Back in the mid to late ’90s Galina and I would sometimes write stories together. This one, entitled “Coffee memories” was written for this contest through Second Cup. They wanted people to send in their best coffee memories and I guess some prize was given out. Year after year Galina would send in really good, well-written memories. So, one year I was like “We’re not gonna win if we try to say something sincere, so why don’t we just write something that’s completely fucked up?” This was the result:
COFFEE MEMORIESBy Galina Pemrboke and Nathaniel Christopher (circa 1996)
As I despise advertising and all it’s tacky and phony gimmicks, I constantly look for new and creative ways to vent my feelings. So when a magazine ran a contest looking for people’s favourite coffee memories I responded with this submission:
My favourite coffee memory revolves around being nineteen and going through a difficult time. Because of a personal tragedy my boyfriend and I were both unable to hold down jobs. At one point we were actually so destitute we were forced to eat doggy kibble. Anyway, on this particularly horrible day I reluctantly crawled out of the shower. On the way I tripped over the cat’s litter and it spilled all over the floor. I started to cry, but soon felt all warm and tingly as I realized that amongst the urine and feces there were coffee grounds – a rare luxury at the time. As I tried my tears I grabbed the dustpan from the corner of the room. I scooped up almost half a cup of coffee grounds and poured them into a Ziploc bag previous used for questionable activity. I even managed to borrow a coffee maker from my landlord who didn’t cuss me out for waking her up before noon. I proceeded to start the process of making coffee but soon realized I had no filters. Desperate, I went through my boyfriend’s personal possessions and finally found an article of paper that didn’t look like a ten year old resume. I converted it into a filter. Even though as I was drinking this coffee I could smell and taste the slight aroma of cat feces, it was still the best cup of coffee I’ve ever had. Feeling sentimental I poured the remainder of coffee into an empty shampoo bottle for my boyfriend. When my boyfriend came back from another unsuccessful job interview he asked me why I had used his recently acquired Last Will and Testament of his late grandfather as a coffee filter. Just an hour ago he discovered this little piece of paper now soaked and disintegrated entitled him to over $500,000. He was going to press charges against me but instead became an alcoholic and I an enabler. Nowadays though, things are better and we reminisce about those tough times as we successfully hold down part-time minimum wage jobs. Even though we aren’t millionaires we can always afford coffee. And on mornings whe we have a hangover… we always have a Second Cup.