There’s one on every corner, or so it seems. That retro spinning Saturn; that loopy text: Cosmic Coffee calls your caffeine-fueled cells home to its embrace most weekday mornings. True to its name, it seems to be not just the center of the universe but also its edges, and like the universe, its edges are ever-expanding.
This was not always so.
Another company so pervasive as to constitute some percentage of the air you breathe, The Keane Candy Company, also wasn’t nearly so popular in the past. Founded nearly eighty years ago, its products did not receive wide distribution until it was bought by a certain food service giant. The same one, of course, that owns Cosmic Coffee and many other familiar brands.
Keane Candy. You know, Tum-Tums? Small, spherical confections, the bag-bottom detritus of any Halloween haul, and the lollipops you’ve seen on the desk of every bank you’ve ever been to. Cheap sweets, the sop to every impatient, fidgeting child who has ever had to wait for their parent to finish doing their boring, adult business. If you look inside the wrappers, there are sometimes coded messages. Most take no notice, thinking it akin to a cereal-box-top marketing game, a toy in the package of caramel corn.
In your local Cosmic Coffee – the one you frequent – there’s a barista with iridescent eyes and a beard of prey. He’s always been nice enough, but there’s also always seemed to be more to him. Or rather: since that morning when you woke from the dream, the morning that began the descent into all this madness. The morning you became what you Are now, what you had no choice but to become.
He knew you. He saw you, somehow. Even if you managed to evade his deeper scrutiny, you know you didn’t get by him that day, not completely. He’s one of you, somehow. These days, you can always tell.
You’re not sure what that means about Cosmic Coffee, or Keane Candy, or any of the other products that make up the warp and weft of mundane, modern reality. There’s an overlay to everything, now, a transparent glow of the non-mundane. Everything seems infused with it, these days. What are they putting in the coffee? What do the symbols on the candy wrappers mean? Would you like to see the secret menu?
How deep does it all go?
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