Story over a cup: Calculating the corners between here and caffeine

Published 8:11 pm Saturday, November 17, 2018

By Michael Cole

I hate shopping.

Even worse than shopping on a regular day, I loathe any shopping trip after Halloween.

This particular shopping trip I despised more for the simple reason is that I was in mourning.

My beloved coffee pot had died.

I did not think that my heart could take much more pain than the sound of a glass pot shattering into pieces that could not be reassembled..(I tried.).

Then I realized that I would have to suffer a holiday shopping trip to find a new decanter for my pot.

Oh, the humanity.

But I would be brave. Mr. Coffee would have insisted that I go on.

So as Celine Dion softly sings My Heart Will go on, I began devising my shopping plan.

Yes, folks, I design a shopping plan.

I was staring at the map of Wal-Mart coming up with my line of attack.

I was dressed in combat shopping fatigues and had my face paint on.

This mission was better planned than Normandy or Desert Storm.

I had it mapped all out.

At precisely 1100 hrs I would exit my vehicle parked in a handicap spot. That would be followed by a mad sprint for the Garden Center doors. Immediately upon entering, I would dive behind the gardening plants and then crawl on the floor until I reached the door.

I would be using a tomato plant for cover.

Once at the door, I would grab a buggy that had been strategically parked next to the artificial trees. (I am not sure why, but there is always an unoccupied buggy there.)

I would then create a distraction by changing the price of an action alley item and in the melee created by shoppers to purchase the $6.99 7ft Christmas Tree, I would make my way to the clothing section.

There I would slip into a disguise of an old man in a robe and house shoes.

I would snap and use the term “In my day…” periodically to throw any suspicion off.

At approximately 1125 hours, I would arrive in housewares and proceed immediately for my goal of the replacement coffee decanter. Find said object, then hijack a pallet and pallet jack to make my way to the check out lanes.

I would prefer a self-checkout lane and was prepared to fight for a spot.

So now as the music was playing the theme from Rambo, I was adding last minute gear.

And off I went.

On my way to the store, I stopped by a drive-thru to buy a large coffee. He would be my wingman on this invasion.

I called him Charlie and he had my back.

So I parked in the parking lot, with two minutes to spare. Did a last minute weapon’s check on myself and Charlie.

My phone timer dinged and so we exited the vehicle and stormed the parking lot in a manner that would make the Marines proud.

All was going well. The tomato plant offered great concealment, and the buggy was there as planned.

The diversion started a deathmatch between two old ladies and I was well on my way to the clothing section.

I found the robe and slippers, I put Charlie in a pocket and headed off to housewares.

Everyone I passed, I gave the same answer, “Nothing to see here, just an average ordinary customer shopping. These are not the droids you are looking for.

Move along.

Finally, at my destination, I began alternating between sipping my coffee and finding a new coffee decanter.

What the heck!

I saw that the decanters were more expensive than a new coffee machine.

In the confusion and the anger, my coffee cup slipped out of my hand.

I remember every second in slow motion as Charlie fell to the ground..


I screamed, “Charlie! They got Charlie!!”

I fell to my knees in anguish, holding the empty and lifeless cup in my hands. I was wondering how I could face his wife, Instant Coffee, and his three little Keurig cup children.

He had only begun to brighten my day with his caffeinated goodness.

I looked up and through my teary eyes saw two Wal-Mart employees just staring at me.

I knew that after all was said and done, I would not abort my mission. I would complete the mission.

Semper Fi, good buddy. I will toss back a hot one for you.

So now I sit at home, a new coffee pot in hand, and a warning from Wal-mart Management to please refrain from screaming in the store.


Michael Cole is a syndicated columnist that when he is not writing, he is plotting global domination. You can follow him at