Pokka Coffee — "Aromax"

by David Cady

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Greg sometimes got ideas. Rogue thoughts that made him giggle fiercely into his hand on the train. Or cry. Thoughts that made him come very close to telling little old ladies buying tonkatsu that he was not at all well. He was odd to begin with, and living in Japan made him even more so. Some days, he hated the country more than he hated himself. "Who fucking plays pachinko?" he would mutter incredulously at the gibbous moon while pedaling home past the bells and neon. He subsisted primarily on convenience store food, which he stuffed into his tiny mouth without relish while lurking on blogs about Japan. Greg always appeared dismayed. That's because he was.

But Greg was a genius. Those spastic cogitations that alighted like a butterfly upon childhood taunts and cats' asses one day included a revelation involving a science known only to himself as "rotational physics." Shortly after stopping at Kokkaigijidomae station on the Chiyoda line, the image of a great, oscillating device with elongated metal arms joined the rogue's gallery in his brain.


More details appeared: magnetic clamps at the end of the rotating arms, tossing up and catching, forever and at the loss of no energy, a can of coffee. Perpetual motion. A perfect blueprint that induced a fit of giggling so intense and radiating such joy that other passengers joined in after the initial horror passed.

Needing air, he got off the train at Otemachi and with trembling fingers bought a can of Aromax at the nearest vending machine. Four minutes later he was standing above the moat at the Imperial Palace, drinking the coffee and chuckling at the swans below. "Your feet are so comical," Greg said to the nearest bird. It peered up at him and said, "Come on in Greg, the water's great." And so Greg took a final swig, smacked his lips appreciatively and dove in. The can floated back up next to a very dismayed swan, but Greg — and the science of rotational physics — never quite made it.

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