Short story a day, day 2: Poisoned Coffee

This is how it works.  With my marathon over, this month’s project is a short story a day.  Each day, I will take a writing prompt from the frontpage of  There is no length limit and as this is a writing exercise, I will try my best to write something worth reading, and will invest in your comments, but make no guarantees (not that I ever do) as to the quality of my work.  Enjoy!

Today’s prompt is: 

My wife is trying to poison me. It’s not like I’ve done anything wrong. I haven’t cheated on her, I’ve never even thought about hitting her. I don’t complain when we spend time with her family, and I’ve only forgot her birthday twice, and even then, I was very stressed and she hadn’t dropped even a single hint.

But my coffee tastes different, sour like.  She’s been making it for years, and she knows how I like it, so this change is deliberate.  I’m a man of simple, but specific needs: sex once a week, that she never mention an ex-boyfriend even if I meet him, and my morning cup of coffee.  Beanbridge coffee, Kenyan blend, french roast grind, 3 minutes 40 seconds steeped in just boiled water, and just a sparkle of milk.  I like it black, but it started to stain my teeth, so my wife adds just a dash of milk.  I asked her to.

She’s been making it for some ten years, but it tastes different, sour like.  She’s not trying to kill me, just make me a little bit sick, a little bit weak, a little bit tired in the evenings.  I can feel it when I go up the stairs or when I eat too much food, and sometimes, when I wake up, I just want to go back to sleep, and sometimes, on Saturdays, I sleep in until I’m hungry, and then I get up late, have my poisoned cup of coffee, and feel so tired I sleep the whole afternoon.

He thinks I’m trying to poison him, which according to him, if he knew, is probably right. But to anyone else is wrong.  It started about 6 months ago.  I’d been following his coffee instructions to the letter, listening to him shower as I set the grinder to number 6, ground exactly 4 table spoons of the beans I had purchased yesterday.

I started messing with his coffee about six months ago. I’m at the age where I can play ungrateful host to zits and also play worrying mother to the lines at the corner of my mouth. That day,  I had a big, red one on my lip and while I was making his coffee I could feel its pointed top, and knew it would just take a little squeeze.   I remember this not because it was the last zit I ever got, but it was the first time I’d screwed up his coffee

I resisted as long as I could but I had to pop it, so I put on the timer for his coffee (3 minutes, forty seconds) and ran to the bathroom.  I got more absorbed in the its sweet yellow-white juiciness than I meant to and the timer was too quiet.  It steeped for at least ten minutes, but I didn’t have enough beans to start again.  I was nervous when he took the  first sip, and he didn’t say anything. I asked him if he liked it and he said it was fine.

After that, well: I steeped it too long, ground it too coarse, didn’t scoop enough.  Finally, I started even switching it for the cheapest coffee I could find in the grocery store.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a passive-aggressive housewife, I just can’t help a practical joke every once n a blue moon.  I’ve put my birthday on the calendar in three different places just to confuse him, or sometimes, I’ve made an extra nice dinner and watch him squirm trying to remember what we were supposed to be celebrating.  Whenever I told him the joke, laughing so hard I could barely speak, he’d manage a smile.  Not his thing, sure, but I love them.

Anyway, I never messed with his coffee before, he’s always claimed to be so sensitive to it, and I didn’t want to ruin his morning.  But after all those lessons, and explanations, and making me repeat the instructions back to him, well, I just couldn’t resist once I knew he couldn’t taste the difference.

Turns out he can, though. He started giving me suspicious looks and as much as I know he’d rather sleep, in he insists on getting up and watching me make the coffee, which he hasn’t done since 9 months into our marriage, or a year and change into our relationship.  He sniffs it before hand and he watches me do everything, but can’t figure it out.  Grocery story coffee may be bad, but it’s not poison, for godssakes.

For awhile I laughed at his red-eyed paranoia in the morning, I keep waiting for him to figure it out, and then I can tease him for months that he was so sure of his taste in coffee that his first thought was that I was poisoning him, maybe he’s losing his mind, I’ll laugh, but come to think of it, its not so funny.


About Big Adam

A NYC doorman, a community organizer, wannabe ape, sometimes blogger, sometimes writer, always crossword puzzle incompleter, I will ride bicycles with your papa, dance Bhangra with your mama, take you on dates that cost nada.
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5 Responses to Short story a day, day 2: Poisoned Coffee

  1. Varada Vaughan says:

    uuhhh, creeepy!!

  2. Lacey says:

    I love it

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