When last we heard from our over-caffeinated heroine, Coffee C.O.P. Officer Valdez had remanded her to the demitasse tank to dry out.
"Demitasse Tank? You're putting me behind bars for a little too much caffeine?" I broke out in a cold sweat -- a sweat that smelled an awful lot like coffee. "I swear it will never happen again! I can control my coffee habit, really! I can quit anytime I want... a blinding headache from caffeine withdrawal. I promise, I'll get help."
"Jail? Who said anything about jail?" Officer Valdez looked confused. "You just need to sit over there in the lounge area and have a muffin and juice to counteract all the caffeine in your system. You've got the coffee jitters so bad you can barely hold your car keys. Jail? Huh, maybe there is a link between caffeine and paranoia."
While I was relieved not to be goin' to the Big House, there was no recalling the shot of adrenaline now coursing through my body. Somewhere along the way it re-ignited the caffeine laying fallow in my veins, mimicking the effects of a triple shot of espresso on an empty stomach. My mind raced like a hamster in a wheel rolling downhill. Images flashed through my head like dream sequences in a Disney Channel show.
"I can beat this," I whispered. "I'll get this java monkey off my back. I'll go straight, just you wait and see." My eyes glazed over as I imagined myself in my very own kitchen, standing in front of a Keurig single-cup coffee maker. I was dressed like Snow White, and animated bluebirds flew around me. Assorted woodland creatures surrounded me as I burst into song:
"Just whistle while you work,
Caffeine is bad, it makes me sad
One cup is quick to perk!"
The room spun and everything grew dark. As the darkness lifted I saw my husband -- my knight in shining armor -- standing in the kitchen doorway, shaking his head sadly. I was on the floor, slouched against the counter by the coffee maker, partially hidden under a pile of used K-cups.
Another fade to black. As action resumed, I was standing on a street corner holding out a Starbuck's cup, begging for money.
"Hey buddy, can you spare a five-spot for a venti Pumpkin Spice Latte? They're only available for a limited time!" I begged. Passersby avoided eye contact and quickened their steps as they approached. Finally a wino stopped and handed me a flask.
"Here you go, kiddo," he said. "It'll help wean ya' off the hard stuff. That demon coffee, it'll ruin your life."
The images swirled once again. As I shook my head I heard a familiar voice calling my name.
"Hey Jo! Long time no see!" Barbara the Barista was standing by the espresso machine, wiping down the steam wand.
I looked around and realized I was standing in the doorway of the coffee shop. Officer Valdez was no where to be seen, and the plaster was firmly stuck to the wall where it belonged.
"Are you alright? You look like you could use a latte," Barbara said.
"Uh, yeah. I mean no. NO! I mean, I think I'll just have some herbal tea," I replied weakly.
Barbara looked surprised.
Who am I kidding? I thought.
"Naaah, make that a mocha, please. Extra foam. MO-CHA, mocha mocha!"