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Inspirational Suspense Mystery

Benjamin Duval slowly opened his eyes, as the early morning light shone through the cracks in his blinds. He turned and looked out the window.

Still early, probably not even past six am… Well, I might as well get up and start my day.

Slowly Benjamin grabbed the sheets and took them off of him, careful not to disturb his still sleeping wife, Marie. His joints making quite the ruckus as they usually did in the morning. 

Pop. Crack. 

Benjamin checked on Marie to see if the noise had woken her. He let out a sharp breath in relief when he saw her chest continually rise and fall, rhythmically. 

He never planned on waking up this early every morning, but he couldn’t help it. After several decades of waking up at the same time for work every day, his body had its own natural clock. Besides, in these wee hours he felt like he did his best work. As far as the government, his friends, and his family was concerned, Benjamin Duval was retired. For the past two decades it had been that way. However, he was the type of man who couldn’t let himself rest.

Idle hands are the devil’s playthings. Anyway, I feel like I’ve been doing my best work these past years. When I’m in my workshop, I feel like a young man.

Sometimes he felt guilty for keeping his secret from everyone. No one knew what Benjamin had been up to since he had retired. Not even his wife, who he cherished. It was funny to Benjamin how it had happened, little by little, he had turned his shed into a workshop. However, when you enter the shed, you would only see the standard lot of rusty old tools. Only by pulling on a wrench that was on the wall, which Benjamin converted into a lever, would a hidden door pop open. As Benjamin made his way through the house, getting through his morning routine quietly, he completed all the steps required and found himself inside his workshop. 

When he retired, it was at the standard age of sixty-five. It was hard for him to believe, that it took him until he was retired to find out what his true passion was. He wanted to become the best barista ever – King of Coffee. 

“Alright, Let’s get to work.”

         This had been his morning routine for the past several years, waking up extremely early and coming to his secret workshop. He had dedicated his life to making the perfect cup of coffee, and just recently, he had done it. 

Psssssshhhhhh. 

The sound of the steam coming out of Benjamin’s homemade coffee machine was like music to his ears.

         Pouring the milk and the coffee into a cup, a smile couldn’t help but form on his face. While drinking his morning coffee, he thought about his plans for the rest of the day. Today is his eight-sixth birthday, and they were having a big celebration at their house. Tonight, would be the night in which Benjamin would reveal his great creation.

         After a few hours of tinkering around inside his workshop, he left and went inside to check on his wife.

“Honey?” Benjamin called out. 

“I’m getting breakfast ready. Everything okay in the shed?” Marie replied.

         They had been married for over sixty years, and his love for her had never wavered. Benjamin liked to think that she knew what he been up to in his workshop. After so many decades with the same person by your side a deep bond is formed, allowing you to know them like you know yourself. That was why, he guessed, she never pushed him on what he was always doing in the shed.

“Oh yeah, all the tools are looking good.” Benjamin said and looked away. Even though it wasn’t a direct lie, he wished he could tell her the full truth.

         Soon… Tonight, I’ll show them all what a true King of Coffee is.

         The rest of the morning and the afternoon were uneventful, at least, as far as Benjamin was concerned. It was mostly just cleaning of the house and getting everything ready for their guests, but he could handle it because the reward would be worth it.

         Ding-Dong. 

Benjamin jumped at the sound of the doorbell, and anticipation coursed through him. He felt his palms start to get slightly sweaty, as he walked to the door. 

“Marie! The guests are here!”

         He waited for a moment, then he heard her coming to the door to greet the company with him. Once she was beside him, he opened the door and gave a warm greeting to his visitors.

“Hello!” They said in unison, a big smile on both their faces. Many people stood on their porch, this included; their four kids, their five grandkids, their life-long friends, and Benjamin’s brother and Marie’s two brothers and half-sister.

         Wow! I didn’t realize we invited so many people. This is great!

         Once they finished saying their hellos, they all gathered around in the kitchen. Marie insisted on having a big centre island in the kitchen, completely made of marble. Even though it was Marie who had wanted it, Benjamin had to admit he liked having family gathers around it.

         He watched as his kids, and grandkids all played and had a good time. A smile was beginning to form on his face, when his wife noticed it.

“You’re in a good mood, birthday boy.” Marie said and gave Benjamin a witty smirk. Benjamin valued family above all else and seeing them so happy made him feel at peace, which, of course, Marie knew. 

