"Just coffee, please," I said to the woman behind the counter. She had frizzy black hair and the air of untouchable boredom I thought fast food joints must hand out with the employment contract. She also looked like no one had ever asked her for just coffee before.
"You don't want no liquid sugar?"
"Um." I shook my head and fished a dollar and twenty-five cents from the depths of my wallet.
Years had passed since I had last been in a McDonald's, though despite that, living unaware of them proved impossible. The radio spots interrupted my music regularly to tell me a: a sandwich featuring meat that was molded into the shape of ribs, back for a limited time; any size soft drink for a dollar; new and inventive flavors of blended iced coffee, waiting just for me at the McCafe.
It was that last one that compelled me to pull off of the highway 200 miles into my 400 mile drive. Just to see what it would be like; and plus, the only other options I saw were gas stations.
"ICED COFFEE, NO LIQUID SUGAR?" called another woman, setting my order on the counter. I picked it up along with the order receipt beneath it, which said the same thing in the same capital letters.
I experimented with a small sip and smiled to myself on the way back to my car. It tasted watery, like coffee tasted from very far away. Like it needed sugar. I'd be damned if I was going to turn around and get some, though.(less)
The next turn of keys, an opening cleared out for me. Light in the sound of things and colours in the shock they bring. Objects motionless in the still aired sound. With the taste of wind blowing and thoughts deeply thinking. Catching rest while time is eased, counting the(more) stones on my komboloi beads. New dimensions to an aged old soul, stripped of perspective and losing all relevance. Or perhaps it is just coffee. (less)