Read Rudi’s story “Detail from a Painting by Hieronymus Bosch” at Behind the Wainscot.

David Kopaska-Merkel’s book of humorous noir fiction based on nursery rhymes, Nursery Rhyme Noir 978-09821068-3-9, is sold at the Genre Mall. Other new books include The zSimian Transcript (Cyberwizard Productions) and Brushfires (Sams Dot Publishing).

Susannah Mandel’s short story “The Monkey and the Butterfly” is in Shimmer #11. She also has poems in the current issues of Sybil’s Garage, Goblin Fruit, and Peter Parasol.

Jason Erik Lundberg‘s fiction is forthcoming from Subterranean Magazine and Polyphony 7.


by Jon

I never was a tea drinker.  Double espresso from the CoffeeTown drive thru every morning to the office.  But one morning the barista gave me the wrong order, and I found myself drinking tea.  And liking it.  So I started making my own.

It’s a simple process. Heat the water, add the tea, then wait.  I got an electric kettle that would heat the water for me.  Toss in a teabag of Lipton or Tetley, then I was good to go.  But after a while, I found myself wondering if it could be any better.

I spent some time in the tea section of Earth Organics, where a helpful young lady got me to drop the mass-produced stuff in favor of fair trade, loose organic teas from India, Japan, China. Made a few other changes. Told my boss at corporate to take a flying leap. I swapped the electric kettle to my neighbor for his battered old tea pot his ex-wife had left behind.  The water took longer to boil now, but I didn’t mind.  I felt more grounded.

Unfortunately, I bounced a couple checks at Earth Organics and the tea girl told me to go to hell.  I started getting my tea from a hole-in-the-wall bodega up the street, trading them stuff from my apartment.  The teas they carried had labels in languages that made my eyes cross if I tried to read them.  Some tasted like sunsets when you were twelve and in love, others like black licorice and a punch in the nose.  I liked those better.

It was about that time the gas got cut off.  Heating the water was tricky, until I picked up a pamphlet lying in the street.  Pyrokinesis Made Easy, it said, but it still took me staring at my kettle for three days, eyes unblinking, focusing until the water molecules finally began to heat.

The night I left my apartment for the last time I dreamed I floated upon a dark ocean that smelled of cloves and cinnamon while a voice like steam whispered a secret I could only half-understand.  Each night the dream came to me again, and again, and I understand it now.  I will walk until I find enough water to let my body steep in it, and I will become one with the infinite, one with the tea.

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One Response to “Tea”

  1. Cindy Says:

    February 26th, 2011 at 4:51 am

    Thank you for devoting a story to tea!