Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Recycled Coffee

I pulled into a gritty industrial area of Chicago one morning to deliver a load from California. It was 5am when I got there and the warehouse didn't open until 6am.

The old gray building across the street had a small cafe in one corner with a faded sign on its dingy window that read "Coffee Shop". I went in and sat at the counter under a fluorescent light that was flickering and buzzing its death throes.

Four people were scattered around at separate tables, hunched over their coffee. Near me at the counter was a gnarly old guy wearing dirty bib overalls and a faded striped engineers cap. The whole place had an eerie colorless look that would have fit right into a Stephen King novel.

The middle-aged waitress with a jaded, almost surly demeanor, asked me what I wanted. I said, "Just coffee, please."

She poured me a cup of coffee from the pot behind the counter and put the grimy cup in front of me. While I was deciding whether or not to drink out of it, the old guy next to me got up and left.

The waitress came over, picked up his half-empty cup, and poured what was left into the same pot that my coffee had come from.

I decided I could do without coffee that morning.

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