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Wednesday, May 05, 2010

A Coffee Break

Here is another submission into the Coffee Shop Chronicles. The rules were to write a story that had coffee in it. So I wrote the following. Oh, and I should probably warn you that I am not quite as neurotic as the main character. I exaggerated him a good deal from my own OCD habits.

Dennis sat fidgety behind his office cubicle with the last dregs of his morning coffee about to be swirling in the maelstrom that was his uneasy stomach. His was a fidgety existence. He had forgotten to take his anti-anxiety pills that morning and he could already feel the effects. Should he go for a 2nd cup of coffee or should he wait it out. What if people thought that he was severely addicted to coffee? Or that he was merely trying to find an excuse not to work. Besides Marlo had seen him amble up to the coffee pot the first time, only a mere 10 minutes ago, what if she happened to see him this 2nd time? And Marlo, as the entire office knew liked to squawk to everyone about everyone else.

Dennis had a severe anxiety disorder, diagnosed straight from Dr. Rosenfeld, that kept him from enjoying the normal things in life, like dating, having pets (particularly rabbits), flossing, cooking bacon with short sleeves on, carrying scissors, etc. But what made Dennis particularly nervous was intense social interactions. He could have deep conversations. But small talk frightened him so much that he oftentimes hid when the loquacious currier boy made his rounds about the office. Many people thought he was afraid of elevators. This was not the case; he just dreaded the light conversation that is often to be expected inside elevators.

Occassionally, in a sublime moment, Dennis could look the fear straight in the eye and go through with the very thing that he was dreading. But not without certain rituals. It is apparent to the reader that Dennis had Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder or OCD. If he was dialing a number to talk to someone important, he would have to press an uninterrupted sequence of dial punches. If he made a mistake, he would have to hang up the phone and start over again. Or else, he feared he may actually cuss out the important person on the other end; call that person's mother all types of nasty things. This whole anxiety was as though, he wasn't really in control of himself. So, he had horrible, conscience-slicing thoughts that crept up in his mind, and he had to go through with these strange rituals in order to get rid of the thoughts. And usually these thoughts were never something that he would ever actually do. Somewhere deep down inside himself, though, he fooled himself into thinking that he was capable of such things.

Dennis decided to be bold and make that trip to the coffee pot down the hall. This was only after many clickings of his mouse. Usually an even number. He proceeded down the ominous hall, with empty coffee cup, his neck and back arched in a strange tension, that he wasn't aware of. He was lucky. He made it down without anyone really noticing, and, so chastised himself for being so paranoid about meeting people. "Why am I such a weirdo?" he asked himself, as he poured a hot, frothing cascade into his styrofoam cup. The coffee appeared to be a fresh batch. As though someone had just made it. Steam rose up cautioning Dennis to wait a few minutes before he took his first sip. But just then, he happened to turn and see the head of the company walking his way.

He flustered. What was he to do? This was not merely his boss. But his boss's boss. The guy always referred to as the lead lion, who was usually altogether hidden from peon sight, unless to make important announcements. He was regal and seemed to glitter with the golden rings on his fingers, as well as the glimmering of his tie pin. Dennis wanted to leave. But he couldn't. He could never leave without adding sugar and creamer. Not that he really cared for the difference of the taste. It was more so that something catastrophic didn't happen. "What if my boss is marching over here to tell me I'm fired? This may happen if I do not pour sugar and creamer in." Such is the mind of an severe OCD sufferer. While, Dennis cringed and frantically doctored his coffee up, he thought about his boss. He pondered his power and authority, his high achievement, but also how this boss was actually a good man and how he gave some of his wealth away to charities and how nice a guy he was. Yes, he was a man that commanded one's reverence. But then the thought resounded in Dennis' head. -A thought that his poor anxiety disorder had orchestrated in order to make Dennis sweat. "What if I poured coffee in my boss's face?"

And Dennis could not get the thought out of his head. What if he really lost control of himself and splashed this hot, simmering coffee in the face of the CEO of his company? Dennis was paralyzed. He could barely continue to stir his coffee. Not that Dennis detested this man. No, as was stated before, his mind had an acute way of tormenting him. It was the fact that such an act was to be appalled at. And he would never ever want to do this. Or did he? And then, a strength that he had never known before gripped him. He blinked and a voice not altogether himself asserted itself, from somewhere in the tense cobwebs of his heated brain.

In truth, his mind bounced back and forth. "Why is man so set on self-destruction? Give a person ample fortutious opportunities and he will dodge each one of them and learn how to destroy himself and ruin his life as a result. But where is the glory of man? Why," Dennis thought, "it's in his ability to make his thoughts a reality. -To make what is merely imagination an actual outcome. Without that, we are merely shadows of our own dreams and not real."

"What man, can actually control his own thoughts? Better yet, what brave man, a true man will surpass the fear that so surrounds him, and actually make the strangest, most absurd thought a real, life act? That act, no matter how trivial is genius. What if I said to my conscience, 'Screw you!' What if I decide not to be tormented by you? I abhor this job. These people. My self." And with that Dennis splashed his piping hot coffee straight into the CEO's face and then fell to his knees and began to sob uncontrollably.

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Blogger trapperhoney said...

i think he needs to switch to decaf.

4:57 AM  

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