Monday, September 15, 2008

Sunday Scribblings: Coffee

It's long and I still don't know how to create expandable post summaries, even though I have 3 pages of printed instructions explaining how. (Not to mention, for some reason Blogger doesn't like to indent and all my cute spacing is screwed up and this is annoying me to no end. But I'm not really in a position to, you know, retype this whole thing right now so....)

Marla’s marshmallow stuck in a fork and hovered over the red-hot, spiral heating element. “Don’t you have any longer forks,” She asked, inching her fingers down the handle until they were just barely holding on.

Tiernan yanked back on her own forked marshmallow just as it touched the stove top and burst into flames. Waving and blowing she said, “You can pull apart a coat hanger? I’m sure there are a few extra in the hall closet you could use.”

“That’s ok.” Marla wasn’t sure she wanted to draw attention to their little marshmallow roast. She was pretty sure that if Tiernan’s mom knew what they were doing, she wouldn’t be happy.

The thing about Tiernan’s mom, though, was that she wasn’t super observant. Even though she was technically in the house (Marla’s mom would not have allowed her to come over to Tiernan’s with out a parent at home) she was very much in her own world down the hall in the back office.

Marla turned her fork so the marshmallow browned evenly, trying to ignore the increasing pain in her fingers. The hair on her knuckles began to singe and she quickly switched hands. Tiernan stuck a few chocolate chips into the blackened outer shell of her marshmallow, and then squished it between two graham crackers. “You are taking forever,” Tiernan complained. “It doesn’t have to be perfect, you know.”

“Not everyone likes to eat charcoal.” she said, as she continued to turn her forked marshmallow over the stove. “Besides, if this thing catches on fire, I could set off the smoke alarm and then your mom would come out and…”

Tiernan let out an exasperated breath. “Don’t worry about my mom,” She said. “She doesn’t mind me using the stove. I just have to clean up my mess. Besides, she won’t come out of her office for at least an hour. She just filled up her coffee mug 10 minutes ago, remember?”

Coffee just about the only reason Tiernan’s mom emerged from the office. Her oversized mug, probably more appropriate for a hearty soup than a cup of coffee, was never more than an arm’s reach away and never empty for more than a few seconds. The automatic coffee maker always had a pot on.

The marshmallow done to perfection, Marla carefully positioned it on a graham cracker and topped it with a few chocolate chips and a second cracker. “Ummm, perfect. Need some milk,” she said, sputtering cracker crumbs.

“No milk,” Tiernan said. “All we have is water.”

“Ugh, no thanks.”

“I know. My mom will probably have my dad get some on his way home from work tonight.” Tiernan tossed a few chocolate chips into her mouth and then said, “What about coffee?”

“Does your mom let you drink coffee?”

“It never really came up, but she probably wouldn’t mind. What’s the big deal anyway?”

“Well, my mom doesn’t let me drink it.”

“Marla, we are nearly twelve. Tons of kids our age drink coffee already. I know for a fact that Lisa Del Rio drinks coffee every morning. And you know that mug that Willy drinks “diet Coke” out of every morning at the bus stop? Coffee!”

“No way.”

“I heard it straight from Sophie who heard it from Zach and he knows because Willy let him have a drink last Tuesday.”

“I don’t know.” Marla said. “It doesn’t even smell very good. It’s like something is burning.”

“Would my mom drink the stuff 24/7 if it didn’t taste good? Besides, people have coffee with their dessert all the time. It’s like, the thing to do. It will go perfectly with the s’mores.” Tiernan said. “We don’t have to have a whole cup, but let’s at least taste it. We can be coffee sisters!” She added excitedly.

“Coffee sisters?”

“You know, like blood sisters.”


“Of course it’s gross, that is why we are going to drink coffee instead.”

There was a pause and Tiernan thought she’d made her case until Marla said, “You are not making sense. Blood sisters trade blood…that is what makes them sisters. You know…a little prick on your fingers, then you smoosh them together--blood sisters. Drinking coffee is nothing like becoming blood sisters.

“Then we will drink each other’s coffee,” Tiernan said.

Marla gave her a blank stare.

“You fix up a coffee for me and I’ll fix up a coffee for you. Look,” she opened the fridge, “we have cream and we can add a little sugar too, you know, to make it taste better. Then you drink mine and I’ll drink yours. Coffee sisters.

Tiernan didn’t even wait for Marla’s approval. She climbed up on the counter to reach the mugs on the very top shelf and quickly had two cups of coffee poured.

“Don’t you think we should taste it first,” Marla suggested, “just to see what it tastes like “black?”

“Good idea.” Tiernan handed a mug to Marla and took the other one for herself. She looked at Marla with her scrunched up nose. “It doesn’t smell that bad.” She tilted the mug to her lips, blew just a little, in case it was too hot, and took a sip.

“So?” Marla asked.

“Just try it.”

“What did it taste like?”

“I’ll tell you what I thought after you taste it. Now drink!”

Tiernan thought for a second that Marla was going to chicken out, but then with a quick slurp, Marla drank.

“Ewww, that is so disgusting!” Marla said.

“Well, obviously. Most people don’t drink it like that.” Tiernan said. “That’s why we are going to put stuff in it.”

“You really think that will make it any better?”

“It can’t get worse.”

Marla and Tiernan added sugar and cream to their coffees and stirred it until each turned a rich caramel color. Marla slid her mug across the counter to Tiernan and Tiernan handed her cup to Marla.