“I just realized that I have a lot to be thankful for.” He said and leaned in to kiss his wife. Then, his passion came to the forefront of his mind, and he straightened. 

“Honey, I need you to gather everyone around the island. There’s something I need to show everyone!” Benjamin hurried out the back door as he spoke to his wife.

         Timing is everything when it comes to coffee! I almost let myself get caught up in the moment. There will be time for that later!

         He rushed into the shed and quickly went through the steps to open his workshop. Everything was already prepared, and he grabbed the wooden box everything was in. 

         This is going to be fun!

         When Benjamin had come back into the house and showed everyone what he had been working on for the best part of his retirement, he was greeted with confused looks.

“Coffee?”

“Dad, are you feeling okay?”

“I like coffee in a paper cup.”

         They all said. Benjamin had been expecting this, of course. It was a strange thing to tell your family; that he had been working on the secrets behind the perfect coffee. Once they tasted it, however, they would understand. He chuckled to himself as he prepared enough the beverages for everyone to try. Sweat was starting to form on his forehead, as he wiped it away with a towel he kept on his waist. 

         He poured every ounce of energy he had into his work. While he worked the various machines and contraptions, that he had created to make the best coffee, he noticed his family was giving him worried looks. 

         HAH! I may be an old man, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t work!

         This was where Benjamin thrived, in the moments when he threw himself into task. He moved with a speed and precision that was far above what a man of his age should be capable of. As he got more and more involved in his work, he seemed to look younger. This was why Benjamin did it, making coffee made him feel alive. 

Psssssshhhhhh. 

He released the steam that was inside his device. Finally, he had finished the coffees.

         After pouring the drink into several different cups and adding the perfect amount of milk, Benjamin saw the looks of anticipation on everyone’s faces. While he was making the coffee, the aroma had filled the air. To them it just smelled like beautifully fragrant coffee, but to Benjamin he could smell all the fine details. Over the years of him being inside his small workshop, bent over different types of coffee beans, he had developed an acute sense of smell. His took a deep breath and his nose picked flowery, nutty, smoky, chocolatey, and herby scents.

         With the anticipation seeming to build in the room and the room feeling dense from the weight of everyone patiently waiting, Benjamin knew he shouldn’t delay any longer.

“Well, what are you waiting for? Go ahead.” He said, and almost as if it had been rehearsed, everyone took a sip at the same time. Benjamin watched with delight as their reactions made all the time that had he spent working on his craft well worth it. He watched as one by one, his family’s faces filled with first surprise, then joy. Before he could say anything, they all took another loud sip. SLUURRRRRRP! The dramatic nature of it made Benjamin almost burst out laughing.

         With a feverish intensity they finished their mugs and blinked, it was almost like they had been in a trance while they drank. He saw they look down at their empty cups, then over to one another. Finally, he couldn’t contain his laughter anymore. 

“AHAHA! Anyone want a second cup?”

         Slowly, they each raised their hands in turn.

“Wow…”

“That coffee was delicious…”

“Yeah dad, I’m sorry we underestimated you…”

         All Benjamin could do was smirk, for he had been validated. He wasted no time and brewed another batch of his perfect coffee. Now, as he poured the piping hot liquid into their cups and added the milk, he felt a sense of proud wash over him. Once the cups were full again, they waited for a moment out of respect, then began drinking once it seemed appropriate. He looked at the next generation of Duvals and smiled.

         One day, my kingdom will be theirs. For now, however, I am the only King of Coffee.

August 17, 2023 15:38

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4 comments

Chris Belton
14:05 Aug 25, 2023

Benjamin is an intriguing character. I wonder if you have considered further stories of his exploits? I love quirky characters and was left wanting to get to know him better. I think if you return to it after a few weeks you might edit out a few things. Otherwise, I enjoyed reading it over my morning coffe.

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Anthony Carello
15:09 Aug 25, 2023

Glad you enjoyed! If the prompt is right in the future I may be able to revisit Benjamin. I did have a lot of fun writing his story! Keep an eye out for my future stories and maybe the King of Coffee will return.

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Hannah Lynn
13:11 Aug 24, 2023

Fun story! Perfect reminder that it's never too late to start something new in life. I enjoyed your story!

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Anthony Carello
14:15 Aug 24, 2023

Thanks for the feedback! That's exactly the point I was trying to get across.

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