the ballad

of coffee

unsung

(part one:

bedford’s

end)

 

a vault

dweller

walks into

a bar

built from

once long

abandoned

box cars and

bus shells

along the

southeastern 

edge of the

glowing sea.

 

a mostly

charcoal

calico

rolls across

a barn wood

barroom floor

from a pair of

furniture

drunks

volleying lies

at a table

toward the

back, to a

grease

smattered

green

mechanic in

robco blues

picking his

teeth with a

phillips head,

center,

to the cloth

wrapped

weathered

feet of the

super mutant

tending bar,

like a purring

pinball.

 

half a handful

of forgettable

locals litter

the bar like

crumpled

paper cups.

 

a ghoul in

crisply cuffed

denim and a

black leather

jacket with

a tin of

pre-war

processed

meat

emblazoned

across its

back sits on

stool at the

end. his sun

-bleached

bone white

pompadour

like slick

institute

plastic, his

eyes behind

military issue

glasses fixed

with midnight

lenses, a

grey tortoise

hung burning

on what’s

become of

his bottom

lip.

 

the dweller

mounts a

barstool

adjacent

the

eccentric

ghoul and

says,

 

i was told

i’d find the

first of

three bards,

warden to a

legend all

but lost on

the forgetful

tongue of

father time,

fitting your

description.

are you the

storyteller i

seek, do

you know

the ballad

of coffee

unsung?

 

the ghoul

sucks his

teeth and

gravels,

 

a vault

dweller

walks into

a bar,

stop me

if you’ve

heard this

one, and

asks a

stranger for

a favor with

not so much

as a simple

introduction.

the name’s

tommy cram,

not at all at

your service.

now, kindly

fuck back off

to whichever

metal hole

you crawled

out of.

 

the dweller

produces a

pristine tin

of the afore

-mentioned

pre-war

meat

product, the

namesake

across the

ghoul’s

leather clad

shoulders,

and slides it

over to him.

 

tommy pulls

down his

shades to

set eyes on

the mint tin.

says,

 

meet me in

the back

room and,

ill tell you

how it all

begins, the

brew city

origins.