Still working on the first draft of Brewed Awakenings. I will return to posting short stories January 15th. Until then, please enjoy these humorous excerpts from my novel about coffee that makes people disappear.
Eyes are the windows to the soul. This phrase is what we call a metaphor. Eyes are not literally the windows to the soul, as they don’t actually show you the inside of a soul, or allow a soul to see outside the body. However, metaphorically, they do allow others to see what you are thinking and feeling, and therefore get a brief glimpse into the inner workings of your mind.
Buildings actually have windows, and in a way, they function as the eyes of the structure. This is also a metaphor. If you look to the windows you can see what is going on inside, just like you can get a glimpse of what is going on inside someone’s soul through peering into their eyes.
Buildings actually function a lot like people, beyond just the unsettling similarities between eyes and windows, peering and watching.
Buildings also have bones, in the form of supporting walls that keep the structure standing. The outer walls could be considered a sort of skin for the buildings as well. Beneath that warm spongy flesh lies the organs of the body, just like the rooms lie just past the warm spongy walls of buildings.
If you listen to a building closely you can hear it creak and settle, just like a body will gurgle and murmur. And if you listen even closer, you can hear the buildings whisper secrets that they should never tell, just like people do.
And just like bodies, buildings have, slightly left of the center, a pulsating and writhing mass of muscle that fills the entire body with blood, metaphorically speaking.
Not metaphorically speaking, however, is the fact that buildings need to consume. If a building does not consume, then it is simply a husk, a thing left to time, but when it feeds, it can be a healthy functioning part of society. Just like people. Some buildings provide shelter. We call them homes. They feed from our fear, slowly eating it away. The lap it up and make sure we have none left for ourselves. And in the end we feel safer.
Other buildings, like schools, libraries, gyms, the “technically” abandoned church on Jefferson, they all feed from our loneliness. They nibble away at it until we can never remember why we ever felt lonely in the first place. These buildings are considered community centers of sorts and bring everyone closer.
In Louisiana, there is the Dupuis house. It began to feed on forgotten memories that were left beneath its floorboards like lost change in the couch cushions. It consumed all of the passions and tears and smiles and rages that every Dupuis could not be bothered to keep anymore. As a result, the house itself has become sentient, aware of its nature. It is a delightful host, or so I’ve heard.
Eric’s coffee shop, the Deja Brew, consumed despair and provided hope, although that was never the explicit goal of Eric. He did want it to be a place that felt like a second home, a place to relax, somewhere safe. That was why he took safe zone training and hung up the sticker in the front window. But he never thought of the building as literally, or even metaphorically, feeding off of that despair in the neighborhood. Neither did his customers.
But on that Monday morning, that was precisely why everyone was there, including Eric.
“So the first thing that I need to teach you is how to make an espresso. This is really important because so many drinks start with a shot of espresso mixed with some other fun bits.” Eric was standing at the entrance to the back office as Beth was diligently taking notes. He was feeling hopeful that having an employee would help him calm down a bit. While he did love working at the coffee shop and running it by himself, it did feel like three different full time jobs stacked on top of eachother. He felt like his cup was running empty, and hopefully Beth would be able to take some of that pressure away. “Let’s move to the kitchen, if that’s good with you.”
Beth nodded. She stood up and then followed Eric behind the counter of the main room. She was paying close attention to everything he said and did, but couldn’t help but be distracted by her excitement at her new job. She was hopeful that if she got to work here long enough she would be able to find the perfect cup for herself. She could tell the first time she heard Eric’s story that it was true, and it was rapturous. She wanted to move on to the other side of that perfect cup.
She just had to learn how to make the perfect cup. It shouldn’t be that difficult. There must be a set of circumstances and details that create this cup and let you pass through that creamy hot goodness.
She had ideas about what could cause the transfer, the trick of space that whisked away the lucky, but the only stories she had didn’t feel like enough information.
“And that’s how you make an espresso. Does that make sense?” Eric handed her a shot of espresso.
Beth downed the shot and looked him square in the eyes. “I blanked there for a second.”
Eric laughed, which made Beth smile. “Let’s go over it one more time then. First we select the roast. Let’s go with these,” Eric pulled out a bag of coffee beans and set them on the table. “Now we are going to grind the beans on the finest setting we have. We do this because espresso requires very fine grounds.”
Eric handed Beth the bag of beans and she fished out some beans to put in the grinder. Even though she was the one pushing the button to grind the beans, she was still startled by the loud noise coming from the machine.
Eric detached the filter from the espresso machine. “Our machine is directly attached to the water, so we don’t need to fill the tank, and it’s already hot, so we don’t need to heat it up, but if you are making the first espresso for the day, make sure to turn on the heat.”
Beth nodded. “Gotcha, get things hot for the first cup.”
Eric handed her the portafilter. “Alright, set it on the scale, tare it so it says 0. And then we are going to add 7 grams of grounds. Once the weight is right, you take this,” Eric handed her a plastic tamp from next to the espresso machine, “And pack it into the filter real tight.”
Beth put her weight into tamping the grounds as tightly as possible, much more than she needed to, but she got the job done. “Alright, what do we do now?” She said with a smile. In the back of her mind she was still picturing what it would be like to move on. She had to keep it in the back of her mind, because if it entered the forefront again she would be lost among her day dreams.
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