Beet-Nick and his Daddy-O owned a far-out coffee shop/poetry house on the corner of Groovy and Happenin' Way. Business hadn't been going well since the grand opening of the newest link in the big coffee chain across the street. It seems people would rather drink cardboard-tasting lattés in an upbeat setting than sip a hot mocha in a laid-back underground poetry lounge.
Realizing that they could never compete with the ever-expanding Barstucks chain, Beet-Nick and Daddy-O decided to close their cool little place and surrender to society's desire for overpriced name-brand drinks. The only item in the store worth selling was the espresso machine that had been in the family for five generations.
"Nick, go to the pawn shop, man, and trade this espresso machine that has been in the family for five generations. Bet you get a hundred bucks for it," Daddy-O said as he thrust the machine into his son's hands and pushed him out the door. "And stay clear of dark figures wearing large hats and trench coats!"
Beet-Nick hurried out into the dark streets lit only by a few street lamps. He knew that his family would be living in a cardboard box if he didn't sell the antique.
"Psst, hey, kid," a shadowy figure wearing a large hat and trench coat whispered from a dark alleyway. "Wanna buy some magic coffee beans?" The man opened up his coat to reveal a large quantity of packaged coffee beans. "One cup brewed from these babies and you'll be awake for the rest of your life."
"Far out!" Nick exclaimed. "What kind you got?"
"Well, there's mocha, java, mocha java, java vanilla, java French vanilla, mocha java latté swirl, double-shot espresso, cappuccino, mocha cappuccino, java mocha latté cappuccino, decaf, or regular."
"I'll just take the java. How much do I owe you? I'm a little short on cash at the moment," Beet-Nick told the shadowy figure, turning out his empty pockets.
"It just so happens that they cost as much as that antique espresso machine, which I assume has been in your family for five generations." The man tossed the beans at Nick, snatched up the machine, and ran back into the dark alley.
Nick couldn't wait to show his dad what he had bought.
"You sold the antique espresso machine that has been in our family for five generations for what? That doesn't even make sense! Why would we need to stay awake for the rest of our lives?" Daddy-O shouted at Nick. "You couldn't buy a magic house, or magic money maker, or magic grocery store. No, you had to go and buy magic java beans!"
Daddy-O grabbed the beans and threw them out the back window. He sent Beet-Nick to his room and stormed out to get a Crazy Cappuccino from the Barstucks across the street.
Nick woke two hours later to a terrible rumbling. He looked out and stared at a huge java stalk. It twisted and turned and grew leaves and giant java beans as it pushed its way into the heavens.
"That shadowy figure with the large hat and trench coat was right, those beans are magical!" Beet-Nick gasped as he inspected the stalk. "I wonder what's at the top."
Nick decided to take his stupidity to new heights by climbing into the sky with no ropes or harnesses to keep him from falling to his doom. He hopped from one leaf to the next. What could be at the top? A big flower? A mega coffee bean? The moon? Higher and higher he climbed until he finally reached his goal. The clouds became so thick he was able to stand on them without falling through. The view was amazing. There were tree-shaped clouds everywhere. He was in a clearing in front of a giant lava lamp cloud, topped by a giant playing a pair of golden bongos!
The music was heaven to the ears. It was like sipping hot cocoa on a cold winter night, taking a long walk on the beach, and meeting Oprah all rolled into one joyous experience. He had to get those bongos.
By nightfall, the giant stopped playing and came down from atop the lava lamp, carrying the bongos. The giant placed the drums beneath a large cumulus tree and wandered into the forest. Nick grabbed the drums and ran back toward the java stalk.
"Fee, fi, fo, kick! I smell the feet of a boy name Beet-Nick!" the giant shrieked from somewhere in the woods.
Beet-Nick scrambled down the java stalk. He could hear the pounding as the giant's feet hit the ground. The sound was getting closer and closer. By the time Nick was on solid ground, the giant had started to make its way down the stalk toward earth. Nick had to do something, and fast.
On the wall, Nick found a conveniently located IN CASE OF FIRE axe. He shattered the glass, took out the axe and started to swing at the java stalk.
The giant was almost at the bottom. Chop! Chop! Chop! Nick swung the axe with all his might. Just one more blow.
Timber! The stalk and the giant came tumbling toward the earth. Shadows eclipsed the city. Everyone stopped to watch the enormous plant and man fall toward their town.
Kersplat! Everyone perished.
The moral: Too much coffee is bad for you.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.