Josie Dorri And The Coffee Ban What would you do if someone told you not to drink coffee? What if it was the law? Follow Josie Dorri on her day without coffee, and you'll be glad the ban hasn't happened! (Approximately 7,000 words)
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JOSIE DORRI AND THE COFFEE BAN
© 2011 B.C. Young
Josie Dorri had a simple, normal routine: Wake up, make coffee, eat breakfast, get her son ready for school, go to work, come home, go to sleep, and do it all over again the next day until the weekend arrived.
Now a new law forced her routine to change. It now went beyond her control, and she had a choice to make. Most times it’s an easy one. But today Josie has a governmental law hanging over her head. Most times, she wouldn’t give the decision a second thought, because for her it’s the correct decision—it’s a good decision.
After Josie’s alarm clock buzzed at7:15 a.m., she jumped out of bed. Still waking, she groggily went downstairs, walked passed her son’s bedroom, and went into the kitchen. Her normal routine told her to put water in the coffee maker, which she did. Then she went to the freezer to pull out the coffee bag and opened it. It had an intoxicating and wonderful aroma. She couldn’t wait to have her morning pick-me-up.
She went over to silverware drawer and pulled out her coffee scooper. She had used the scooper for three years, and she wouldn’t make coffee without it because any other scooper didn’t make the coffee as she liked it. A scoop for every cup she always said and it made the coffee strong, but not too strong; bitter but not too bitter; perfect and you can never have too perfect.
As she put the scooper into the coffee bag, she stopped when she saw the headline on the kitchen monitor screen. It read, in big bold type:
COFFEE PROHIBITION STARTS TODAY
Consumption Prohibited, Possession Prohibition Pending
She contemplated what she should do next. She needed her morning coffee. The government’s decision to put a ban on coffee only forty-eight hours earlier gave her no time to prepare for the change. The reasons seemed valid at the time but more unjustified now.
“What do I do?” Josie asked aloud.
She pulled a scoop of coffee grounds from the bag and looked at it. Having her coffee was important and it warmed her soul. It would be just what she needed to have a successful day. But the government had made a new law—anyone caught drinking coffee or under its influence would be sent to jail. She’ll go to jail, probably lose her job, and lose Tommy. She couldn’t let that happen. After a considerable amount of time, she came to a decision, but she couldn’t figure out if it was good or bad—she had to go with the choice that left Tommy with a mom and her not going to jail.
She didn’t want to do it, but she took the coffee scoop full of the dark grounds and put it back over the opened bag. Slowly, as if time had almost stopped, she watched as the grounds dumped back into the bag. She found it difficult to do, but she knew it was the only choice she had, and the only choice must be the good choice.
That’s when she came up with another brilliant idea, although it pained her to do it. She decided to throw the entire bag in the trash. She closed her eyes for this one. Her hands reached out and grabbed the bag. Then, she walked the bag over to the trash can and signaled her hands to release the bag.
It all happened as she planned in her mind, now she needed to execute it physically. That part was a chore, and she moved much slower than the routine she practiced in her head. But through forced movements, she did it. She successfully threw the entire bag of coffee in the trash can. For a second, she thought a tear formed in her right eye. But that would be nonsense.
“Mom, you never woke me up!” Tommy yelled from atop the stairs.
Josie did a quick look at the clock and saw it was almost8 o’clock.
“Sorry, Tommy,” she yelled up to him. “Hurry and get your clothes on. You’re gonna miss the bus.”
“Why didn’t you wake me up?” Tommy yelled down to her. He slammed the door, sending a vibration through the ceiling to the kitchen below.
Lately, he’d been very demanding. Josie let it slide, because she knew it had been rough on him the past couple months. A child can’t easily deal with his parents’ divorce. Now, he saw his dad every other weekend and on Wednesday evenings. Josie and her husband, Mark, tried to make the divorce as easy as possible on Tommy, but they couldn’t stop its effects. Tommy coped with the situation by being difficult, harsh, and overly critical. He was only ten years old. She didn’t hold it against him, and she hoped he’d grow out of it eventually.
“How long was I deciding to have coffee or not?” Josie asked aloud.
“I can’t find anything,” Tommy yelled from his room.
“Just check your middle drawer. You should have clothes there.”
