H.P. Lovecraft's work has some recurring themes: characters who teeter on the edge of insanity, tentacled Cthulhu, and all manner of alien horrors. But how do those tropes work when the ancient intelligence and its victim are just grabbing a cup of coffee?
After reading through some of the entries on the highly-enjoyable Tumblr, Literary Starbucks, several of our commenters were inspired to try their own hands at putting their favorite authors and literary characters into the standard "third space" of the industrialized coffee shop, like this one from commenter Gijoel3 which pits Cthulhu's popularizer against a questioning barista:
H.P Lovecraft ventured forth into that terrible den of iniquity, known as StarBucks. The sight that beheld him was as hideous as it was indescribable. Scions of well-mannered homes sat indolently in front of bizarre machines. Their fevered hands tapping away at the hideous keypads, typing out the feverish dreams of Yir'ga'acheffe the black dragon, He Who Drinks Tea.
A terrible keening arose in the Lovecraft's chest as he observed the cultists, dressed in the pullulating viridian, attend to their dark altar. The accepted the prayers of their demented followers,and then turned to the dark engines of their god. They made unfathomable genuflections, their hands would flick wheels, and buttons, in blasphemous homage to their elder god. Screams of tortured steams, and squeals of agonized milk arose from their vile devices, as they distilled their madness into a hideous brown liquid.
"What would you like, sir?" One of the hideous cultist asked. Her face a grinning rictus that spoke of unspeakable acts.
Lovercraft almost collapsed at the hideous sight. He turned, and ran screaming out into the morning sun.
Commenter greyman33 followed up with this coffeeshop visit by Philip K. Dick:
Philip K. Dick quietly enters the coffee shop, looking nervously over his shoulder, flinching as a small bird lands on the decorative shrubbery outside the building, expecting to finally catch a glimpse of the man he is sure has been stalking him for weeks. He still hasn't once seen any evidence of this hidden assassin's presence, but he is sure the man is out there, waiting for him to let his guard down.
After sweeping the room for listening devices he strides to the counter, ordering a small black coffee and insisting the barista put it in a cup he himself has provided from home.
After carefully monitoring the entire process to ensure his drink is safe he pays for the coffee with a fistful of crumpled bills and change he pulled from the couch cushions, not bothering to pick out the bits of lint and Dorito crumbs from the currency.
"Keep the change," he mumbles to the barista before dumping the coffee into a nearby potted plant, dropping two hits of LSD and returning home to continue a conversation with his ceiling fan.
Have your own to share? Tell us about it in the comments.
Top image: BenduKiwi