I take a sip from the white mug in front of me. Damn good coffee. I smile as I set it back down, basking in the complex melody of flavors singing on my tongue.
“Bill,” I shout over my shoulder, “where the hell did we get this coffee from?”
“Someplace downtown, probably? Jeez, man, I dunno. How would I know. I dunno.” He turns back to his monitor, and begins typing.
That won’t do, though. I need answers. I need to understand why the coffee tastes so good, to find the source of the rich flavor still percolating on my tongue. I stand up, and head for the main office.
Jessie, the boss’s secretary, stops me at the door.
“Hey Phil,” she says, surprised, “what can I do for you?”
“Jess,” I say, urgently, placing both my hands on her desk, “this is very important. Where did we get the coffee in the break room?”
The mahogany desk feels cool and smooth under my palms as she sits back in her chair, thinking.
“Uh, gosh, Phil. I dunno! I think Bill might know. You ask Bill?”
“I asked Bill.”
“Did he know?”
“Nope. Is Katie in right now?” I asked, glancing at my boss’s door.
A look of worry crossed Jessie’s face.
“She is, but-”
I didn’t have time to listen to the rest of whatever unimportant thing she was saying. Coffee was at stake. I opened the door and strode into Katie’s office, the door handle hitting the wall with a loud bang.
“Katie!” I shouted, storming up to her desk, “Who bought the coffee in the break room?”
Katie looked more shocked than pensive.
“U-uhh, good morning Phil,” she said, sounding unsure of how to address me, “is there something I can-”
“Katie! I need to know who made the coffee this morning! The brand, Katie! The brand!”
I begin furiously pounding my fists on her desk. Her gold-plated company pen rattles out of its holder and rolls onto the floor. Katie pulls away from me so fast that her blonde hair falls out of its bun.
“Phil, what the hell do you think you’re doing?”
I look her in the eye, with my most serious glare.
“I am getting,” I respond, “my God. Damned. Coffee. Fix. Do you understand this?”
Katie backs her chair up a bit further, and puts her hands up.
“Phil, if you don’t calm the hell down you’re gonna be leaving this office in handcuffs. You understand?”
I scream, and slap her laptop clear off the desk. It hits the wall with a sound like a tree branch breaking. Papers flutter to the floor. I am vaguely aware that someone is still screaming, but I’m not sure if it’s me or her.
I take a second look at Katie. Her features begin to contort into a hideous mockery of a female face, lips snarling and eyes turning bright red. Her entire body turns a vivid orange, and I can feel her thought-probes entering my ears and stealing my secrets.
“No!” I scream, curling into a ball, “No! No! Stop!”
She shrieks, and large wings unfurl from under her trendy blue pantsuit. Her teeth extend beyond her lower lip, and begin to snake around her arm like malleable ribbons of ivory. She laughs, a shrill, piercing cackle that seems to echo around my brain, forcing all other thoughts out of my head.
“Coffee!” I scream, “I just want coffee!”
It was around that time that I really began to regret taking two tabs of acid that morning.