by Bob'n Along
Another new world crisis? What was so different about that?
|"Coffee Calamity Writing Competition" July contest. Word count 1320
I had the jitters. Who didn’t?” This was a world game changer, grounds for changing life as I knew it, up close and as personal as it can get. The news had hit me right on the old bean . . . coffee bean that is.
“I can’t believe it.” Nelda, my significant other, slurped her morning brew. I watched, fascinated, as her hand twitched spilling her cup as she set it down on her saucer. This was bad. Eyes closed in silent prayer, Nelda licked the dropped blend off the small plate like a cat.
“What? In a week coffee will become ancient history overnight.” She shuddered. "The disease wiping out the best loved bean there ever was has no cure."
The moment felt like the fading calm before the storm. I'd followed the news. Most nations were in denial. There were rumors the infection not only was rampaging existing stockpiles and plants but had mutated into attacking the very beloved mixed Starbucks blended cups I loved so well.
“Hey. This is too important. Someone, somewhere will figure it out.” I sounded more hopeful than a kid sitting on Santa’s knee telling him what she wanted for Christmas.
Nelda stuck her tongue out at me. It was coated with green fur. The coffee blight had chosen that moment to invade her last swallow. “Eek.”
Her hands raised, waving in surrender. Nelda tapped danced to her feet, shoved the breakfast nook chair back. It shattered the window. I grabbed her arm before she went falling with it, into the sound of rioting down below. “Steady girl. Now’s not the time to join in the festivities.”
“I can’t stand it,” Nelda hung limply in my arms, spitting out a carpet of green foam onto my shoulder.
“There. There. Get it all out.” I patted her back like she was a baby. I wanted to throw her along with my drenched and ruined shirt away before she was done. Love hath no honor when the bounds of reality are surpassed.
“Oh, Johnny. What are we going to do? Look at me.”
I did. She and the world were a mess. I’d always thought before that she looked good in green. Now I felt a little green to the gills down into my stomach. Was my own recent cup transforming my insides?
The look in Nelda’s now green eyes confirmed it was worse than that. “Johnny? I think you should shave. I got some of this gunk on your morning beard. She lurched away from me in alarm.
The thin and vibrant tinge of thin hair on her arms was turning that same yuckish hue. The hair on her eyebrows and head, then her skin itself made her appear to become a parody of that ‘jolly green giant’ old commercial advertising a can of green beans. “Uh. Maybe it’s too late for a shower.” I could swallow anything but the sight before my eyes.
“Oh. Johnny. I am green with envy. You are simply beautiful.”
One glance revealed I had changed into some mutated version of myself. I itched. Nelda was humming ‘Green, green, on the far side of the hill’, while undressing me. Her green tipped fingernails caressed the flow of the same colored fur coating my body.
I couldn’t help it. The attraction, a nauseating second ago, was mutual. When we were done cavorting the feeling of transcendent intimacy remained. Joining pale green hands we looked out the broken window to a changed scene below. “We’re not the only ones,” Nelda squeezed out the words into a greenish misty cough smelling vaguely of mint coffee.
“Ought to be no problem with racial discrimination,” I chuckled as she leaned against my side. “No more black, white, yellow or red skin. Everything will be green to go.”
I wanted to check and turned on the news. The riots were stopping. The strange mutation had spread from infected coffee beans to people infecting each other with a single breath. In less than a week, civilization as I knew it would be a thing written in history books.
“I’m thirsty. Want a drink?” Nelda brushed green scum off her coffee cup. She laughed. “It tickles. I think I have a new pet.”
The coffee can we’d made the morning brew from exhibited the same new pattern. “If you can’t fight it, join it.” I scooped some green fuzz into the coffee machine and started it up. What came out in liquid form tasted like meeting up with an old friend.
“Bottoms up,” Nelda clicked cups, sipped, swallowed. Once again I couldn’t believe the change before my eyes. Her body lost the baby fat, early laugh wrinkles around the eyes and the scar dimpling one cheek she’d worn since I’d met her.
“You look better each time I wink. What is going on? I feel so much healthier, more energetic.” Nelda leaned over to seal her comment with a kiss. “Hungry?”
“Just for you,” the thought slipped out of my mouth without thinking. She looked delicious. The cold or flu that had been coming on seemed to have fled. “This is some power drink.”
What was happening to us, the news reported, was a microcosm of the outer world. The change was to intense and immediate. It dulled shock into temporary acceptance on a massive scale.
In the next few days to come the need to eat or drink, even that faded. The poor who had gone hungry no longer complained. We seemed to be growing inside what we needed in terms of drink or food. The fur on our bodies adjusted heat and cold to the same optimal climate California was supposed to offer.
The ripple became a tidal wave. Fewer people in the news resisted the transition to what humanity was becoming. Those who argued or fought against the idea only had to breath the same air we did to change them and their minds. “Isn’t it wonderful?” Nelda walked with me around the village green of our central park.
The mass of green people were replenishing the ozone, enriching our oxygen, cooling an overheated world of climate change. Wars for scarce resources were on hold as mankind paused to adjust to the new facts.
“Makes me wonder how long this hiccup promising a new Eden can last.” I knew in my heart no matter what color people might be there would always be rivalry based on who was in and who was out. Some new fad might spark it, if nothing else came along.
“Let’s go home. I’m bored.” Nelda prodded my green tinged fuzzy arm. The twinkle in her eyes bode well. Making love never felt better. I yawned, stretched and got up to leave her gentle purring snore.
Outside our newly patched window, the world was a better place. The devastating toll on the world’s economy might not be such a bad thing. For now, the level of quality of life for humanity’s poor had risen enough to give hope we might learn to behave better. “Quality over quantity and greed. Nice thought.”
Even overpopulation was known to decrease when things went well. Families had fewer children when prosperity lay in their grasp. I padded over to the kitchen nook to stare for a moment at my coffee machine.
“What are you looking at?” Nelda came in to lean her head against my shoulder.
I squeezed a burp of gentle green mist from between her lips. “Nothing. Nothing at all.” It was time to let the past go. We on mother earth might be having the temporary jitters. I didn't want to medicate them. I wanted to be part of making the change around us a stable one worth waking up too.
Nelda rubbed her belly. “I wonder if I’m pregnant.”
“Boy or girl?” A flutter of excitement took wing. Change could be turmoil or opportunity.
The future was now.