Friday, 6 September 2019


“Americano and a croissant,” I said. The barista started working her arcane magic with the espresso machine. Then the telephone rang behind the counter. She listened a while, then replied, “Well, you need to speak to Sue about that, although if I was you I’d leave it until— no, don't bother Steve, he'll just say no, but if Sue isn’t in today ... yes, I see what you’re saying, but then it would have to go through Julia in Accounts, but it’s not really her job, and the supplier was really annoyed that they couldn't handle it last week, so if I was you...” and I stopped listening.

The espresso machine hissed and popped and clicked and shut down. The coffee began to cool. The sun set and rose and set again. I fainted from hunger and thirst. My corpse mouldered and was eaten by feral cats. Civilisation fell. An asteroid impact brought on an ice age. Humanity devolved into bands of apes roaming the tropical tundra. After untold aeons the climate warmed again. Intelligence was once more kindled. The new humans invented fire, agriculture, metallurgy, science. Civilisation rose. Coffee was rediscovered, and cafes and espresso machines reinvented.

“Sorry to keep you waiting,” said the barista. “Have an extra stamp on your discount card.”

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