Writing Prompt : What you ate for breakfast

The National Library of Medicine delivers the news, and he can’t decide if it’s good or bad.

Confusion, muscle twitching, rapid heartbeat. Those are only three of the fifteen possible symptoms, but they are the three he is struggling with in pained bewilderment.

His left eye twitches in the socket; asynchronous in rhythm with his heart that should get pulled over for going 50mph over in a work zone.

He was never a breakfast person. Why eat when you aren’t hungry? Why stuff your mouth with grease and carbs and oil and slow yourself down before the day has even started? Except for the occasional brunch with the lady he never ate breakfast. And those didn’t really count; brunch had booze, no job to go to after, and generally happened past noon anyway.

No breakfast for him. Only coffee.

Just coffee. Black. None of the garbage to dilute and water down the sweet, life sustaining caffeine that had single-handedly gotten him through seven years of desk-chained monotony.

Today those chains were thick.

The morning was busy, slick with buzzwoods and flittering interns and a pile of reports 7 inches high. He had lost track of how many times he had refilled the 20 ounce canteen. Twice? Three? Four?

The stack hadn’t even visually reduced; he would work through lunch which was a gross mistake. He never missed lunch.

No food, only coffee.

2:00 his eye pulses.

2:05 the words begin to blur in VIII.A.1

2:10 his chest is off to the races.

Was this what a heart attack felt like? No one around him looks up, notices the bewildered man now speaking to himself from the fourth cubicle past the Exit sign.

He tries to type at his terminal. His symptoms, the strain, is Bob wearing a hotdog costume? VIII looks like Cyrillic scribbles now.

Caffeine Poisoning. Is that a thing? It’s a thing. How many ounces did he drink without food?

His stomach starts to lurch. Symptom #4.

The report pile looms.