giant robots fighting god

Coca-Cola Blak: A Mediocre Vignette of City Life
Peter Tatara - July 3, 2006

My girlfriend is (I presume sexually) addicted to coffee. Whenever we pass a Starbucks, she begs, pleads, and makes promises she never keeps for me to get her a venti affogato-style espresso frappuccino. No matter when she gets out of bed, be it 7 AM, 11 AM, or 3 PM, she's not awake until she has a Dunkin' Donuts large caramel swirl latte kicking about her veins. So, when Coca-Cola announced the rollout of a new coffee-infused cola -- Coca-Cola Blak -- she filled my ear with air the color of compliments until I was at my neighborhood bodega (the earnestly-named OK Foods) at 11:43 PM purchasing her a four-pack.

Of course, I only agreed to buy her the fizzy water because I felt writing about my first sip would make a good story for Giant Robots Fighting God.

Back at my apartment (or, as I like to call it, Fort Awesome), I sat the four bottles of blak on the table. They looked like coke bottles, only tiny. Each was a minute glass vessel of black and gold with a regal, precious presence. Lifting one, through the bottom, I could just make out the midnight elixir contained within.

Slowly opening the first, the snap of carbonation broke the quiet of the night air. The blak crackled. Sniffing the contents, there was a swirl of sweetness spiked with warmth. I smelled coke and coffee.

I wanted to share this moment with my girlfriend and my roommate, but while both had accompanied me to OK Foods, neither was now anyplace to be seen. My roommate had purchased a three-prong adaptor at the bodega to get his PS2 working in Fort Awesome's stylish, retro electric sockets and had now disappeared into his room with a note scrawled on his door. PS2 works. Won't be out until 2009. Can't blame him. The PS2 is God's greatest gift to Man. It's a box encasing the sweet ambrosia of Olympus. It's like a girlfriend who always puts out and bakes fresh muffins every morning. Wait, girlfriend? What the hell was my girlfriend doing? Peering around the corner, I found her with two empty blak bottles she had somehow stolen from the kitchen by her feet, staring at something -- probably the Oxygen Network -- on television.

"I thought we were going to drink our blak together," I sniffed. "You know, like a couple."

"You're gay," she groaned. "Besides, it sucks. It tastes like coke and coffee."

Dragging my deflated heart back into the kitchen, I took in my bottle of blak. I was alone. So be it, then. I raised my blak and took a sip. Then another. Then it was gone. The bottle contained a half pint of cola, if that. Holding my empty container high, I sucked, reaching for any hidden drops. None came. Wiping my mouth, I tossed the blak bottle into the recyclables and sat down next to my girlfriend.

"It sucks," I said. "It tastes like coke and coffee."

And it did. While sucks may be too strong a word, the taste of blak was positively uninspired, no different than if I poured coke into my girlfriend's morning coffee. While I suppose there was nothing bad about the taste, there was nothing that lifted blak beyond the sum of its parts -- coke and coffee.

So, I sat there watching The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency with my girlfriend long into the night. I chuckled at one point, thinking about the appropriateness of my blak purchase being at OK Foods. My girlfriend elbowed me in the stomach. We continued to watch Oxygen in silence.

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