The Coffee Protocol

Short Story: The Coffee Protocol

Today, I’d like to share a short story on the blog. Although I don’t drink coffee, I’m have several friends who do. This story is dedicated to the memory of Amber J. Hill’s coffee maker, the inspiration for this story, which reputedly caused a bit of havoc in the Hill household when it broke.

Also, I thought it would be a good exercise to write a story with only dialogue (well, almost), since writing dialogue is not my forte but is kind of necessary for writing fiction. 😀 But mostly, I just wrote this for fun. It has a very quirky humor that I had fun writing. Enjoy!

The Coffee Protocol

Let us set the scene. A young technician and his supervisor crouch in the hallway near the elevator, both acutely aware of the cliché nature of this moment of anticipatory, pre-mission soul-searching. The technician, Cuthbert, decides that 44.5 seconds of introspection is sufficient and taps his supervisor’s shoulder timidly.

“Is theft morally justifiable in this case, do you think?”

“Cuthbert, it’s a coffee maker. We’re here to prevent anarchy from erupting in our office. I’d say that’s a worthy goal for bending the rules of morality a tad.”

“Actually, it could be argued that the triviality of the situation makes the rules of morality even more important in this case.”

Triviality? … You’re a tea-drinker, aren’t you?”


“Knew I should have picked Johnson for this mission. Well, listen, Cuthbert, without coffee, the boss can’t keep his eyes open. And without his eyes open, he can’t read my twenty-page exhausted report on tree frogs.”

“I think you mean exhaustive.”

“No, I meant I was rather exhausted writing it.”

“If you say so, sir.”

“Also, the coffee machine itself is technically ours, and that Finance Office will probably steal it back next week. Stealing our coffee machine… they’re monsters. So settle those moral qualms.”

“Yes, sir.”

“Now, did you hack into their surveillance cameras? Where have the dastardly villains put our revered machine?”

“In the break room.”

“Protected by a rotating contingent of armed guards, no doubt?”

“I… don’t think so.”

“You underestimate their cunning. We’ll have to be cautious. You’re wearing your disguise?”

“Yes, but the words embarrassing and ludicrous do come to mind. Why would I be wearing scuba gear in the middle of February?”

“That’s why it’s a distraction. Quit whining and march up to that desk. I’ll sneak into the break room without the receptionist noticing.”

Cuthbert approaches the desk while his supervisor creeps behind him with the grace and poise of a chartreuse elephant balancing on a unicycle.

“Hello, er, ma’am… Miss Receptionist lady… person. I’m Ted Cuthbert, here to see the finance person in charge of the… well, the financial monetary payment records. And such.”

The receptionist peers at him with suspicion and skepticism.

“Of course, sir. Out of curiosity, might I ask if you have any… hardcore hobbies? Scuba diving, perhaps? Though we have called for a plumber to address the problem of the growing puddle under the sink in our break room. You’re not the plumber, by any chance?”


“Oh, of course you are! I see, is that what the scuba gear’s for? I’m sorry if you were hoping to go swimming; the puddle is only a few inches deep.”

“Right. I’ll find the break room on my own, then…”

“But it’s my pleasure to show you to the room. Here we are… hold up. Is that the technical specialist from the office upstairs? I don’t remember letting him in the office. Sir, stop! Why are you stealing our coffee maker?”

We here skip several minutes of screaming, mayhem, disarray, befuddlement, and many other synonyms of confusion.

“Well, at least we reclaimed the coffee maker, sir, if not our dignity.”

“You’re the one who ran screaming through the Finance Office in scuba gear, chased by an old lady with a broom. I just dashed around lugging a coffee maker. Hey, everyone! I have located the coffee maker! Cuthbert, take that ridiculous thing off and make us some coffee!”

Jubilation in the office follows this news, obviously, though only for approximately 8.444467π seconds.

“Sir? I… I have very bad news.”

“Bad news, Cuthbert? What do you think could possibly be bad news in a moment like this? Spit it out.”

“The Finance Office stole our entire stash of coffee beans too.”

A deathly, desperate hush settles over the office like a peaceless, pregnant pause, punctuated only by grim gasps, weary wails, and other alliterative actions. Cuthbert sighs.

“I’ll go put the scuba gear on again, sir.”

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Posted in Humor, Short Stories and tagged , , , .

Katherine Beutner’s career aspirations as a child included Elf, Hobbit, or Fairy, but she settled for Writer and Graphic Designer. When not scribbling creative ideas in a notebook, she searches for new books, art materials, willing victims to read her stories, and ways to make more frequent references to The Lord of the Rings.

One Comment

  1. This is a fantastic story! It makes me grin and snicker right from that first question (“Is theft morally justifiable in this case, do you think?”). 😀 It’s so utterly crazy and yet the motive…oh, dear… Yes, things can go south real fast when there’s no coffee on hand to steady people’s nerves. I can attest that when the power last when out, one of the top concerns was, “Where are we going to secure coffee from?” (Dunkin’ Donuts, in case you care to know.)

    Any chance of a sequel? Perhaps from the Finance Office’s perspective? 🙂

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