weird how he just kept looking her straight in the eyes without even blinking. His eyes twitched from time to time but that was it.

The reason Rebecca had time to think about all this is simple - Jerry's brain was trying to comprehend what had just happened. It had trouble doing so, since it was rigid in its thinking and not very complex. Or trained. Or, for that matter, very well-developed. Think of a train with only one cart, but the cart is really big. Suddenly there's a tunnel, and the cart just won't fit through. Instead of backtracking and figuring out a different route to its goal, like any other mind would do, Jerry's mind was already halfway through forcing its way through the tunnel violently, ripping the cart apart and damaging the tunnel's interior in a terrible way.

And suddenly the little train with the now immensely damaged cart darted back to speed, the tunnel left ravaged in the distance and Jerry's jaw closed with a snapping sound.

"What is wrong with you, woman?!" he screamed at the top of his lungs as he darted to his feet, bumping into the table and causing his own coffee to spill. Jerry looked at his coffee all over the table and his pants, his mouth open in shock again. This time, however, the cart was smaller due to the damage to its structural integrity, and it flew right through the new tunnel this situation had thrown at his mind.

"Look what you made me do!" he screamed even louder and tried to catch the coffee dripping down the side of the table with his hands.

Rebecca simply sat there, as it was her turn to look in amazement as this funny, entertaining and not bad looking at all fellow was flipping his wig completely.

"First you put MILK in your COFFEE, and now you make me spill MINE?" he yelled louder than Rebecca thought a human vocal chord could go without bursting. She saw that there was spittle dripping from the sides of his mouth. She also noticed that her purse was not within reach, which was a shame since she kept her pepper spray in there, which might come in handy quite soon.

"AARGH!" Jerry shouted as he angrily grabbed his coat and stomped outside. He started to cross the road but hadn't looked around very carefully, and a car screeched to a halt inches from his kneecaps. Jerry screamed at the driver to he was walking here and smashed his fist into the hood of the car. When the driver got out and was obviously larger than him, Jerry yelped and ran away.

Rebecca's supervisor came up to her to ask what had just happened, but Rebecca was at a loss for words.

"Drink something, you look really pale..." Rebecca's supervisor said to her.
Rebecca, shaking, looked at her coffee, picked it up, took a sip and noticed something on the floor. It seemed that in Jerry's frantic departure, his wallet had fallen out of his coat. She picked it up and opened it. There were credit cards, a driver's license and some cash in there.

She grabbed a 20, walked over to the counter and stuffed it in the tip jar. Then she dropped the wallet in the lost and found bin.

"What an asshole," she said to her supervisor, who nodded.
"I'll clean up this mess, Rebecca. You can go home early if you want."
"Nah, I'll be fine. But what an asshole."



Author's note: This is part 1 of the Jerry Saga.

Part 1: Coffee
Part 2: Something about Coffee
Part 3: There he goes again
Part 4: Coffee Snobs Unanimous