Sunday, May 30, 2010

James and the Giant Coffee

This is the first instalment of my Great American Archetypes, where i, James, get a Giant Coffee. Enjoy.

Soon after departing LAX, and allowing a generous few hours for our zonked, window staring wonderment to pass, our merry band of fiends wipe the pharmaceutical plane-aid drool residue from our sleepless chins and finally enter the exciting world of the American gas station!
If the roads are the arteries of the U.S. then i suppose these stations are its fetid burst capillaries, speckling every inch of its vast and decadently prosperous body.
I enter to get myself a sup of this, the blood of the States, and am confronted by a galaxy of bars, burgers, drinks, dogs, ice-creams and every manner of heart-buggering, vein-bursting delicacy i never dared imagine. The sanctity of culinary law is long forgotten in this, the land of the free, where the sweet and the savoury, salty, sugary, sour and deep fried are joined in godless matrimony to spawn their ghastly progeny into the mouths of the American people.
I b-line to the ranks of black carafes to confront the first of my dreams, the Giant Coffee. The choice is wondrous - decaf, vanilla, hazelnut, one playfully labelled 'DANGEROUS, not for wimps' with a crude depiction of a red faced man with steam shooting from his ears. I opt for 'coffee' flavour.
The next challenge is to select a size. There are three cups ranging from utterly gargantuan to some level of enormity floating far beyond the scope of any earthly vocabulary. I opt for a modest 'Gargantuan', fill it to 3/4 and sit outside on a fence to savour my beverage. With a titanic effort i raise the cup with both hands and lean over to take a sip. I feel a sense of vertigo peering over the edge. The heat and the aroma are intoxicating and i swoon, nauseous and faint, teetering on the edge of the Giant Coffee. I spit a desperate vomit then go black, tumbling down, down down into the lukewarm filth.

When i came to i was in a strange world where the steam formed terrible, ghostly hallucinations. They wafted and taunted, sniggering at the strange antipodian pygmy who just dropped from the sky.
Across the misty brown lake i could see a figure drifting my way, dispersing the phantasms with the bow of a small row boat.
"Help!" I cried, "please help, i fell in here and can't get out!"
A low chuckle emanated from the boat, as the steam parted and a stout figure in a lumber jacket rowed towards me, floundering pathetically in the coffee.
"Hell, calm down, boy", said the warm, gruff voice, "you'll drown yourself with all that carryin' on. You've just found yourself in your first American Coffee!"
The boat sidled up to me, and the man bent down and reached out his hand. He had a thick brown beard and a wooly cap covering his ears.
"Who are you?"
"Me? I'm just a guide, youngun, and i must say, you sure look like you could use my help". With a splash he hoisted me up into the boat, where i lay gasping, soaked to the bone.
"So if you're a guide," i asked, "then you live here?" I tried not to look to revolted by the gritty brown turdwater around us. The man chuckled as he rowed, his great shoulders shaking beneath his jacket,"kinda, although this isn't the type of place i'd usually come. I'm the Spirit of American Coffee! The real deal, and i just came here to let you know that this isn't the beginning and end of my domain. It would be an awful shame if you got scared off now and never got to see the heart of it. Hot and strong in the cold mornin', a big stack of pancakes served by a beaming, rosy cheeked waitress..." he looked wistfully into the distance, and his eyes told me that this wasn't the end of my coffee experience.
"That sure sounds nice"
"Just you wait! Thats why i'm gonna get you outta here"
"But how?" i said, looking up the sheer white styrofoam cliffs.
"Well, i'll show you, bud" he said, and the boat softly bumped into the wall. I turned around as he raised his oar and hacked into the foam, while the coffee gushed out into the carpark.
"You get back to you friends now, son. Hope to see you again in a bit better circumstances."

So i stepped out, slinked back into the van where the indefatigable Jokie Regan presented me with a delicious Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and we started back onto the highway with the foul taste of roadside percolated coffee lingering in my mouth.
- Paisley Adams