A Certain Verified American Life Fiction


A short story draft — because we only write drafts at this point in our lives, because life is too short, and because everyone else writes multiple edited drafts. That would be too confusing. 
By Kenny Eoin and Morgan Philips – Guest Writer

By Kenny Eoin and Morgan Phillips and the computer keyboard

We got a new coffee maker. There was nothing wrong with the old one. It was not a good one, but it worked. It made coffee every day when we asked it. Sometimes it made coffee several times a day. Those days usually required us to stay awake for extended periods of time. It never complained, which was unlike my wife and sometimes myself. When I had to stay awake for extended periods of time I periodically became grumpy. Sometimes I will yell at people for no reason. I am not sure if it was because I was tired or irritable due to the coffee.

The coffee maker never made good tasting coffee. We were glad it made coffee. We tried, (we meaning myself, and sometimes my wife, but mostly me) all types of coffee from all over the world. Some came from Africa, some from South America, some from Jamaica, and some from Walmart. They all tasted the same. My wife would have been fine with the taste if only we could program it to brew in the morning before we got up. It was not programmable. She would always complain. “This coffee tastes awful,” is what I heard most of the time. Sometimes she would add an expletive to help me better understand her point of view. I believe mostly she did not like having to physically make something she knew would taste bad and then drink it every morning to wake up.

On Christmas day we were at my parent’s house. They always have their place looking nice with decorations. I am proud and happy to visit them during this time because it looks so nice. My mom and wife always exchanged compliments with each other about the things they did for the holidays. My mom was also insightful, and maybe at some point overheard my wife or myself complaining about the coffee we made every day. In a box under the tree, there was only one present for my wife and me. It was a medium-size box. We did not receive one present because we were bad the previous year, we got one because we now have kids. It was all agreed upon by my brother’s wife, my wife, and my mom the attention should be on the kids. As it should be I thought.

The next day, I had almost forgotten about the new coffee maker because of the general overwhelming that occurs during Christmas. I was also in some hot water with my wife due to not getting her a present. ( a whole other story) In my defense, I am pretty sure the focus on the kid’s rules applied to us. She did get me a nice unexpected present, (another whole story) When I woke that morning the kids were already up. I don’t understand them because when I was a kid in school, on break, I always slept as long as possible. I looked at them in wonder, started to explain the sleeping in concept to them, but stopped. But, it was too late they got what I was trying to explain. I thought this might bite me in you-know-what later. The last thing I want to do is start prying them out of bed every morning. Then I saw the new coffee maker box. It was saying, “Open me and make your first pot Mr. Crow.”

When I unpacked it, I had a feeling life was about to change. First, unlike the old one, it had lots of buttons. The old one had one button, on and off. I counted six buttons, two knobs, and a lever. I also had the suspicion I would have to read the manual to get it fired up and running. It looked strange sitting on the counter all shiny and clean.

It did not take long the make our first pot. It brewed beautifully. The aroma filled the house and woke my wife. We sat together with smiles enjoying our first cup. Our kids had the TV blasting and were destroying the living room, but we did not care. We looked each other in the eye and I knew I had been forgiven for my lapse in giving a gift. The taste was a lot better, but not spectacular. I thought it must be the coffee brand. I made a note to buy something better. The best part, however, was this new maker was programmable. We could set it up to make it before we came down from getting dressed. I would be able to smell it brewing while putting on my clothes. What more could you ask for in life? It was the best present this year.

Thirty-one minutes later, it was 8:30 AM, now 9:01 AM, and when I discovered a possible issue other than the taste. The carafe was warm, not hot. Our old make did not make great tasting coffee, but if I came back in thirty-one minutes it was at least hot (with the taste of being burnt, which I did not mind too much since it already tasted bad).

There is a knob on the new coffee maker that says Carafe Temp. It’s marked L, M, H. I thought, let’s put it on H and make another pot. It did not work. Thirty-one minutes after a new brew, it was warm again. Something is not right. I called my mom to consult her. She has the same one. She told me it stays hot for two hours. I made another pot. No change. I decided to consult the manual. It had one sentence about the knob. “You can control the carafe temp with this knob.

Then my wife discovered the warm coffee. “Why is the coffee cold?” she said, and then “What good is a coffee maker that does not keep it warm?” I knew at that point things might go downhill. I immediately went and bought some expensive coffee and made her a pot. It tasted really good for thirty-one minutes.

We were now beginning the fourth day of having bad coffee made from our new coffee maker. I did not want to come right out and say it, but well, “I’m pretty pissed off.” It could also be I have not had much sleep. Since it was about to be a new year. I have been mulling over all that went wrong this past year and it was keeping me up, including the new coffee maker. I am now positive the kids got better presents than we did.

We got a new coffee maker that made bad tasting coffee like our old coffee maker, but there was some comfort, it is new and shiny. It now tastes bad at all times, but I think it is mostly psychological. We did try coffee from Africa, South American, Jamaica, and Walmart. It made no difference. It continued to taste bad.

My wife suggested I go to Starbucks and ask the people who make coffee for a living (or part-time) if they have any advice about our bad tasting coffee. My kids have slept in all four of the past days a well, and I have had to pry them out of bed. I used TV cartoons and hot cocoa as a stick and carrot for them to get up. I knew it would come back to bite me.

At Starbucks, I asked if I could speak to a manager. It was the manager I was speaking to. I considered it a good sign that I did not have to wait for the manager. Maybe, she would have an answer to my problem. I asked the manager if can I speak with her star barista. I said it in a way she would not be offended if she thought I was implying she was not the best. Long story short, she was the best, however, she was not so good at explaining how to make coffee. After several minutes I realized what she was trying to say was, “If it’s not in the Starbucks coffee making manual she could not help me.” It was frustrating, but on the way home I thought about something my wife said. something I read in the manual (the Starbucks barista made me think about manuals again) and something my mom said. After putting one, one, and one together I had an idea.

Problem solved! We are very happy now. The carafe temperature needed to be programmed as well. It did not say it in the manual, but I gave it a try and it worked. Now it is programmed for me to smell coffee brewing while I get dressed. All psychological stigmas are gone. We have great tasting coffee from Africa, some from South America, some from Jamaica, and some from Starbucks. And every day thirty-one minutes later it was HOT!

Note: This is draft ONE. In draft two, I will make sure I talk more about my wife not getting her present. The unexpected present she got me (even though she broke her own rule), and my subscription to Fresh Cup Magazine.

Note 2: “Yes Mrs. Parrish,” (my 5th Grade grammar police officer — teacher) I will work on my spelling and grammar in the next draft.

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