Ryan Hollins Tries to Acquire Coffee

March 20th, 2012 by Colin McGowan

Ryan Hollins wiped the sleep from his eyes; slapped the alarm clock against the wall, shattering it; and rose from his bed. Ugh, I hate Mondays, Hollins thought. He did not know he was channeling Garfield. He ambled into his bathroom, which had tile made of Venetian marble. The tiles were very expensive, but Ryan Hollins was able to purchase them with a portion of the millions of dollars he had made playing professional basketball. These were the type of tiles a very rich man bought for his bathroom.

Ryan Hollins stepped into his shower, adjusted his faucet to a temperature that was either way too hot or way too cold, and began his daily ritual of dropping the soap an impossible number of times. As he sort of feebly pinned the soap—which looked like a large pill in comparison to his gigantic frame—between his right wrist and his bellybutton, it occurred to him that he, like all primates, possessed thumbs. Ryan Hollins had no clue what to do with this revelation, but it caused him to drop the soap again. He resolved, as he did every day, that he was “clean enough.” He reached for a towel, and the towel disintegrated.

After drying himself off with eight rolls of toilet paper—macerated bits of tissue were stuck to his back and inner thighs, but what are you gonna do—Ryan Hollins decided to brew a pot of coffee. The crucial flaw in Ryan Hollins’s plan was that he did not own a coffee maker. He had, at one point, owned thousands of coffee makers. You see, Ryan Hollins is no dummy: he knows he is Ryan Hollins and that he breaks things almost literally all the time. So Ryan Hollins had planned ahead. A few months ago, he had filled a spacious walk-in closet with coffee makers. Coffee makers to the ceiling. A meerkat colony of coffee makers. But, being Ryan Hollins, he had steadily depleted this massive reserve of coffee makers—I really can’t emphasize enough how large a quantity of coffee makers Ryan Hollins had burned through; we’re talking enough coffee makers to keep the entire population of Scandinavia awake for three months straight—by breaking coffee makers at a rate that took statistics into a headlock and gave it a noogie until its skull bled. This morning Ryan Hollins had no coffee makers. He had broken every single one. His walk-in closet was now a coffee maker mass grave, a room that reeked of melted plastic and had a floor composed of several layers of fragmented glass. Ryan Hollins would have to leave his home if he wanted to satisfy his caffeine fix.

The first five cars Ryan Hollins attempted to start sputtered and made a sort of laughing sound as Ryan Hollins turned the key in the ignition. The sixth car, an old box Chevy that Ryan Hollins had refurbished with the exorbitant amount of money he had accumulated playing professional basketball, started smoothly, and Ryan Hollins pulled out of his driveway, killing three pedestrians while making a simple K-turn.

Ryan Hollins parked atop a pair of Toyota sedans outside a Starbucks. He opened his car door, which came off its hinges and fell to the curb, and walked through the coffee shop’s entrance. The smell of mediocre coffee infiltrated his nostrils, and Ryan Hollins experienced a sense of wonder. I’m in the mood for something different, thought Ryan Hollins. He then flagged down a pretty barista with auburn hair pulled back in a bun and asked for a grandé house blend, assuming she would know that he meant he wanted a venti iced latté. Ryan Hollins did this all the time, forgetting that in order to express an idea, one needs to use words that correspond to that idea. Ryan Hollins sometimes did not understand the fundamental concept of language, is what I mean.

After a few minutes, the barista motioned Ryan Hollins to the counter and handed him a cup of coffee. She put it, literally, like, right in the palm of his hand, allowing Ryan Hollins sufficient time to wrap the pads of his fingers around the coffee cup, so as to prevent it from falling to the floor. The moment the barista let go of the coffee cup, it exploded. It exploded in a way that a coffee cup should not explode. Coffee is a liquid, and the cup was made of cardboard. Neither of those things are fire.

(Maybe this was one of those freak quantum physics things? Like how, if you stand against a wall for trillions and trillions of years, the atoms will, um, do something weird, and you will pass through the wall? I didn’t really pay attention in my high school physics class, but I think that’s a thing? Whatever, I’m just a guy narrating a very true story about human anomaly Ryan Hollins, not Carl Sagan.)

Anyway, Ryan Hollins somehow made a coffee cup explode just by touching it. The heat from the explosion shot upward like a bottle rocket, burning through the plaster ceiling tiles and melting the electrical wiring. The Wynton Marsalis album that had been playing in the background immediately ceased, and yellow flames danced on the ceiling like a marionette artist’s hands. Ryan Hollins had started an electrical fire.

As he stood outside the blazing Starbucks, apologizing profusely to the small, frightened crowd of college students, old ladies, and wannabe novelists, Ryan Hollins felt his phone vibrate in his shirt pocket. He pulled out his phone with cat-like reflexes, not even dropping it on the pavement and cracking its screen, and read a short message from his boss, Chris Grant: We’ve decided to cut you. Sorry, buddy.

Aw man, Ryan Hollins thought to himself, I was just getting good at flagrant fouling.

And then his phone turned into a zebra and kicked him in the face.