Josie listened for a moment. Tommy made a lot of noise as he threw stuff and got frustrated. She ran upstairs to help him find clothes.
“I said to check the middle drawer,” she told Tommy after opening the door and going into his bedroom.
“Mom!” Tommy yelled back, pulling his pajama bottoms up. “I was changing my clothes.”
“Oh, please,” Josie said. She rummaged through his middle drawer and pulled out a blue pair of shorts and a green t-shirt that said “TL;DR” on it. Josie didn’t even know what that meant.
“It’s Pajama Day, Mom. Don’t you know that?” Tommy said.
“Pajama Day? I thought that was next week.”
Tommy rolled his eyes.
“No, it’s today.”
Josie thought real hard. She remembered the school lunch calendar on the refrigerator. It said Pajama Day was next Wednesday. If the menu hadn’t fallen off the refrigerator into a puddle of grape juice Tommy spilled, ruining it, she’d still be able to check it. She didn’t understand why school’s had the stupid themed dressing days anyway. Why can’t the kids just wear clothes? Why’s it always gotta be something entertaining?
“Tommy, I swear. It’s next week,” she insisted.
“No it’s not,” he said. He crossed his arms and stood there defiantly and made it clear he would not wear the clothes.
“Tommy, you’re gonna miss your bus. Put these on.”
The kid wouldn’t budge. Not only was he demanding, but he was stubborn, too, just like his father. If Mark hadn’t been so stupid so many times, Josie knew she wouldn’t be the only one who had to deal with this kid. In fact, Tommy might be more cooperative if Mark was still around.
Then a thought occurred to Josie. If Tommy wanted to be so stubborn and insist today was Pajama Day, she’d let him wear pajamas. Yeah, that makes sense. That’ll teach him a lesson. Maybe knock his attitude down a notch so he listens to me more. Yeah. It’s a good idea.
“Fine,” Josie said. “Wear pajamas.”
“I told you I couldn’t find any.”
Now Josie had an even better idea.
“Just wear the ones you have on.”
Tommy looked down at his pajamas. Josie thought he would complain, but he didn’t. He looked back up with a big smile. Josie didn’t care for the smile because it gave her the sense he thought he’d won. But she knew in the end, she’d be the one who had the last laugh.
“Awesome. Wait’ll kids hear I’m wearing the same clothes I slept in.”
“Yeah. They’ll think you’re so cool. Now get downstairs and I’ll get you breakfast.”
Josie looked at the clock in Tommy’s room and saw they had three minutes until the bus came. She’d make him toast waffles. That should be quick enough. She hurried down the stairs to the kitchen, and Tommy followed slowly behind her.
Once she got into the kitchen, she popped the waffles into the toaster. That’s when a dreadful sound entered the house. It’s the sound that signals everything is about to go wrong in your day. The sound that tells you that you should have made some better choices in the morning, and now that sound will make you pay for it.
It was the sound of the bus pulling up to the stop. Josie ran to the living room and looked out the window. Sure enough the bus was already at the stop and she saw Josh, a neighbor kid from down the street, get on the bus. Of all days for the bus to be early, it picked this one.
“Tommy, let’s go. The bus is here!” she yelled.
“But I didn’t have breakfast.”
Josie wanted to scream. Why must that kid be such a pain? She ran to the kitchen, forced up the waffles from the toaster, and grabbed them.
“Here.” She handed them to Tommy.
“They’re cold,” he complained.
“Just shut up and eat it. Get your shoes on. I’ll run out and see if I can stop the bus.” He couldn’t miss the bus. If he missed it, she’d have to drive him to school. If she had to drive him to school, she’d be late for work. If she was late for work, her manager, Brad, would pitch a fit and be on her case all day.
Josie ran from the house, still in pajamas, as the bus pulled away from the stop. She flailed her arms at the back end of the bus.
“Wait!” she yelled. “Stop!”
But the bus moved and picked up speed. Finally, it was gone, leaving Josie outside in pajamas looking foolish. If she had a cup of coffee in her hand, she wouldn’t look so stupid. Josie turned around and ran back into the house.
When she got back into the house, Tommy didn’t even have his shoes on, he’d taken two bites of his waffle, and he played with his remote control car.
