Short Story | ‘Coffee Apocalypse’ by Rebecca Clarke, Illustration by Sayantan Halder
It’s been 33 minutes since the coffee machine blew up at work. My colleagues have begun to partake in the first signs of caffeine withdrawal. I can hear Patricia’s pen tapping erratically on her desk, Nigel is pacing the corridor, and Susan is rocking back and forth. I myself can’t stand the taste of coffee; I actually dislike hot drinks all together, ‘once scalded, twice shy’ I like to say. This whole caffeine craze has escaped me.
It’s been 46 minutes since the coffee machine’s demise. Susan’s shaking leg is making her desk rattle against mine, it’s very annoying. When I asked her if she was alright, she just stared at me with her bloodshot eyes, it made me very uncomfortable, especially when she started to lick her lips as froth accumulated at the corners of her mouth. Nigel’s pacing has become noticeably slower and it looks like he’s developed a pronounced drag on his left side; he’s muttering something about brains as well, but I’m clueless as to why, he’s from finance not human resources. A strong stench has started to fill the office from Patricia’s body odour; she really needs to overdose herself in deodorant.
It’s been 57 minutes since our office has plunged into coffee poverty. I’ve just been stalked to the bathroom by Susan and, for some reason unbeknownst to me, the rest of the office has decided to gather around my desk. The topic of conversation appears to have caught up with Nigel’s mutterings. Patricia’s B.O. is out of control and I’m having to breathe through my mouth. It’s become pretty ridiculous; workplace productivity is at its lowest.
It’s been 5 minutes since I decided to make a run to Starbucks.
Illustration by: Sayantan Halder