“OK coffee sister, here we go.” Marla said. Each took a healthy gulp and turned to face the other, mouth full, refusing to swallow.

Tiernan was first the reach the sink where she spit the coffee then turned the faucet on and drank right out of the sink to get the taste out of her mouth. Marla wasn’t far behind and spit, most landing in the sink, but some landing in Tiernan’s curly hair.

“Maybe we didn’t add enough sugar?” Tiernan suggested as a drop of coffee dripped onto her shoulder.

“I put in 4 spoonfulls.” Marla said.

“I put in 6. Maybe we should try something else. You know how those people at the coffee shop sprinkle cinnamon and add chocolate. There has got to be a reason people drink this stuff.”

They reclaimed their mugs and Marla grabbed spices from the cupboard while Tiernan raided the fridge for ice cream toppings, jam, and a questionable tub of Cool Whip.

“Don’t over do it on the ginger,” Marla complained. “It’s supposed to taste good, remember.”

“I know what I’m doing. It’s not like I put in 2 spoons full of apricot jam.” She glared at Marla. “And don’t think I didn’t see the pickle juice too.”

“What? I did not put in pickle juice. Gross!”

“You didn’t even put the pickles back…they are right there!” Tiernan said, pointing.

“Well, if I did put in a little pickle juice, it was just a tiny bit, and I thought the acid in the juice would off-set the overly sweet taste. I saw something about it on Food Network. I was trying to make it good. Besides, I saw you stir pepper into my coffee.”

“Pepper! Not even close. It was nutmeg? They use it all the time at the coffee shop.”

“Not a whole tablespoon of nutmeg. Besides, I’m pretty sure it was pepper.”

“You wouldn’t even know what a tablespoon of pepper looked like.” Tiernan said, holding a large measuring spoon in one hand and grabbing the tin of pepper with the other.”

“You wouldn’t dare.” Said Marla.

“Like you said, I’m just trying to make it taste good. I saw it on Food Network.” She sang, mockingly, and dumped the pepper into the coffee.

Marla stared, open mouthed at the mug in Tiernan’s hands, a dusty layer of pepper laying unincorporated on top of the coffee. Marla opened the fridge and grabbed a bottle of yellow mustard, turned it over the mug and squeezed. For what seemed like 20 seconds, a thin line of yellow dropped into the depths of the mug while the level of the coffee rose visibly.

Tiernan retaliated silently by squirting ketchup into the mug in front of her. She stirred briskly and tapped the spoon smartly on the edge of the mug and gave Marla a sarcastic smile.

Marla added a generous dash of salt, orange juice and chopped garlic while Tiernan shook in 9 drops of red hot pepper sauce and a few squirts of lemon juice. Finally, they both reached for the sorry looking tub of Cool Whip.

“How long has this been in your fridge?” Marla said.

“I don’t know. We don’t use Cool Whip very often. I think we got it for Thanksgiving last year.”

“You were at your aunt’s for Thanksgiving last year.”

“Oh, right. Well, those coffee shop people always top their fanciest coffees with whipped cream, so this will just have to do.” Tiernan took the plastic top off the Cool Whip to reveal thick lumps sliding around in yellow liquid.

“Isn’t it supposed to be white?” Marla asked.

“Actually, I think this is exactly how they do it on Food Network.” Tiernan took her spoon and scooped out a big lump of yellow stuff and let it slide off her spoon, right into the coffee.

“I think you’re right,” Marla said as she added her yellowy clump to her own cup. “Totally gourmet.”

“So, here you go,” Marla said, pushing her mug across the counter towards Tiernan.

“And her you go,” said Tiernan doing the same.

Both girls examined the concoction sitting in front of them. “I’m not drinking this,” Marla said.

“Oh yes you are.” said Tiernan.

“No way.”

“Coffee Sisters,” said Tiernan and she took the mug to her lips and threw back her head, swallowing.

“I can’t believe you just did that!” Marla said. “That must have tasted disgusting.

“Coffee Sisters.” Tiernan replied, looking a little green if truth be told.

Marla took her mug, and plugged her nose. “I can’t believe I’m doing this,” she said, then took a quick gulp followed by a hasty swallow. Marla looked up at Tiernan who was smiling, despite the odd coloring to her face which suggested that smiling was maybe not her first thought.

Marla’s eyes widened. “What?” Tiernan asked. “What’s wrong?”

“I think I’m gonna….”

“No, don’t say it. You’re going to make me…”

Marla ran for the sink but Tiernan made it first and just in time as all mustard, pickle juice, cream, sugar and awful coffee came back up.

“Now that is disgusting.” Tiernan said, still leaning over the sink. “Hey, what’s in my hair?” She said, standing up again.

“I think you’re going to need a shower, Coffee Sister.” Marla said wiping her mouth. “And I think I’ll have that glass of water now.”


Erika and Ryan said...

Gross! Especially the yellow cool whip-LOL!

Marah said...

Did this really happen? Because I could totally picture this happening, exactly the way you said!

Heather said...

This is great! :) I think it's so wonderful that you are trying to do more writing--like my mom said, you could EASILY be the next (better :) Stephanie Meyer.

Afton said...

This is not a true story although there are elements of truth to it. I used to roast marshmallows over the stove top while I was on my mission in Alaska.

Also, when I was in HS I did a coffee experiment similar to this one, although all I added was increasing amounts of sugar and cream. I never got it to a point where I found it tolerable, let alone tempting.

Debbie said...

So Funny! It's 7 am here and I was having a lot of trouble not laughing out loud because greg's still sleeping!!! Great story!