“Tommy. I gotta drive you to school. Get your shoes on. I’ll be ready in a minute.”
“Okay,” Tommy said, but he kept playing with the car.
Tommy looked surprised. She usually didn’t speak that loud and stern unless she was really upset. He stopped playing with the car, and went to the front door to get his shoes.
Josie ran upstairs into her bedroom and opened the closet. She didn’t have time to figure out what she’d wear so she pulled out the first thing she saw—a light gray pant-suit outfit with a white collared shirt. She changed quickly, then went into the bathroom to fix up her hair. Normally, she’d take a shower first, but she decided she didn’t have time for it. She’d also put on make-up, but today she figured she’d go without.
After she finished and felt satisfied with her appearance, she ran down the stairs, grabbed Tommy’s arm, to which he cried out, “Hey!”, and dragged him to the car. They got in, she started it up, and drove Tommy to school faster than she had ever done before.
When they pulled up to the school, class was about ready to begin. Josie’s foot slammed on the breaks, and the car screeched to a halt. She normally didn’t drive the car that way, but she thought it was the only good way to do it since she ran late.
Tommy didn’t say a word. With wide opened eyes, he stared straight ahead. He held onto the seat belt’s shoulder harness, gripping it so tight that his knuckles turned white.
“Hey, Tommy. We’re here,” Josie said when he still didn’t move after ten seconds. She nudged his left shoulder.
“Huh?” he said, speechless.
“We’re here. At school. Get out. I need to get to work.” She didn’t have time to play games.
Tommy reached for the buckle latch slowly and unbuckled himself from the seat. Then, he looked at Josie, leaned over, and kissed her on the cheek.
“I love you, Mom.”
For a second, Josie didn’t know what to do. She didn’t expect Tommy’s behavior. She didn’t know what she did to deserve that.
“Love you, too, honey. Now get going, or you’ll be late.”
Tommy exited the car, closed the door behind him, and started to walk towards the school entrance. Some kids ran up next to him and walked with him. They laughed, too. Tommy pushed one kid away from him in frustration.
Josie realized what they found humorous. They wore normal clothes—shorts and a t-shirt. Josie was right. She had her victory, and hoped it taught Tommy a lesson. Not only did he wear pajamas to school on the wrong day, he had messy hair also. He looked like he just got out of bed, and that’s because he did. Suddenly, her victory didn’t seem that great. She wished she had insisted Tommy wear the clothes. Why’d she let him get his way?
She expected Tommy to turn around, come back to the car, and ask to go home to get good clothes. She knew she wouldn’t. She already would be late for work. Any later and Brad would have a field day rubbing it in her face. But Tommy didn’t turn around, he didn’t come back to the car, and he didn’t ask to go home. He just walked into the school, he looked at the ground, and he ignored the kids as they mocked him.
Josie watched him until he disappeared into the school. He should have listened to her. Before she could think about it any further, a gentle throbbing pulsated in her temple. Not only that, she had no energy, and she knew exactly why.
“I really need a coffee,” she said aloud.
Then she remembered the news report the night before. Some people protested the coffee ban because of the short notice of the new law. No one understood why the government decided so quickly to outlaw the drinking of coffee. In its citizens’ interests, they still allowed possession of it for the time being. This made even less sense. If you possessed it, you’d drink it. What’s to stop you? But it did stop Josie from drinking it.
A news anchor interviewed the manager of the WaWa convenient store near Josie’s work. She remembered pretty well what the manager, Winky Smith, said in regards to the ban.
“I don’t care what the government says. If we have coffee in stock, we’re sellin’ it. You need it on Coffee Ban Day, we’ll have it.” Winky said with a rough voice.
Josie decided to stop at the WaWa and get a coffee. She already ran five minutes late, another five to get a coffee wouldn’t hurt anyone—except Brad. It’d feel good to hurt him a little. Make him sweat. Make him wonder who’s gonna type up reports and organize them.
She thought about going to jail. Would she mind the cold gray walls of a prison cell? Would she regret the choice? She decided she’d take the chance. She wondered why it was such a big deal earlier in the morning. Maybe her headache had something do with it.
