(Art by spoon+fork.)
You know you’re addicted to coffee when the first cup makes you sleepier. The second cup gets you back to where you were. The third cup gives you the gift of speech.
My caffeine habit had become an addiction, though it was born out of counteracting Howard’s weed.
But the real reason why I was drinking so much coffee, according to Howard, was that while I was in prison they were piping drugs into our drinking water to kill our sexual impulses. Otherwise we’d all end up jerking off all the time or tackling each other in the shower. Caffeine was helping to put my body chemistry back to normal.
“If you ever have to go back to jail, don’t drink the water they give you in the cup or from the sink,” Howard said. “Drink water from the toilet tank. They don’t add in anything and it’s still potable water.”
“I’m not drinking from the goddamn toilet. I’m not a dog.”
“Then tell me something. You still getting hard?”
“You want to know stories about my cock, ask your mother.”
Howard scratched at his chest.
“My mom died when I was a kid, Sean,” he said quietly. “I thought you knew.”
“I’m sorry, man. I did know.”
“That was one of the reasons why I got left back. I missed my finals that year.”
“I’m really sorry, Howard.”
“It may be best to stop talking about it now, Sean. I already know you’re sorry.”
“Howard,” I said, “you said something before about looking for a job?”
“I was saying that I know that you’re looking for another job. I can tell.” Howard was leaning against the sink, lightly squeezing a ketchup packet between his palms.
“How can you tell?” I asked. I wasn’t about to explain my midday dope-smoking sessions on the roof. Never give up a good hiding spot.
“Doesn’t make sense for a man to be eating before a lunch break,” said Howard with a smug smile on his face. I smiled back and felt like throwing the rest of my coffee at him.