Heiss & Burg’s Coffee Roasting Co.
D. Paul Angel
It has come to my attention that the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle may not be quite so well known as I so blithely assumed. Simply put, the more accurately you know a particles speed, the less accurately you can know its position, or vice-versa. So, in other words, you can know X, but not Y, or Y but not X. Clear as coffee? Good. Enjoy 🙂
Crossroads have always been steeped in superstition. After all, they’re the intersection of potential destinies. Ghosts resided there, the scorned dead were left there, and it’s where intermingled fates were forever changed. Don’t believe me? Just ask Oedipus. I imagine he has a few words on the matter.
These crossroads, though, are different. At least a bit. Oh sure, there’s the rolling gray, nondescript overcast and haze, paths are most definitely intertwined, and, of course, there’s the constant, eerie weight of life altering choice… There isn’t necessarily an “up” however. Nor a “left,” “right,” or even “down.” More than anything else the crossroads look like they were drawn by MC Escher on a seven dimensional white board after a three week bender.
Smart folks may wonder how you get here. Wise ones, though, will ask how you get back. First. Me? I know I’m smart, but I’m still working on the wise.
I came here while working on my doctorate. You immediately guessed something in physics, right? Quantum mechanics… Relativity… String Theory… any or all would have been helpful I’m sure. Medieval English Literature? Not so much. Although it does allow me to say with absolute academic certainty that Chaucer would have loved the Hell out of this place.
Of course by “this place” I don’t really mean the Crossroads. Like I said they’re more creeptastic than anything. No, by “here” I mean Heiss & Burg’s Coffee Roasting Company. Yeah I may be a barista, and I may not necessarily be living up to my educational acumen, but I also haven’t quite figured out how to leave.
(And yes, I know that Chaucer died over a century before coffee’s introduction to England- but hey, thanks for the pedantry! Never get enough of that as a barista!)
So, remember the Crossroads I described? The one that Dali would look at and say, “Uff. Too much.” That one? Well, imagine that smack dab in the middle of it is a rather colorful Victorian. And by “colorful” I mean that no two planks are the same color. And as long as you don’t stare too long at the planks painted with infrared or ultraviolet you probably won’t experience more than just a titch of discomfort.
You would think with nineteen floors there might be some rhyme or reason to the color scheme, but it’s really just the one floor. One floor that just so happens to extend in nineteen different planes, but hey, no stairs!
It’s, well… you kind of have to see it. Unless you’re easily seasick, readily queasy, or, possibly, already nauseous. Than just close your eyes and follow your nose. Because you will smell the coffee, and it is good coffee. I mean good coffee. Ambrosiaesque coffee. Coffee to squee for. The black blood of all that is Good and Holy decanted into fine, earthenware mugs. This is the best coffee in the Universe. Literally.
See, in all the infinite combinations of potential universes, in all the infinite, parallel lines of Time, and across every empty divide of unbounded space; there is only one commonality.
Us: Heiss & Burg’s Coffee Roasting Company.
Now, I’m not claiming to understand the Math, mind you, I’m just relaying it as I had it explained to me. So, the more the various Universii need to twist, pirouette, fold, and/or warp, whilst still maintaining parallel existences with their neighbors; the more Math demands the existence of a single, unwavering point of fixed solidity. Or, to put it more succinctly, Math robbed the First Bank of Reality and all they got for their trouble was couple shots of espresso and a dye pack. (Luckily, the dye pack was mocha flavor!)
So. What’s a Medieval Lit nerd to do? Same as in the Bronx, Orlando, or Nebraska even. Sling coffee. Hope for tips.
And flirt. Mainly flirt.
See, you only arrive here when your desire for the best coffee ever overrides all other considerations. That desire affects the Universe around you so strongly it sends out ripples which propagate across that Universe’s own flavor of Space and Time until it needs you to be here. Like, now here. So, you arrive. You drink, you have your fill, and then, just as elegantly; the Universe snaps back the wrinkle your desire created and you are back home at almost exactly the same instant as your departure.
Totally makes sense, right?
See, since you return at basically the same instant as you leave, whatever imprint your experiences left on your brain waves are lost. The net result being that while you can enjoy the best coffee ever made, ever, excuse me, EVER!; you cannot actually know about it.
I know, I know, but just think about it for a second and it’ll hit. It’s like accepting money from your miserly sweetie when you’re short on funds, even though you know you’ll never hear the end of it: mined, beau loan.
In fairness, it can run the other way. To where you know about Heiss & Burg’s, but can never get there again, nor, obviously, sample our deliciousness. I am told, reliably, that this occurrence is the mechanism by which Nature spontaneously generates anti-matter.
And, well, it turns out there’s another little quirk to the almost, but not quite, instantaneous realigning. As rare as it may be, if you come here often enough, however tiny an imprint is made: it is still made. And every visit here builds until you’re like me. Here. Unable to leave. Ever.
Which is why I can honestly say I have seen you here before. No, not the “royal you,” you; you you.
And it’s why you will disappear as soon as you realize you’ve polished off that amazing espresso I just pulled for you. Back to your own Time and Space, a half-fraction of an instant after you left. Don’t worry though, I’ll still be here when you come back. A couple more times and who knows? Maybe I’ll actually get that date…