Billy glanced at the car again. Doogie was bobbing his head in time to some unheard song. Good. This meant there was time for coffee.
This was new. Instead of crusty unwashed industrial sized coffee machines with tanks full of hours old sludge, there was a sleek little device. It was a Keurig coffee maker. Next to it was a display of various K-cups and instructions on how to use it. The instructions were in every language known to man as well as pictographs for the ever-growing population of functionally illiterate zombies who can’t understand the simplest words. Billy, who was born in a world that didn’t need pictographs on a toilet paper dispenser, ignored the signage, glanced at the device, and understood its function in a millisecond. Did this creation control the entire coffee situation? He frowned, who lets a monopoly dominate their drug supply?
There were lots of K-cups; literally hundreds to choose from. Interestingly, they all had Keurig’s seal of approval, but some mixed in additional branding; Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, McCafe, etc… The invisible grounds within apparently taking on the cachet of its sponsor. How long before ghettos had a shootout for Nike branded coffee? Would toddlers be screaming for a K-cup with their favorite Disney princess? Naturally cautious, Billy wondered if he should double his hidden coffee bean cache? Then he noticed an off-brand cup that was virtually the same but just different enough to avoid a lawsuit. Whew! No worries with the monopoly thing.
He examined the cups like an anthropologist puzzling an exotic culture. What did they mean to freedom?
Small, portable, interchangeable, clearly labeled, long shelf life, distributing something everyone wanted, some were addicted to its contents, it was consumable, unitized… Oh My God!
Hastily, Billy jammed a cup in the dispenser. It produced an entirely adequate cup of coffee. He jammed a second one in and made a second cup. He sipped carefully. Both were identical. Interchangeable.
He dropped an unused K-cup from shelf height to the floor. He picked it up, shook it, stuffed it in his pocket, withdrew it, tossed it on the counter, tapped it with his finger, rolled it around a bit. Then he minutely examined it. Perfect. Unfazed by rough handling. Durable.
With shaky hands, he grabbed a “gourmet” brand from an upper shelf and made another cup. He sipped. Yes, it was slightly better. He made a few more cups, examining different types and qualities. Decaf, high end, low end, even one that made hot cocoa for the kids. Yes! They were all precisely identical to each other and slightly differentiated from others of different kind. Outstanding!
Interchangeable, durable, denominated.
Billy saw the whole shebang! When the greenback finally tanks… When they realize there’s not enough gold in Fort Knox to even pretend, when they realize there’s not even enough paper to back the digits, when they realize “full faith and credit of the United States Government” means jack shit… When a digit in an account that aggregates the idea of non-existent slips paper that haven’t represented physicality for generations… when the whole fractional reserve banking house of cards comes crashing down….
The K-cup could become currency!
Billy gripped the counter as the insight rolled around in his head. He had seen the heady heights of the truth and was literally awestruck.
“How much coffee can you possibly want?” Achmed interrupted Billy’s reverie. He waved at Billy’s eleven cups of coffee.
“All of it!” Billy grinned. Cackling with glee, he gathered up several dozen boxes of cups and dumped them in a pile next to his beef jerky.
Everyone knows Federal Reserve Notes are totally valueless. Fortunately, you can route them through PayPal (or Patreon) and I’ll turn them into genuine fiction: