I sat on the greenish, plastic feeling, fake leather seats of the diner booth and leaned heavily on the table. I hunched forward and tried to blink moisture into my dry, unrested eyes. It took all of the energy I could muster to hold my body up with my elbows. I breathed heavily, trying to stifle a yawn with every breath. It truly was arse o’clock in the morning and apparently the only time this meeting could possibly be held. I stared off into the distance and my jaw hung slackly as I tuned out the world around me. Every time I blinked I felt a glimpse of paradise as I wished I could fall into a deep sleep.
“Excuse me?” A voice croaked from beside me.
“Hmm?’ I mumbled as I inhaled suddenly through my nose, straightened up, and looked toward the waitress who had suddenly appeared before me. She was a portly woman with short grey hair and rough, gravelly voice. She sounded like she had been chain smoking for the better part of her life. She had a pad and pencil in her hand and would have had a cigarette permanently drooping from her lips if it were still legal in public places. She looked like a stereotype that existed only in classic cinema diners and she was the only person who wanted to be there less than I did.
“What can I get ya’ sweetie?” she asked.
I thought for a moment. It was too early for me to have an appetite. I needed something to wake me up. Maybe if I was conscious the meeting would go well.
“Coffee, please,” I muttered.
“Anything else?” She croaked.
“Nah,” I sighed and went back to staring forward into nothingness. She grunted as she left to fetch the coffee. She returned mere moments later with a fresh, steaming pot. I almost smiled as she set the cup down with a clunk and began to pour that delicious, dark liquid into it. Oh what a fool I was.
She left the table and I began one of the most harrowing journeys of my life. I picked up the cup of coffee expecting to smell that delicious aroma I am so familiar with. Instead I inhaled and my nose was assaulted with an atrocious, acidic scent. I gagged slightly and looked down at the drink. What had I gotten myself in to? I braced myself and tried to take a sip. Normally I can handle black coffee. I almost spat this slop all over the table. It was the worst thing I my tongue had ever been abused by. It tasted burnt. It tasted stale. It tasted like the hot, wet, anus of Satan himself. I set the drink down and stared at it for a moment. Normally I would enjoy a black cup of coffee as I treated myself to it’s sweet bouquet and delectable flavours. I would never sully such a beautiful drink with anything as crass as cream and sugar. This time I had no choice though. I needed this coffee. I needed to wake myself. I had to do it. I took a creamer and two packets of sugar and poured them into the coffee. I took a spoon from the table and stirred it up. I tried it again. It was still awful. It was the same burnt flavour with a bit of dulcitude on the back end. I sighed and poured in four more packets of sugar. I dumped another creamer in. I took a deep breath and tried again. I don’t know if I could refer to it as palatable, but it was better. No. Not better. It was less revolting. It was still quite revolting though. I decided the only way to get this caffeine into my system was to guzzle the atrocious liquid and just get the whole mess over with. So I did just that. I put the cup up to my lips, took a deep breath, and chugged the hot, offensive mess as fast as I could. It dripped down my chin as I finished it as fast as I possibly could. I wiped the mess off of my face with my sleeve and sighed. It was awful, but at least it was over. The waitress approached with the pot of coffee once again.
“How was the coffee?” She asked.
“It was fine, thank you,” I answered.
“Want another cup, sweetheart?” She croaked.
“Sure,” I said, “Thank you.” She poured another cup of coffee and walked away. I stared into it and and sighed.