Mr. Coffee

Mr. Coffee sat pushed off to the far counter in the office kitchen. On the front table sat a brand new, black and slick Keurig.

“What are you doing here?” The Keurig asked.

“I think the question is what are YOU doing here?”

“They just bought me yesterday. I assumed I would be the new coffee machine for the office.”

“I’ve been here for eight years. I will be here for another eight years.”

The Keurig stared at Mr. Coffee critically. His bulky white frame was splotched with brown fluid that had stained the center of his small pot belly. There were cracks along the side of him that stuck out like an un-made up old woman. “You couldn’t possibly still work here.”

“I’ve worked here and many other places,” Mr. Coffee laughed. “You’re still young, you haven’t seen the world like I have. Before this office, I had a life far from here, working in the best of places.”

“And where would that be?” The Keurig scoffed.

“I was first taken out of the box in Brazil. A beautiful rich woman had to have me. She was covered in jewels and had the best servants around the country. They were so good, that they brought her finely brewed coffee every morning straight to her bed.”

“Then why did she need you?”

“One day she met a man. A tall, dark, ruddy man. He had pieces of dirt from working outside in the garden stuck to his tee shirt. He had strong hands and strong cheekbones. The woman said to her mother, a man with strong cheekbones is a man with strong character. And although her mother disapproved, the rich woman saw no other man that could compare.

‘So every day she would sit in the garden and talk to this man. She would ask him how his day was going to which he would reply, ‘how do you know what work is? You have servants to do everything for you.’ After about a month of this, the woman thought to herself ‘how hard could gardening be?’ She picked up a shovel and started digging along side the young man. But alas, she wasn’t strong enough. The dirt was hard and clammed up every time she struck the shovel into the ground. The young man laughed and said again ‘how do you know what work is?’

‘Instead of gardening, she decided she would try her hand at cooking. How hard could it be? She had seen her cook make lavish meals with an ease that pleased her as much as the meal. Surely she could cook something nice and feed the young man, she thought. When she saw the giant kitchen with cabinets filled with all sorts of different products and recipes she didn’t know where to start. Choosing a delicate but complicated cake recipe, she added an ingredient she thought was just as good as the other and substituted baking powder for baking soda.  The cake was a disgrace. “How do you know what work is?” Rang in her ears.

‘Finally one day she decided that if she could not work the way that most people could work, then she would start small until she could. She got rid of all of her morning servants and instead bought me. From that day forth she made her own coffee and with each brew she grew increasingly confident of her abilities. By the end of the year she had won The Most Beautiful Cake competition. Together the young man and the rich woman sat outside in the garden eating the whole thing, piece by piece.”

The Keurig thought about this for a moment before responding. “But why would anyone want to make their own coffee anymore? These people at the office aren’t rich. They don’t have servants to find them fresh brew.”

“No,” Mr. Coffee said, “I suppose that’s a lost art to some. But when you break down, and all fancy things must break, they will remember the sturdiness of their hands and then they will know that that I am only a counter away.”


The Green Pen

The green pen stands in the middle of the jar with all the other pens, painfully aware that he is different.

The black pens stare seriously at the wall. They wait for their elegant ink to be used for the most important papers.  Health documents. Wills. Professional disclosures. They stand regal and dressed in gold. They don’t need to be used much because they are in essence, to the point. They are by far the very best.

The blue pens are slightly more dull and wear loose white collars with blue lines around the front. These are the efficient pens. They are never temperamental with crying ink stains, nor do they refuse to work on principle.  Just the other day one said to the other, “Old Black Pen is bleeding again.” The other pen nodded before shaking his head; this was to be expected. Often the blue pens are found shoved in purses, clipped to restaurant bills, or passed from business to customer without a second thought. They remain the cheapest most hard working pens around.

The green pen however, is different. What does one do with green ink? Certainly it’s not professional enough to be used by anybody with important documents. Clearly it’s not bold enough to be seen by people without glasses. Obviously it’s not dark enough to evoke poetic words of wisdom. The green pen stands alone.  For although he is what his mother, the ink pad (now horribly out of date) once called “special”, he is also a prized possession.

With his startling glare to paper, he is not easily chosen by those that use the pen jar. Instead, he is treasured because he is indeed the only pen that one can be certain is still there. In a pinch, he is reliable and because of this there is no doubt in his security. One can’t always write with the best of ink, but as long as it’s available, there is a steady line of hope.


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