After fifteen minutes, she pulled into the WaWa parking lot as best as she could. The store had a mob of people pouring from the inside to the outside. She tripled parked next to a pickup truck and shut off the car’s engine. As she exited her vehicle, the mob made a lot of noise. Most of the people’s faces looked angry and upset.
Josie walked up to the back of the line to get into the store. She stood behind a tall man wearing a cowboy hat, a brown leather vest, blue jeans, and boots. Not exactly who she normally saw around here.
“What’s the hold up?” she said to the man.
“What’dya think? Everyone saw that news report. All’s trying get them some coffee.” He had a deep, raspy voice when he spoke. “Wish I’d just made some at home before I left. Just didn’t think it was a good idea though.”
“Yeah, me too.” Josie wondered if she made the best decision to stop and get the coffee. Based on the line, she might stand in line for a couple hours.
“Stupid law don’t make no sense, you ask me,” the cowboy said. “Just go and make a law and get it workin’ in forty-eight hours. Don’t make no sense.”
“Yeah, well, I thought the same thing. But I guess, once they realized the coffee manufacturers changed the bean to make it more addictive than heroine, they had to stop the problem somehow.” Josie said. When they first announced the ban and why it would happen, she understood it. It was a good decision. The coffee manufacturers purposely tried to make people dependent on coffee so they wouldn’t stop drinking it. That’s not right. But now, after her first morning without coffee, the decision felt a little extreme. “I’m surprised there aren’t any police here making sure no one consumes the coffee.”
“What you talkin’ about lady? The police were here. How you expect them to patrol during the night. They need coffee. They think this thing is as ridiculous as me and you.”
“What do you mean?” a man yelled from within the entrance door. “This is crazy. They’d said they sell the coffee.”
The crowd inside the WaWa pushed its way out the front door. Everyone looked angry and yelled. Finally the manager, Winky, came outside.
“All a ya, get back. I’m not sellin’ anymore coffee. I started thinkin’ about it and the government laid down the law. It’s not right for me to try and break it or help you do the same. Now get outta here. No coffee for sale!” he yelled.
This made Josie furious. She stopped to get coffee because the man said he’d sell it despite the ban. Now, she would be even later to work, Brad would get on her case, and the day would be miserable.
“Give us the coffee!” she yelled back at Winky. She surprised herself by speaking up, but she knew Winky should stick to his word.
The crowd agreed with Josie, and yelled at Winky to sell the coffee to them. Winky backed up into the store and locked the doors before anyone got back inside. Josie saw a woman ten feet away pick up a rock and throw it at the front windows of the building, causing it to crack. Other people followed suit and pelted the windows with rocks.
“Need a rock lady?” the cowboy asked as he joined in with the crowd.
Josie, wanted to join in on the riot. She had every right to. Winky lied. It was the only good thing to do. But she knew if she got involved in the riot, which every bone in her body wanted to do, she’d be really late for work. Or worse, she’d never get there at all. She fought her instinct to join in on the mayhem.
“No. I gotta go,” she said.
“Suit yourself.” The cowboy took the rock he had and threw it at the already cracked front window. It hit at just the right spot and with just the right force, causing the window to shatter into a thousand pieces.
Josie thought the crowd’s response made complete sense. Winky said the coffee would be there. They had a right to react in the way they did, and she completely agreed with the response that transpired. But she had to leave.
She hopped into the car and looked in the rear-view mirror as she left the parking lot. The scene had gotten wilder, and the mob rushed the store after breaking the windows. While she wanted to stay she reasoned leaving probably prevented her from getting hurt and being late to work.
As Josie drove to the office, she decided to turn on the radio. The pounding headache bothered her, and she thought the sound of music would distract her from it. Plus, as drowsy as she felt, listening to music might wake her up. But instead of the great rock/pop music she loved on her favorite station, BenFM 95.7-2, a news anchor spoke. She almost changed the station, when the report caught her interest.
“...northeast has seen an effect too. In the public schools, teachers never showed up for work, causing some students to leave early. Angry drivers are running people off the road, and riots are happening all over the city. Reports are in that this isn’t just in our area. Similar things are happening in other parts of the country...”
That’s odd. Why would all of this be happening? Is it all because of the coffee ban?
This story is included in the ebooks Unspoken Stories - Volume 1 & All My Fiction. Pay Once—Read Forever