A Coffee Carol

Ebenezer Sbucks was the biggest snob in the city. He wasn’t rude to his co-workers. He didn’t treat the waiters at the restaurants he visited poorly. Why, he even let the man with the shoe shine kit shine his shoes once a week.

All this is true, but it didn’t matter, because when it came to coffee, there was only one place he would go: the corporate Green Mermaid Shop. Anyone who tried to invite him anywhere else would be coldly turned down. Anyone who wanted to bring their coffee maker into the office would be given the cold shoulder. Any underling who gave him anything other than the Green Mermaid was fired.

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One night, as he was going to bed, he was surprised by a bright light in his room: it was a ghost. The figure was pale and was wearing long chains made from the cardboard cup insulators at the Green Mermaid Shop. Sbucks moaned in fright.

Then the stranger said, “Don’t you know who I am?”

Sbucks looked closer, and said: “Why it’s Marley Seattle, my old boss.”

“I am,” the figure said. “Do you know why I have come to visit you?”

Sbucks shuddered. “You’ve come to see me? Why?”

“I’ve come to warn you! I was the one who taught you to drink homogenized coffee, and I have been suffering all these years for it.”

“But Marley, I didn’t even know you were dead!”

marley

“Dead? I’m not dead! I’m pale from the over-consumption of bad caffeine, and I’m pale from the jitters. But I have been sent on a mission to stop you from suffering the same fate. You were always good to me, sir. And I thank you for it. You are going to be visited by an independent coffee personality. She will come at the stroke of midnight. Watch for her!” Marley then crossed to the window, opened it and jumped out. “Ouch. I forgot that was a second floor room.” He then limped off into the night.

“Bah Humbug.” Sbucks snapped as he closed the door. He turned out the light, and closed the door. Soon after, he was awakened by the cold wind. Before he opened his eyes, he thought to himself, “I could have sworn I closed that window.” He then looked up, and saw a woman before him. She was not pretty, and she was middle-aged. “Who are you?” Sbucks asked.

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The woman smiled sweetly, “I am the personality of coffee growers. I am going to show you how what you drink affects people around the world. Come on, we’ve got to go.”

“Go?” Sbucks gasped. “I can’t go anywhere. I’m in my boxers.”

“It’s no matter,” the woman responded, “It’ll be warm where we’re going, and no one will be able to see you.”

“Well, in that case,” Sbucks sighed, “I’ll get my keys.”

“Keys? nonsense!” The woman laughed, “We’ll be taken there by the wind. Take my hand.” Sbucks did so, and in a rush of wind, they were away. But moments later, they were in an unfamiliar place.

“Where are we?” asked Sbucks.

“We are at a plantation in South America. This is one of the largest plantations that the Green Mermaid owns.” said the woman.

children-coffee-plantationSbucks looked around, at all the people rushing around. Most looked very hungry. Children were among the majority of workers. Many were weighed down by the heavy sacks of coffee beans.

“This is the work of the Green Mermaid.” said the woman. “These people work long hours and have little to eat. Children aren’t schooled.” Sbucks was disappointed that his money was going to such poor conditions. “Come. We’ve got somewhere else to go.”

She took his hand, and they were off again. This time, they landed in another plantation. This one clearly much smaller. A man was working hard in the fields. But there were only a few others with him. No children were seen working. All the men were working hard, but didn’t seem hungry or weak. “This plantation doesn’t look much better.” Sbucks noticed.

“It doesn’t look much better,” the woman said “but this small plantation is owned by the man who works the fields. He has sacrificed so his children can go to school. He hires others and pays them enough so they can feed their families. He does his best to maintain good quality beans. Not too long ago, he was given an award from roasters that his were some of the finest beans in the country. He’s using the money from the award to build.”

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The woman pointed off in the distance. Two small construction projects were going up. One looked to be a house, and the other looked like it was going to be a barn. “He’s employing fifteen men right now, and he’s respected in his community.” The woman bragged. “He doesn’t know it, but in a few years, he’ll be the richest man in his village, and will be able to send his kids to college. Through his hard work, he will be able to employ dozens, and bring better and better coffee to people all over the world.”

“Will the green mermaid have it?” Asked Sbucks.

“No. This coffee never gets there. When the coffee is auctioned, knowledgeable buyers bid for it much higher, so the green mermaid will never have it. But I can see to it that you try this.”

“How can I try it?” asked Sbucks.

“You can go to that little coffee shop in the opposite direction from the Green Mermaid. They’ve been selling it there for months. Take a bag of it back to your office and brew it in your coffee maker. Now it’s time to go.” The woman grabbed his hand once more. A rush of wind caught them up, and a moment later he was in his room. Suddenly exhausted, he dropped to bed.

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He got up the next morning, and shuddered. “What kind of dream was that?” He then went to the bathroom, and where his mirror normally was, was a large picture of that little plantation. The men in the field, the construction in the back. There were even children in school clothes riding away on a make-shift bus. It was all there. Sbucks stared at it, then rubbed his eyes. Suddenly, the picture was gone. Shocked, he got ready, and went to work. He had just sat down at his desk, when his interned, Robby Cratchet knocked.

“Hello Mr. Sbucks. On my way to get some coffee. The regular from the Green Mermaid.”

“Yes. Um, no. Wait a minute, Robby.” Sbucks leaned back and thought about that little coffee store down the other way. “You know what, Robby. Let’s grab a bag of coffee from the coffee shop down the other way and make our own.”

“Really?” Crarchet was surprised. He’d been there, but knowing his boss, he never thought he’d want to go there.”

“Yes, really. I’ve got my coat, let’s go.”

coffee-varieties

After that day, Ebenezer Sbucks made a habit of trying a new flavor of coffee every now and then, and he came to truly enjoy brewing his own. Soon he had tried varieties of coffee from all over the world.

Every now and then, he’d visit the Corporate Green Mermaid, but he soon lost his taste for it. Sometimes he’d take Cratchet with him, and after the internship was over he hired Cratchet full-time. As he grew older, he was there for Cratchet’s wedding and was the first to see the growing family when they had a new brew to try out.

God Bless us with good coffee, everyone!

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