Zöe hadn’t known that the baked goods at Java’s were glazed with powdered caffeine crystals and baked with a double shot of espresso. She didn’t know that the countertops were always lightly dusted with caffeine that was bonded to a drug that allowed the jittery molecule to cross the skin barrier and enter her bloodstream at her elbows. Zöe didn’t know that Java’s used fog machines filled with coffee to aerosolize the caffeine and make it so that every breath taken in the dimly lit art-cafe lead to greater awareness and a faster heart rate. Zöe had just gone to Java’s to grab a little cup of coffee to keep her up as she studied for a test she had waited until the last minute to prep for. But then she’d breathed, and leaned on the countertop, and eaten a little croissant, and caffeine accumulated in her brain and in her kidneys and made her mouth taste like iron. Under the influence of the drug, the night got away from her.
Twelve stitches and a tumble from a penny board later, Zöe’s eyes at last stopped dilating, and as the world returned to normal speed, she resolved to only enter Java’s in a biohazard suit.
Written on 4/16/16 at Artawake for a women who was particularly sensitive to caffeine.