art by ShotHot Design
To Soothe Ravaged Throats
by Allison Jamieson-Lucy
There are six drinks in the World's café. The first is coffee, which is strong enough to lift freight trains and is singlehandedly responsible for the workload in organic chemistry. Only college students who haven't slept in four days, engineers, and those who wish to be "real men" drink the coffee of the café.
The second is ginger-cumin red tea, which has no calories, six essential nutrients, and tastes like amber tapped from backyard tire-swing trees blended delicately with the impact of a middle class on China's economy. Drinking red tea stains the teeth and lips permanently, like a status symbol or an advertisement for beauty.
The third drink is blood. It contains the cobalt blood of crabs, the iron-rich beta-hemoglobin of field mice, the hemolymph of giant sea clams and a thousand other fluids, harvested from circulatory systems across the worlds. There's a stir-stick in the glass, to whisk out the stringy fibrin clots. Perfectly prepared it tastes like freshly minted halfpence.
Next on the list is a blank space, which is the fourth drink. The blind barista will push an empty cup out across the counter. Whichever patron did the ordering sips solemnly at the nothingness, and sometimes smiles, and sometimes frowns, and very occasionally orders another.