WOAW Fiction- The Coffee Ban

Below is the beginning of a short story I started writing some time ago. I thought I’d share the first few pages where I introduce the characters to see if you wanted to read more. It’s simple– just my goofy attempt at satire. Hope you enjoy!

The Coffee Ban

DAY ONE: Columbus, Ohio

Sarah watched a “special report” banner dance across her television screen and wondered what news could be so important to interrupt Ellen.

“We have a special announcement from the President,” the newscaster stated.

Sarah’s husband, Stan, stood next to her as they watched the President walk to the podium.

Five minutes later, they stared in shock at the television. The President interrupted Ellen to announce that a permanent coffee ban would be put into place the next day. No new coffee would be imported into or sold in the United States, possibly the world, due to “biological contamination.” Coffee on the shelves today would be the last supply until further notice.

“Of all the ridiculous things,” Sarah muttered to herself. “A coffee ban?”

When she realized that Stan was no longer beside her, she called his name. “Stan?”

She turned and saw that Stan wasn’t listening. Sarah watched him zip his parka and fiddle with his keys.

“Where are you going?” she asked.

“To buy us some coffee.”

DAY TWO: East Windsor, New Jersey

Nicole drove her minivan to the drive thru line for the donut shop, her four boys strapped into their car seats behind her. She counted the cars in front of her, but couldn’t see beyond number ten.

“Mommy, I want a donut,” said Matthew, the oldest. The younger kids bombarded her with various versions of “me too.”

“I want my coffee, too,” she answered. “We have to be patient.” She struggled to stop her voice from shaking.

A coffee ban? Didn’t the government care about mothers? she thought. I work, I pay my taxes, I take care of my kids. All I ask for in return is a decent cup or two of coffee a day. She mentally took inventory of her dwindling home supply and cursed herself for not rationing better.

The boys rustled anxiously behind her. “Calm down little ones,” she said, the tone of her voice begging them to be quiet.

DAY TWO: Los Angeles, California

Marnie was going crazy behind the counter at the cafe. Since the announcement of the ban days before, the shop had been packed with customers. The cafe was just about sold out of everything. In fact, the whole country was pretty much sold out, yet customers thought she had a hidden stash.

“Please,” begged a man at the counter. “Can you check in the back for me? Don’t you have any inventory? Anything?”

“I’m sorry,” Marnie said. The rejected customer looked like he was going to cry as he turned and walked away.

Marnie rolled her eyes. “Next!” she called. “Non-coffee orders only!” She couldn’t wait until she was a famous actress and could afford to quit the cafe.  People were really starting to annoy her.

DAY THREE: Washington, D.C.

The President walked down the hallway to the Oval Office, flanked by various assistants and officials, and her husband, Joe.

“Really, Carolyn? This coffee ban is still in effect?”

“Please, Joe. The Secretary of Agriculture . . .”

“I know, I know. Contamination. Worldwide. Whatever. Can’t somebody fix it?”

They entered the Oval Office and President James sat at her desk. She automatically reached for her coffee cup, as Joe pushed his iPad in front of her. Of course, her coffee cup was exactly where she expected it to be. Filled with water. She took a sip and grimaced, refraining from spitting it out.

“I guess we are out now, too,” she said.

Joe didn’t respond. Instead, he pointed to his iPad where he had live-streamed footage of the crowds at the supermarkets and coffee shops, clearing the shelves of any type of coffee they could get their hands on. One news outlet showed a processing plant dumping barrels and barrels of coffee beans into incinerators. Watching the shiny brown beans tumble out of the barrel, Carolyn could almost smell the scent of the dark roast as it slid into the fire.

She moved the iPad away and gathered the folders set out on her desk. “What do you want me to do, Joe? Let everyone drink contaminated coffee?”

“We let them smoke carcinogenic cigarettes,” he huffed, as aides and assistants puttered around the Oval Office setting up for the day.

Carolyn rubbed her eyes. “We all drive dangerous cars, too, and take other risks with our lives. This isn’t a risk anymore, it’s a fact. That’s why it’s different from cigarettes. If cigarettes had a deadly bug in them, they’d be banned too.”

“That’s shaky logic, Carolyn.”

“It will just take a couple of days. You’ll see. Everyone will calm down and it will all be okay,” Carolyn said in her best campaign voice. It was the same voice she used to entice people to vote for her the year before. “It’s just coffee for goodness sake.”

Did I capture your interest? If so, I’ll keep sharing. If not, we can pretend this never happened. Of course, constructive criticism is welcome. Thanks for reading, and have a nice night!

22 Comments

  1. That seemed like a horror novel! Coffee ban!? Eeek.

    Although, I did attend an environmental conference a couple weeks ago, and I was saddened to learn that one of the water pollutants actually came from caffeine that was running off from coffee farms. You can take away Coca-Cola, greasy fries, and 5 mpg trucks… but I’m not sure my environmental commitment supports taking away coffee (yet)

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  2. Ha, I’m actually a tea drinker, so this doesn’t seem so nightmarish to me as it would to some of the other readers! I know of a few friends who can’t live without the stuff and would get the jitters if they didn’t have their morning elixir!🙂

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  3. OK, just took the time to read. It sounds almost like a HORROR story, a ban on coffee!?? That may surely be the end of all of us! I like how you start the story with Sarah. The story appears like a good introduction to a coffee ban. And we really don’t know why? Apparently, we find out later that coffee is ‘contaminated’.

    Ok, so you ask for constructive ciritism.

    1. I would develop the characters a little more. I would like to know more about Sarah , her life, etc. Describe their characteristics, develop them as a character and introduce your audience to these characters.
    2. We don’t get much as far as knowing this president, His name is James? Nothing much more than that. The cabinet, Joe, Carolyn. Carolyn has made the decision to ban the coffee. ( I understand your following up on the story of course).
    3. There is no setting. What year? Where, etc.

    I think the writing is great! Very concise and to the point. These are just some surface things that I see. All good novels or stories will start with developing a setting, a feel for what is going on, etc. Great start! I hope that helps. I’m ready for more!!

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  4. This sounds like more of a horror story to me than a zombie apocalypse. Corporations would melt down over the caffine withdrawl, and the social interaction that revolves around coffee drinking would wither away. I would call in sick just to avoid the people in my office. Definitely.

    And I can totally identify with the NJ mom begging her kids to hang on just a little longer, to please, please, please don’t lose it in the car right now.

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  5. Pingback: WOAW Fiction – The Coffee Ban (Part 2) | Waiting on a Word

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