Mable accidentally found a substitute for her daily coffee
“Oh, no, that’s all we need. What else can go wrong this year?” Marion looked away from the television over to where her husband, Frank, had his nose in a book.
“Did you say something dear?” he said, tearing his eyes away from the latest Jack Reacher.
Marion sighed, she was used to his distraction. “It was just on the news, there’s going to be no more coffee owing to a blight of some sort. Even the stores of coffee are turning into black sludge!”
Frank’s eyes focused on his wife and what she was saying, “It’s a joke. You’re so gullible.” he gave a little laugh.
Marion had the last laugh when it turned out to be true. Frank was in the kitchen the following day and she heard him cursing. “You okay, love?” she called out.
“Have you seen the state of these beans?” he replied.
Marion looked over his shoulder at the bag of coffee beans she’d bought last week. “I told you so, didn’t I?”
“I’d better ring Mum, she’ll be in a state. She won’t understand what’s happening. How can you explain something like this to a ninety-year-old?”
“Oh, I forgot how your mother loves her coffee. I hope this doesn’t have a detrimental effect on her health, after all she’s been drinking ten cups a day for most of her life. She won’t remember anyway when you tell her the news. Her dementia’s getting worse. She put a roast chicken under the bed instead of in the fridge last week. It took me ages to track the smell down.”
“I know, love, we’re going to get her into care soon, before she gets much worse.” Frank sighed. “I’ll see her this afternoon. I’ll take her some tea bags.”
He let himself into Mable Smith’s ground-floor apartment and called out, “It’s only me, Mum.”
His mother was sitting in her favourite overstuffed armchair by the window, staring vacantly at the neighbourhood kids playing on the park over the road.
“Did you bring the coffee?” she asked, cheering up.
“I told you last night, Mum, there’s no more coffee. I’ve brought some tea bags. You’ll soon get used to drinking tea instead.”
Mable sighed, “What’s the world coming to? First, we have to hide from a virus, now you’re saying there’s no coffee. I’ll be glad to die, life’s not worth living.”
“Don’t talk like that. You’ve got years left in you.” Frank paused, “We’ve been wondering Ma, if you might be happier in a care home?”
“The only way I’m leaving here is in a box.”
Several weeks went by and the newspapers and news bulletins were full of reports of more road rage events. Murder rates were on the increase. They attributed these to the lack of coffee in people’s lives.
“I had a call today from Mum’s doctor.”
“Oh dear, what’s wrong with her now?” Marion frowned.
“Well, that’s the thing. He said there’d been a distinct improvement in her memory.” Frank looked perplexed. “He wanted to know what she’d been taking.”
“I think it’s because she’s drinking green tea instead of all that coffee, you know they say it’s full of anti-oxidants.”
“Mmm, maybe. We’ll go around after dinner and check on her.”
When they arrived at Mable’s apartment it amazed them to see her looking so well.
“You look different, Mum, what have you been doing to yourself?” Frank hugged his mother.
“I’ve had my hair done, do you like it?” Mable touched her new hairdo.
“Who took you into town?”
“No one, I went on the bus,” Mable said, as if she hadn’t been able to catch a bus for several years, owing to her growing fragility and diminishing memory.
Frank and Marion exchanged glances. They were both puzzled as to the apparent new lease on life Mable was experiencing.
“Your doctor said you passed a memory test with flying colours, Mum.”
“Silly old fool. I told him there’s nothing wrong with my memory. Why, I can remember my dad taking us all to the coast when I was only three years old.”
“Yes, but what about yesterday?” Frank murmured.
“So, Mable, are you managing without your coffee?” Marion changed the subject.
“Oh, I’ve still been having coffee. What are you talking about?”
Marion sighed, “No, there is no coffee anymore till they find a vaccine for the blight. Remember I told you?”
“I know, and I told you I had some in a pot I’d been saving.” Mable showed her the urn.
“Oh my God, she’s been drinking Grandad! “