The Empty Coffee Pot

After clocking in I found my co-workers in the break room.

They were arranged around the coffee machine in a somber half-circle.

“It’s empty,” I said over their shoulders.

“For the first time in years.” That was Alison, daubing at red eyes with a tissue.

“Jim died last weekend,” said Louise.

“Who the fuck is Jim?” I wanted to know.

This drew an ugly glare from Louise, a sob from Alison.

Bob just shook his head and said, “He’s worked here for twenty years.”

I had worked here for twelve.

“Jim always filled the coffee machine, especially when he wasn’t having any.”

Alison sobbed again, and I was filled with a sense of loss.

To fill the void, I numbly reached for the coffee grounds.

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