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Stories from the Verse
Re Verse All
Chapter 108: Beam 96
Table of Contents
Previous chapter: Hastings 219
It did not take as long as he had feared to find something acceptable to feed the masses. He found he could order individually-packed hot and ready-to-eat complete breakfasts of pancakes, scrambled eggs, sausage, and bacon, with syrup, catsup, salt and pepper, and the necessary utensils. Acquiring a hundred twenty of these, he ordered eighty each of coffee, orange juice, and milk. The coffee automatically came with two creams and two sugars per cup, which he didn’t really care about since he drank his black. He couldn’t remember the last time he’d had a good cup of coffee, but this wasn’t it.
Perhaps because they were following him when they grabbed their food, Sophia and Bron wound up with coffee, too. Popping off the lid and tasting it, Sophia said, “What is this swill?”
“It’s coffee. It has a unique somewhat bitter taste, and contains a weak drug called caffeine that’s good at stimulating energy and keeping you awake. I drink mine black, but other people put sugar in theirs, or cream, or both. There was cream and sugar next to the coffee; I suspect nobody here has a clue what to do with it, so it’s probably still there.”
His two companions stared at each other a moment, then Bron said, “I’ll get it,” and rose from his seat.
“Get two of each for each cup,” Beam said. “There are people who take more, but you might need less.”
While Beam ate his eggs, Bron and Sophia played with the cream and sugar trying to figure out what each did to the flavor of the coffee. They put one cream in one and one sugar in the other, but wound up putting both creams and both sugars in both cups. They still seemed unhappy with the beverage, but then, it wasn’t very good coffee.
Soon enough they were marching back toward the ramps, Beam hoping they would make level twenty-one without incident.
There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with five other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #392: Characters Resting. Given a moment, this link should take you directly to the section relevant to this chapter. It may contain spoilers of upcoming chapters.
As to the old stories that have long been here: