I coughed, spluttering the liquid all over the counter-top.
“Is that… is that real coffee?” I asked as I pushed the mug away in disgust.
“Course it is. Only the best in Westchester.” Rolf said. His head was low, focused on polishing cutlery.
I eyed him suspiciously. “Why does it taste like dirt, then? I was always told that coffee tasted sweet, sour and bitter all at once.”
“Well where do you think coffee beans come from, eh? Must’ve taken on some of the soil’s taste.” Still he kept his head bowed. I could see his cheeks turning pink beneath his beard.
“You don’t sell coffee, do you?”
No response. Just the rhythmic clang of cutlery as each freshly-polished knife or fork fell into the drawer.
“It’s mud, isn’t it?”
“Yes.” He looked up at last. His eyes had lost their usual spark. He looked as though he had aged a couple of decades; the lines on his face appeared more prominent than usual.
“Rolf!” I rubbed my tongue with the palm of my hand.
“Well you asked for it!” He said, his face childish with earnestness. “I panicked, Bev. Didn’t know what to do.”
“Just don’t… just let me know if I order something you don’t have, okay?”
“Okay. Actually, I made a biscuit to go with your coffee. Wanna see?” Rolf asked. He grinned. Before I could respond, he began rifling around behind the counter, his eyes squinting as he searched.
At last, he straightened his back and placed something on the counter between us.
“Chocolate chip.” He said with false pride.
I picked it up to inspect it. It crumbled a little as I handled it. The object was perfectly round and off-white with little black pieces dotted around.
“Time to make a guess!” Rolf said as he placed his arms on the counter, staring at me with high expectations.
“Sand for the biscuit itself, but… what are the chocolate chips?”
He grinned and leaned in close, looking around as if to check we were not being overheard (even though the place was empty besides himself and me).
“Rabbit feces.” He whispered.