No One Blamed Kennedy

No one blamed Kennedy for what had happened, and as far as Kennedy was concerned, that was a very good thing. Later, in the dark of night while the world slumbered, apart from those lonely parts of it that were still up and watching YouTube and promising themselves that this, this Sophie B. Hawkins clip would be the last one, he would admit to himself that the entire episode had been all his own fault.

Damn, Kennedy thought, I wish that I was that new girl at work’s lover. And perhaps, just perhaps, my father was right, that women just aren’t impressed by novelty items in the workplace. And after I went out and bought all that Gak, too.

‘Hey new girl at work!’ he had said only hours earlier, bouncing from gantry to gantry. ‘Check it out – I’m on a pogo stick! It’s a little reminiscent of the sex we could be having later!’

Kennedy would have been the first to admit that, as pick-up lines went, it hadn’t been his best effort.

His best pick-up line had, without a doubt, been ‘I’ll have some hot Communist sex with you tonight or I’m not Fidel Castro’s illegitimate son, and, regardless of whether you believe me or not, you can tell all your friends that that’s what happened, and they’ll be jealous,’ but he was no longer on extended vacation in Cuba, and women were no longer impressed by his fake birth certificate and phony moustache, much less his ‘Get your smoking hot Fidel Castro’s illegitimate son action right here’ t-shirt.

Kennedy had in fact been reaching into his jacket for the fake birth certificate in order to further his chances when the pogo stick had slipped and he had lost his balance and fallen into the giant steel vat of experimental coffee that dominated the laboratory where he worked. Later, Kennedy would come to terms with this, and be very glad that no one saw fit to ask him why he had brought a pogo stick to work.

Right now, sitting on the doctor’s examining table, he was scared. Very scared.

Perhaps even more scared than he had been when the dark brown waves of the coffee had closed in over his head that morning, because then he had been distracted by trying to think of clever things he could say when they fished him out of the vat, to make himself look cool in front of the new girl.

Bean there, done that, perhaps. Baby, how about some giving me a little sugar to sweeten up this mocha meltdown? Or even Wow, that coffee’s almost as hot as the sex that we could be having later!

Damn it, thought Kennedy. That’s awesome. I should have said that instead of vomiting coffee all over the place. I would have gotten to wear the moustache tonight for sure.

Kennedy idly tapped his hands on his knees. The laboratory’s doctor was a strange and disconcerting man, well-known for his relentless and straight-to-the-point campaign to find out who it was who had been sleeping with his wife.

The laboratory doctor came back into the room, eating from a bucket of fried chicken and holding a clipboard with a sheaf of papers on it. The doctor had a curly moustache and a name tag that said ‘Dr. I’m Going To Find Out Who’s Been Sleeping With My Wife And Then I’m Going To Shoot Him Dead.’

Kennedy took a second to wonder where the doctor had got a name tag that big. It wasn’t standard issue, that was for sure.

The doctor sat and looked at the papers in his hand, then looked at Kennedy. Kennedy looked back at the doctor. After fifteen minutes had passed, Kennedy realised that the doctor was waiting for him to speak.

‘So what’s the news, Doc?’ he asked. He’d always wanted to call a doctor ‘Doc’. He’d once had the chance to do so when he was sat next to a surgeon on a plane, but the two of them had become distracted by a travel edition of Operation, which Kennedy had, foolishly, challenged the surgeon to play.

‘That depends,’ the doctor said. ‘Are you the man that’s been sleeping with my wife?’

‘Uh…no,’ said Kennedy. ‘I’m the guy that fell into the vat of experimental coffee.’

‘Well, couldn’t you be one and the same?’ the doctor asked reasonably. ‘How about I show you some pictures of my wife naked, and I’ll just be standing right over here with this Luger that I’ve got in my pocket to see how you react. Say, would you be a sport and spread that newspaper out under the chair?’

‘No I don’t want to see any pictures of your wife naked, thank you. Do you think I could have some of that chicken though?’ Kennedy asked the doctor. ‘I’m very hungry.’

‘I just bet you are,’ the doctor said, taking a bite of the chicken and reaching into his pocket. ‘I just bet you’re the kind of man who’d like nothing better than to get your hands on the delicious breasts and thighs that belong to another man.’

