OP-ED: Story Over a Cup: In search of the lost topic

Published 7:40 am Wednesday, July 21, 2021

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Michael Cole
Story Over A Cup

I hate it when writing runs cold. When you have the perfect topic and for a couple sentences the topic writes itself and then…

Nothing. The ideas on the topic just run cold.

Probably worse than writer’s block and almost as bad as the man-flu. Well, let’s not get carried away.

So, I had this topic idea: “The great popcorn war of 1988”

See, my dad loved popcorn. Every evening it seemed like he was popping some before watching whatever show was on. But, you see this was 1988 and my Dad also liked using his large air popper whose sound is louder than a jet engine.

My mom, however, despised the machine, loathing loud noises of any kind.

Little did either side know, the gathering clouds of war were descending on the house.

And from there, I was going to get into some of the encounters of that war.

But, the topic had gone cold.

So, what would appear but a wild topic.

Be weary, weary, quiet. I’m hunting topics…

There I was, he was glaring into my eyes. I glared right back.

The noon sun was beating down on us. You could cut the tension with a knife.

My arm slowly made its way to my hip.

His stare hardened.

I could feel the beating on my heart. I knew I had but one chance.

My hands firmly at my sides.

Our eyes intently locked into a deathly stare.

And he was off. My dog, Roswell, knew something was up when I approached him.

He may not have immediately detected his heart medication, but he knew somehow.

Roswell was off and running and this was no longer a hostage standoff, but a criminal pursuit.

And, the topic is cold.

Drat, this one was getting good.


I could see what the secret topic vault has. It is here, after all, for just such emergencies.

I put on my jacket, grab my fedora, and notepad.

(Overlay of map with montage of plane, ship, and car travel scenes while our hero approaches the scene of the topic vault.)

Our hero enters a darkened chamber. Dust and cobwebs adorn the walls. You then see scurrying creatures on the floor as he approaches a huge locked metal door.

As he reaches the door he is greeted by an older gentleman.

“I am the knight set to protect the treasures that are the topic vault. And why have you come here today?”

“I seek a topic for a column.”

“One does not just come to the vault and receive a topic. You must pass a test.”

A grueling task, a daunting task, a life-threatening challenge. Are you ready?

The hero nodded.

Then answer me this riddle?

Some like me hot, some like me cold, some like me mild, some like me bold…I am?

Our hero smiles, and then answers.

And the topic is cold.


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