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Oliver Benjamin                            
Then, when the Vietnam war came and he was drafted, he found
himself forced daily to drink an evil brew of instant coffee with his
awful rations. This was too much for Morris, who shot himself in the
foot, not only to avoid warfare, but also to get back to a world of
civilized cuisine. Actually, he found he rather enjoyed warfare.
Despite his dislike of coffee, Bidden knew it was the fuel of the
modern economy, as important as oil. If he wanted to claw his way
out of poverty and petty crime, coffee would be the field to get into.
Plus, business tactics resembled warfare even more than actual
warfare did. Most of the time in Vietnam he spent waiting around for
something to happen, but in business, he could make sure the battles
and strategizing never ceased.
Later, as he learned the ropes of commerce he developed an even
greater appreciation for coffee despite its incurably bitter and dank
taste. Coffee was consumed by the richest countries and grown by the
poorest. Surely, it was the greatest divider of men since the invention
of firearms. And why? Because it forced people to dream. When
people dreamed, they coveted. And when they coveted, they
conquered. Morris himself didn’t need coffee for inspiration. In his
world, whatever he wanted seemed to come to him as easy as an idle
wish. In his world, as his son astutely noted, there was no gravity.
Everything did seem to revolve around him. Like Ptolemy or Louis
XIV, he had engendered a cosmology all his own.
Bidden pitched forward in his enormous leather chair and placed
his head in his hands. He felt lousy. Why? Because there was no
longer anything to desire. He had everything. At sixty years old he
had more money than he knew what to do with, enjoyed the respect
and fear of his peers and the satisfaction of knowing that he had been
wildly correct in nearly every decision he had ever made. He was
without flaw. How bored and lonely God must be, Bidden thought.
How isolating, perfection.
Morris had half a mind to reconcile with Roy. He sent over a
coffee tree as a peace offering, but Roy never replied and now the
phone was disconnected. According to his sources, the modest little
coffeehouse was basically empty and inoperative. Even Roy was no
longer around. Only a dour giant now hung around the place.
It was just as well. Reconciling with Roy would have only
resulted in more disappointment. Roy once shared this Ethiopian
proverb with him: “You can only trust a man after he is dead.” At the
time it had seemed a joke. He wondered if it been some kind of
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