‘Please,’ Kennedy said. ‘I just want something to eat. And to know if I’m going to be OK.’

The doctor sighed. ‘All right,’ he said. ‘You can keep sleeping with my wife. God knows I’m busy enough eating all this fried chicken!’ And he laughed and gave Kennedy a sporting tap on the shoulder.

‘Seriously, though,’ the doctor added. ‘Confess. I won’t be mad. I won’t even call you names.’

‘But I’m not sleeping with your wife,’ Kennedy said again.

‘And you’re not getting any chicken either, if you’re going to sit there and lie to me like that, you filthy homewrecking son of a bitch,’ the doctor said, taking another piece from the bucket. ‘Here, have a look at this chart.’

‘Is the chart a picture of your wife naked?’ Kennedy asked.

‘Would you still want to see it if it was?’ the doctor asked hopefully.

‘No,’ Kennedy said. The doctor sighed and put the chart away.

‘Fine,’ the doctor said. ‘Forget about sleeping with my wife for a second if you can. I expect you want to hear about the test results?’

‘Yes please,’ Kennedy said.

‘Well, first I need to ask you some questions,’ the doctor said, finishing the last of the fried chicken. ‘First, what’s your name?’

‘My name’s Kennedy,’ Kennedy said.

‘Right,’ the doctor said. ‘And how old are you, Kennedy?’

‘I’m 29,’ Kennedy said.

‘Excellent,’ the doctor said. ‘That’s two for two. Now. I need you to concentrate. Think before you answer.’

The doctor leaned in.

‘How much wood, Mr. Kennedy,’ the doctor asked, ‘could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood and you’d been sleeping with my wife?’

‘I don’t know,’ Kennedy said.

‘Hmmm,’ the doctor said. ‘Very interesting. Would it help if I showed you some pictures of a woodchuck?’

‘Is this woodchuck actually your wife naked again?’ Kennedy asked. The doctor smiled broadly and clapped him on the shoulder again.

‘I can see you know your medicine,’ the doctor said. ‘Now. Let’s talk about your test results.’

‘Yes please,’ Kennedy said.

‘The results are… odd,’ the doctor said. ‘It appears as if somehow your unique biology actually bonded with the experimental coffee. Any other man would have been scalded to death to an instant. You, however, seem to have adapted at the very second your body was submerged.’

’You mean… ’ Kennedy said.

‘Yes I do,’ said the doctor. ’That’s exactly what I mean. You, Mr. Kennedy, now have coffee-based superpowers.’

Kennedy sat back and breathed out a long and happy breath. This was the news he had been waiting to hear all his life.

‘So… I can breathe underwater now?’ he asked the doctor.

‘No,’ the doctor said, shaking his head. ‘That would almost certainly kill you. Slowly. And painfully. I understand that it’s quite a horrible way to go. However, if these figures are accurate, you can now breathe under coffee.’

‘But.. .I can withstand high temperatures, right?’ Kennedy asked.

The doctor shook his head again. ‘My Lord, no. I could set you on fire right now and watch you scream your way to the afterlife. You can withstand very hot coffee though. The temperature of coffee itself will no longer affect you. We can’t be sure, but we’ve hypothesized that were someone to try to kill you by subjecting you to very, very cold coffee, you’d be all right.’

‘Oh,’ said Kennedy. ‘So… what superpowers do I have?’

The doctor looked at the clipboard again. ‘Well… ’ he said, ’You’re invulnerable to coffee. That’s about it.’

‘Can I shoot coffee at people?’ Kennedy asked hopefully.

‘No,’ said the doctor. ‘Unless you happen to have a coffee gun of some kind.’

‘Can I control coffee with my mind?’

‘Again, no,’ said the doctor. ’You’re resistant to coffee-related injury and death. That’s about it.’

‘Oh,’ said Kennedy.

‘There is a slight chance that people may feel a little bit invigorated in your presence,’ the doctor said. He was not an unkind man. ‘We will need to run some more tests to see if that’s the case.’

‘So… I’m like a superhero now, right?’ Kennedy asked. The doctor sighed.

‘Frankly,’ the doctor said, ‘this is the most useless superpower I’ve ever heard of. But not to worry. It’ll be a great icebreaker at parties. Now how about a cup of coffee?’

No One Blamed Kennedy


Joined December 2007

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