Starbucks Couldn't Buy This Kind of Promotion




It was entirely possible that Richard was enjoying himself. Sure, the building they slept was really more like two walls with a providentially fallen tree as a roof. They hadn't bathed in thirteen days and hadn't changed clothes in five. Clark's olfactory senses did not appreciate the stale corn-chip smell but Richard merrily whistled every morning. It defied belief. He had to be an alien, too.

"Coffee?" Richard offered a cracked plastic cup of black liquid. Drops fell on the dirt floor.

"Uh, no thank you," said Clark. "It, uh, gives me indigestion."

"Oh, well, more for me." He threw back his head and downed the whole cup in one gulp.

There was an obsessive compulsive ritual involved in Richard's coffee. Lois had warned him about it but Clark still couldn't believe it when Richard leapt through a street zinging with bullets to rescues his fallen coffee tin. The tin itself could have been used to store uranium or an eighty-carat pink diamond at first glance. But no, it was Richard's special roast blend, bought from a specific café in five blocks east of the Planet. The owner greeted Richard with more warmth than Perry and it was a well-known fact that Perry actually smiled at Richard every morning, a mark of high favour if ever there was one.

Clark fiddled with his glasses. "Uh, Richard."


"You... you do realise that there are, well, quite a lot of snipers out there."

"Fifty-three," said Richard. His eyes were closed. He inhaled the steam coming from his cracked plastic cup with the same deliberation as the Oracle at Delphi inhaled volcanic fumes.

"So, shouldn't we, ah... do something?"

"Not before I finish my coffee."

Clark was beginning to think that the plastic cup wasn't the only thing around here that was cracked. "Richard, it would really be wise if we--"

"How fast can you fly?" Richard asked suddenly.

"Whah-- uh, I've never timed myself really."

"Are there nay sonic booms involved?"

"W-Well, I suppose that once when I was really in a hu--"

"Then I've got nothing to worry about."

Whatever was in Richard's special blend, Clark wanted nothing to do with it.

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