(a long overdue entry from Preston – Timothy)

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Right click > Open in new tab.

This is an action I know well.

I scanned the top of my screen, reading the titles of all the browser tabs I had open.  There were ten of them.  Two for work, two for social media, four were from links clicked in social media, one was a YouTube page, and the final one said something about a new breed of cat discovered in Trinidad and Tobago.

Frankly, I wasn’t even sure where that last tab came from.

And I didn’t know how long I had been doing this.  I’ll just wait for my coffee to cool down, I had said to myself.

I looked at the brown, speckled mug adjacent to my laptop.  I no longer saw steam rising from it like the bubbling waters of a hot spring.  Surely it was ready to drink now.  I had waited diligently.  Or distracted-ly, more so.

I picked up the cup by the handle, minding not to touch the base of the cup.

“Did you mean to say iced-coffee?” Katie, the barista, had said when I ordered.

“Nope.  I want it hot and strong, like my dream version of myself,” I replied.

“But you always get iced coffee.  Even in the winter.  Even that day it was -15.”

“I want to switch it up today,” I said, rubbing my forehead impatiently.

She scrunched her mouth like she tended to do when she didn’t believe someone.  “Why?  Did someone tell you iced-coffee isn’t the cool thing anymore?”

“No, I said.  I just want to do something different.  I’ve been stuck on this part in my screenplay, and I’m trying to do things differently so I can get some different results.  Don’t you know the definition of insanity?”

“Yes, of course,” she said, nodding her head sharply.  “Insanity is a spectrum of abnormal mental and behavioral patterns that often result in a person being a danger to themselves and/or those around them.”

I opened my mouth to speak, pausing quickly, resulting in a soft squeak emerging from my throat.  “Okay, yes, that’s technically true.  But that’s not what I….I meant that…you know, just give me the coffee.”

She went back and poured the steaming, dark liquid from one of the large dispensers behind her.

“Careful,” she said, setting it before me.  “Extra hot today.”

I picked the mug up from the handle, raising it to her.  “Thanks.  I have been working out.”

She rolled her eyes.

“Specifically my thighs and glutes.”

She walked away, and I realized that despite holding the handle, the cup was burning my ring finger that was resting against the base.

Holding it now, I no longer felt the heat on any of my fingers.  It had to be safe to drink now.  Raising towards my face, I stopped short of my mouth.

But what if it’s cold?

Lukewarm coffee is, of course, the lowest form that coffee can take.  Had I waited too long for the right moment to drink it?  I stared into the still, black substance inside.

Drink too soon, and I harm myself.  Drink too late, and it loses all of its appeal.  The window for drinkable hot coffee was a narrow one.  Throwing caution aside, I raised the cup to my lips.  The smallest bit of warm remained in the rim, and I was hopeful.  I tilted back and let the coffee pour over my tongue.  My face tightened suddenly, eyelids drawn back, and my hand tilted the mug back away from my mouth.

Cold.  It had gone cold.

Regretfully, I swallowed the coffee I had taken it, and I scowled in disgust.  Setting the mug back down, I pushed it to the far corner of the table.  The coffee was now dead to me.

Attempting to refocus, I closed out my ten browser tabs, willfully acknowledging that I was likely to never discover the origins of Trinidad and Tobago’s mysterious new feline.  I opened up my screenplay, and scrolled to where I last left off.

Then I simply sat, staring at the page for a solid 15 minutes, attempting to remember where I was going with this particular scene.  I knew I had been heading somewhere.  I was on a particular hot streak when I wrote the previous pages.  Why I chose to pause, well, I couldn’t remember that either.  All trails had gone….

“Are you done with this?” I heard Katie say.

I looked up to see her hovering over my abandoned mug of cold despair.

“Yep,” I said harshly, the taste of the bitter beverage still on my breath.

“But it’s practically full,” she said, lifting it up.

“It went cold.  I waited too long.  Nothing I can do with it now.”

She pointed back to the counter.  “You know we have microwaves, right?  Give me a minute or two, and I’ll be back with that hot and strong coffee you wanted so badly.”

Before I could protest, she was gone.  I shrugged and put my hands back on my laptop.  For a moment, I thought about opening my browser back up while I waited.  I mean, what could be so different about those cats?

Instead, I brought my cursor back to the end of where I left off, and started typing the first things that came to my head.

Felix – I thought we’d seen every kind of Nevari scum out there.  But this, this is something different.  A new breed.

Jerimus –  A new breed, huh?  (He cocks his gun) Let’s see if they bleed the same.

The two men turn around the corner, and a glorious battle ensues.