L ast night was another late, lonely night. Work starts way too early. Coffee! Need coffee! And a girlfriend. Break room’s empty. “Let’s see. Coffee. Ummm, specialty.” Beep. “Let’s try mocha.” Beep. “Hmmm. Large cup.” Beep. “Definitely strong.” Beep, beep. “OK. Coffee!” “Good morning.” It was the pretty, brown-haired woman with the dark-rimmed glasses. She’s new too, right?“Um, hello. I’m fine, thank you.” Did she ask how I was? Recover.“Um, so how’re you this rainy morning?” Beep, beep, blares the microwave as she pushes buttons. Radiant smile. “I’m fine. Love the rain, don’t you?” She’s looking at me. I hate rainy days, but she’s very cute. Wrinkly cotton tank top, short cut-off jeans and messy hair.So, today, “Love rain. Great for the plants.” Gurgle, gurgle. I turn. Coffee’s running out of my cup, pouring onto the floor. “Oh f—, I mean, rats.” She giggles. “I’ll get towels.” As she turns toward the sink, I can’t
help but admire her nice tush. The microwave smokes. “Your breakfast.” I don’t know her name!“It’s burning.” I pull open the door, billows of smoke pour into my face. The coffee keeps coming. She turns, eyes wide, and presses buttons. “The microwave’s still cooking.” I slam the door. More smoke. The coffee maker beeps. The microwave beeps twice. Ice and chilled water stream out of the refrigerator. The tile floor’s a mocha mess. The toaster pops up and down, hopping across the counter, glowing red inside. “Oh fuck.” No time for niceties. “That’s going to electrocute us.” I guide her out of my way as she tries in vain to stem the tide at the coffee machine. As the toaster hops at the counter’s edge, I grab it. “Ouch!” I burn my hand tossing it into the sink. Beep, beep, says the coffee maker. Beep, beep, beep, replies the microwave, then the fridge. Beep, answers the blender, which spins its blade, vibrating on the counter. Beep, says the refrigerator, more ice and water. She’s in a panic. “Where are they plugged in?” “Damn,” I realize. “They’re hardwired into a central system so you can order your coffee from anywhere and it’ll be ready when you get here.” I grab the blender, but the glass pitcher breaks in my hands, shards cut me, the blades turn on me. “I can’t get it.” The machines are all beeping, in different tones and unique patterns. The dishwasher turns on. The door falls open. Hot mist fills the room. The tea maker spews hot water, the cappuccino machine grinds beans from the nearly endless supply in the bin behind the wall, spitting the powder into the air. Black smoke,
coffee dust, hot mist, clinging to our skin, invading our noses, eyes and ears. It’s difficult to breathe. “We’ve got to get out of here,” the woman screams, but as she turns toward the closed door, the refrigerator and freezer doors fly open. Frigid air races across the floor.