A Nice Cup of Tea

(///damage.tags.path – PG Tips tea factory, Manchester, UK)

Gerald slurped his tea and made a mark in his book. “That’s my 500th cup of the year!” he announced loudly to Barbara. She smiled wearily.

“I’m on the right path,” he blathered on. “May 5th today, 125th day of the year, four cups a day, it’s as predicted. I’m going to have an answer soon!” Barbara stroked Minky, who purred supportively.

Gerald continued inscribing furiously, his pursuit of knowing unknowable facts coming closer to fruition. After all, there was an absolute answer to the number of cups of tea he had drunk in his life. It was an indisputable fact about his life on Earth. Only he didn’t know what that figure was.

So this year he had recorded his every cup of tea to ratify his general habits, confirmed with his mother when he had first drunk tea and reached a hypothesis on how to calculate a reliable estimate of cups of tea drunk over his entire 48 years, taking into account his early office years, his teenage tea resistance phase and his tea-free childhood.

With some confidence, he was homing in on an estimated total for his lifetime of 55,000 cups

“Next year, trips to the toilet. Harder to calculate. Then maybe crisps. Packets and individual ones, list of different flavours. Or tags I’ve cut off clothing. The facts I’m going to uncover!” Gerald beamed. Barbara sighed.

“Have a biscuit,” she said by way of changing the subject, “I baked them specially.”

Gerald snatched it off her, gobbled it up, and smiled. Then he crashed face forward onto the table.

Barbara breathed out. The internal damage from the herbs in the biscuit would resemble a heart attack. She would be the grieving widow.

“That’s one murder in my life,” she told Minky. “That’s a confirmed unknowable fact. And now I’m going to enjoy my 44,326th cup of tea.”

Minky nuzzled her. “Do you know what Gerald’s problem was?” Barbara continued. “I’ll tell you. Gerald’s problem was that he wouldn’t stop talking.”


Why this location?