While at Folk State University to cover the bloody campaign trails left by the nominees for Student Body Whisperer, one of our reporters glimpsed something strange. Richard Tomson, a junior pursuing his undergrad in English, was spotted slipping inside an otherwise forsaken broom closet in the west campus library last Tuesday. The closet, tucked behind the 1100 section of the non-fiction archives (Hidden Histories & Invisible Presidents), revealed Tomson, seated in a saggy director’s chair, sipping peacefully on a Styrofoam cup filled with a milky brown liquid: medium roast coffee with two sugars and hazelnut creamer. The yellowbelly’s beverage.
“I come here at least once a day now,” he admitted upon being discovered. “I tried to like black coffee, but I just can’t take it anymore.”
Richard reported that the only coffee he drank for his first full year at Folk was pitch black and of the “thick, mucky yucky” variety. “I knew three things coming in as an English major. That I’d be told by every adult I met that I would never get a job with my degree, that my senior thesis would be research on the works of Hubert Colley, the 8th Invisible President, and that I would drink black coffee.”
But the java love story was about to turn around faster than the ninth minute of Up.
“It is just, listen, it’s wretched,” Tomson choked up, recalling that first bold roasted year. “Anyone who says they like black coffee is lying. What are we trying to prove? That we hate ourselves? Guess what? People already know that! We’re English majors!”
Scattered around the repurposed broom closet were some of Tomson’s personal affects. A plastic cowboy hat he wore to a party once “as a joke”, an old TV/VCR combo he claims was already there, and a mini-fridge that whirred atomically, housing the assortment of specialty creamers he’s acquired for his hidden indulgences.
“I’m a total creamer whore now,” Tomson gushed, eyeing the fridge. “When they came out with a seasonal creamer with a hint of gingerbread, I butt chugged 2 bottles of it even though I hate gingerbread. I have four different brands of salted caramel. I can’t even tell the difference.”
The lying, he says, is the hardest part. “All my peers still think I drink it black. One time they ordered for me at that place on the south side, Mercedes Beanz: Luxury Joe, so I had to drink it. The lies are out of control. My name’s not even Richard! It’s Greg!”
“I didn’t even want to be an English major,” Richard confided in Eritas, “I just put that down when I enrolled because I thought it would help me articulate a catchy slogan for my line of homemade lip balm.” He says he was successful in this attempt, penning the slogan, “You’re going to really, really enjoy using this.” But by then he was in too deep.
“I just want the deception to be over,” Richard wept. “I’m not cut out for this life. I never even read The Bell Jar!” He gulped down the last of his basically-just-creamer coffee with this finale of his ill-advised confessions. “I never read The Bell Jar…”
This article was written by Kevin Harrington-Bain. He has met some good dogs, but better dogs are still to be met.