Cheerio: Blues Big Coffee

by Ted Taylor

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It had to happen during rainy season. She told you that she was getting married, and you'd had no idea whatsoever that she had something going on the side. And it just had to happen during rainy season. This time of year, you always feel so hemmed in, the clouds like a lid over the city, the air much too tactile. You think you're going to be sick and go quickly into the bathroom and kneel in front of the bowl. Nothing comes. You're zoning out, still stunned, staring at the Rorschach patterns of mold on the tiled walls. She always joked about that, about how you never cleaned it because you thought the fungus had some sort of anti-biotic effect and kept you healthy. Now these same walls are hemming you in. You gotta get out.

You brush past your neighbor on the stairs, barely registering as she says something about the color of your face. You make it onto the street and walk awhile. The sky is clearing some, but the damp still hangs heavy around you. You wait for a signal to change, then cross the street and find yourself before a ridiculously colorful vending machine. It says "Cherrio" on the side, which brings an ironic smirk to your lips. You want something cold. You push a coin through the slot, and hit a button under a can of Blues Big Coffee.


You can really relate, man. Under the logo is a guy blowing a horn — maybe Louis Armstrong — and surrounding him are the words, "High Quality Enjoy Coffee." A contradiction, you think, between enjoyment and the blues. But this town has never had a shortage of contradictions. The can's design, too, is far from bluesy, with colored stripes like the backdrop to some Monkees video. But the Monkees got the blues too sometimes. And as you pop the top and take a sip, you remember their prophecy:

"And I will drink my coffee slow,
And I will watch my shadow grow,
And disappear in firelight,
And sleep alone again tonight."

Ted Taylor works in Kyoto as a writer and yoga teacher, essentially twisting words and human bodies. He aspires to make balloon animals someday. More of his writing can be found at

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