While I stand next to the kitchen counter listening to the coffeemaker percolate, Fleegle ambles in from the backyard, followed closely by his blond shadow, Franny.
“I recognize that smell,” he says. “I thought you quit drinking that stuff.”
“What smell?” Franny asks. “You mean that burning smell?”
“I used to drink coffee but I quit,” I say to Franny.
Fleegle sits and looks up at me. “Green tea just not doing it for you, eh? You should try chewing the bark off of a stick.”
Franny tilts her head to the side. “What’s coffee?”
Fleegle glances at her. “I don’t really know. He never shares it. But I bet it taste like chocolate.”
“What’s chocolate taste like?”
“I’ve never had it except in my dreams but I know it’s good.”
“How do you know that?”
“Because he hogs it all for himself and doesn’t even let me lick the bowl.”
“Not even the spoon?” she asks.
“Have you tried threatening to pee in his bed?”
Fleegle tilts his head at her. “Why would I do that? That’s where I sleep.”
“You don’t actually do it, you just make him think you’ll do it.”
I look down at Franny, trying to remember if Fleegle was ever this devious as a puppy. “Hey, Franny, do you hear that?” I say very excitedly. Her ears perk up. “Squirrels!” I half shout.
And off the two of them go, but Fleegle stops half way out the door and turns around. “I’m not falling for that. The bird feeder has been empty for weeks and the squirrels are taking their meals in someone else’s yard.”
“I’ll fill the feeder for you today after my coffee.”
“You said coffee was bad for you. I distinctly remember you pacing the house in the middle of the night saying, ‘never again will I drink coffee’.”
“I’ve written nothing but ‘to do’ lists since I quit drinking coffee, not a single short story, not even a poem or a joke.”
“You blame your writer’s block on green tea?”
I nod. “Yep. The coffee is the reward I get for writing and green tea just isn’t much of a biscuit for me.”
Franny wags her tail. “Writer’s block? Is that something I can chew on because I really need to chew on something right now.” She grabs Fleegle’s back leg in her mouth. “Wait, did he just say biscuit?” she says with his foot still in her mouth.
Fleegle ignores her, trying to shake his leg loose from the grip of her sharp little teeth. “But why is coffee not bad anymore?”
“The truth is I say a lot of things and sometimes I get it wrong.”
He finally gets his leg loose. “Ah, I get it, the truth is negotiable. So just how many biscuits did it take to bend the truth about coffee?”
The coffeemaker finishes percolating. I grab a mug and pour. “Well, in my case, it’s two sugars and a splash of cream,” I say with a smile.
* * *
Anyone else also have their writing habits linked to a specific drink or ritual?