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Oliver Benjamin                            
nature, catapults him to brilliant heavens abuzz with light. Tea leads
to contemplation of verdant living things, places where light and
shadow remain in balance, undivided.
Also, he said, coffee makes you fart. He laughed maniacally.
Roy smiled politely but remained silent. Indonesia was a living
temple to corruption and inefficiency. Perhaps they would do well to
drink more coffee. Secondly, they did drink plenty of coffee, all of it
robusta. And chain-smoked cigarettes. And were one of the very few
Muslim countries in the world with an alcohol problem. And what
about Kemukus? These were not latter-day saints by any means.
The old man told Yak to ask Roy how his tea tasted.
“It’s good,” Roy replied, “It’s a little strong. Do you have any
Yak translated his request for the old man and when he replied
they both laughed. “What did he say?” Roy said, confused.
“It’s a play on words,” Yak explained. “I told him that the taste
was too strong and needed milk.”
“So what?”
Rasais ‘taste’ but it’s also ‘spirit,’ and susumeans both ‘milk’
and ‘female breast.’ This in mind, he suggested I take you to Mount
Roy shrugged, uncomprehending.
“Because your spirit is too strong and so you need a woman.”
“Aha,” Roy said, working out the ambiguity. “Never mind. I need
all my strength.”
To Roy, Javanese humor seemed to be an acquired taste. He set
to work trying to acquire it.
Roy stayed in Solo until his health completely returned. Then, one
day when they were in the kungkum bath together, he shared with his
friend a new inspiration. He wanted to start a small, unassuming
coffeehouse. And he wanted Yak to come back to the States to help
him run it.
“My father has just the place,” Roy said, “Don’t worry, we could
sell tea as well.”
“I am a Solo man,” he said, “In all senses.”
“You are a Java Man as well,” Roy remarked, “And let’s be
honest: It’s too easy to be a holy man on top of a mountain. Or in this
case, an island.”
Roy explained the history of the property, the location, its holy
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