“Those Low-Down, Mean-Spirited, Hand-Tremblin,’ Mood-Swingn,’ Nerve-Jitterin,’ Caffiene-Lackin’ Blues.” 

 

A Semi-Parody by: Irish (Terry) McNeely, 

(Many thanks to the Delphi Board & Buds for the idea!) 

7:00AM… 

“Well, isn’t THAT a fine thing to say to your pregnant wife,” exclaimed Alex as she tearfully turned away from her scowling husband and quickly left the kitchen/dining area. “Damn!” thought the aggravated and very grouchy Texas Ranger. “I didn’t mean to get her all upset, drat it! But EVERYTHING seems to get Alex upset these days! All I said was that I really hate having to drink de-caf coffee first thing in the morning just because she can’t have any. You’d think I’d accused her of poisoning the coffee pot!” Mumbling to himself, the aggrieved party went in search of his equally irritated spouse. (We draw a curtain over who had to apologize to whom… ;) 

9:00AM… 

“You know, Walker, if you’re drinking de-caf at home, why don’t you drink it here?” Trivette’s voice grated in Walker’s ear. “You come here and first thing, you pour and drink a couple of huge mugs of “black as mud” regular coffee and then you’re wired tight as a snare drum for hours on end.” “Oh, shut up, Trivette! It’s bad enough to have Alex on my case about the coffee, without adding an “office wife” of a partner nagging me too! Alex keeps going on and on about how I’ve reached the age where I need to pay attention to cutting down on caffeine and carbohydrates.. You’d think I was some decrepit sixty year old! I don’t need the same attitude from you! Especially since there is absolutely no reason why I should stop drinking coffee the way I want it!” James Trivette shrugged his shoulders and issued his long time partner and full-time friend a challenge. “All right then, Walker. Let’s see if you can get through even ONE day without regular coffee, and then both Alex and I can judge whether or not being without caffeine has any effect on you. I’ll bet you four tickets to the next home Cowboys game that you can’t last a day without getting the shakes and the blues!” “You’re on, Jimmy, “ Walker shot back. “No regular coffee from now until this time tomorrow morning!” “Fine, Walker, and just to make sure you don’t cheat at home tonight, I’m calling Alex and telling her about our bet.” Walker balefully eyed his grinning fellow Ranger as Jimmy dialed Alex’s office. Cupping his hand over his mouth, he murmured, under his breath, “rotten tattletale!” Alex was delighted with the proposition and promised Jimmy that the small can of regular coffee sitting, unused, in the kitchen cabinet at home, would not be touched that night. Hanging up, Jimmy turned to Walker and said, “It starts right now, buddy!” With that, Jim walked over, plucked Walker’s coffee mug out of his hand and went to toss the contents in the sink in the men’s room. Returning, he set the mug down in front of Walker. “Partner, you can fill that with de-caf, fruit juices, sodas, or water. Heck, at 5 PM you can fill it with whiskey or beer even, but you cannot fill it with regular COFFEE!” A triumphantly giggling Trivette plopped down in his chair, thoroughly pleased with himself. 

NOONish… 

By lunchtime, Trivette was, to himself, admitting that he was not nearly as happy about this bet as he thought he would be. Ranger Cordell Walker was not in the best of spirits, to put it mildly. “Actually,” Jimmy thought, “he’s the near equivalent to a dang Texas grizzly bear, if we happened to have any grizzly bears in Texas, that is.” They’d been out in the Farmer’s Branch area, checking on the reported theft of six identical Dodge Rams from a local television production company, and Walker had growled, hissed, ground his teeth, snorted, and damn near “pawed” the ground. He’d been short-tempered and ill humored with the Executive Producer and the production crew, nasty to the poor fellow who coordinated the fleet requirements for the show, and practically blown away the security director who really was just trying to help. This was Walker with an attitude, a really bad, bratty, petty, mean, and crappy attitude. Trivette had no hope that the situation would improve, especially as they had met Alex for lunch and Walker had NOT been sweetness and light to his heavily “with child” lady. Actually, Trivette had stopped Alex from throwing her soda in her husband’s face and stomping out. Alex had still stomped out, but at least the water had stayed in the glass, barely.  

5 PM… 

James Trivette had never been so happy to see 5 PM roll around in his working life. The entire afternoon had been comprised of soothing people’s feathers and de-ruffling Walker’s. Jim’s partner had been a surly, sourpussed, insensitive, derogatory, sharp-tongued, all around curmudgeonly S.O.B. And Jim was utterly relieved to be passing this caffeine-deprived crocodile onto the croc’s soon to be suffering mate. Trivette did not envy either his partner or his partner’s wife, ‘cause it was going to be one long, long, long evening at the Walker family ranch.  

7 PM to 10 PM… 

Alex had prepared a gorgeous meal, which received zero appreciation. Normally, this was a fact that she would have brought to her husband’s errant attention. However, discretion is the better part of valor and Alex was laying low. Since she was temporarily stuck with a tail wavin’ scorpion, it seemed best to stay quiet and walk softly. Walker had a splitting headache, which aspirin didn’t seem to help, was jumpy as heck, and was answering even the most innocuous questions by spitting back the answer. He knew perfectly well he was being a total jerk, but he just couldn’t seem to help himself. After listening to him grumble at the TV for over an hour, Alex finally had enough and told her grousing spouse to go take a flying leap. The emphasis was fiery, and was followed by a sailing sofa cushion, which hit Walker a good one, squarely in the face. On that note, a thoroughly disgusted Alex hauled her very pregnant self out of her armchair and stormed up to bed. 

A little after 10PM, a very sheepish Walker slipped carefully into his bedroom and waited a second to see if any further volleys of thrown items might come his way. When none did, he tread lightly over to the bed and whispered, “Alex, are you still awake?” Turning over to look up at her contrary cowboy, Alex raised an eyebrow and inquired, “Are you going to grumble your way to bed, too?” Walker responded, contritely, “No, honey, I’m sorry. I’ve been, uhm, you know, kind of a jerk.” “Kind of?” Laughed Alex. “Ok, a big jerk. I admit that you and Trivette are right. I do need to cut down on the caffeine. And I promise to start right away. Just de-caf from now on.” Alex stared at Walker, put her hand to her temple and rubbed it. “Oh, goody,” she said, dryly. “Another whole week of a very cranky Cordell Walker undergoing caffeine withdrawal. Ah, what joy. You know, honey, I think I may go visit some friends down in Waco for the rest of the week.” Walker just grinned and started in on tickling whichever interesting areas of Alex he could manage to get a hold on… 

Next morning, 9:00 AM 

Trivette viewed his partner warily, expecting a snarly greeting in keeping with Walker’s caffeine deprivation. Jimmy was shocked when Walker actually said a calm and pleasant, “Good morning.” “Yeah, right”, thought Trivette. “This ain’t gonna’ last.” Jimmy kept a surreptitious eye on Walker, just waiting for him to pounce on the black sludge that was Walker’s normally preferred form of coffee. When the bearded Ranger didn’t hit the office coffee pot for more than an hour, Jim thought that hell had, perhaps, actually frozen over. However, he thought it might be worth half his life to say so outloud. Jimmy had also learned that discretion is the better part of valor. Round about 10:30, Walker was looking over the Dallas Morning News to see if there was any local crime news he should be up on, when Alex came through the door, holding something behind her back. Waltzing up to Jimmy’s desk, she asked, laughingly and in an obvious fake whisper, “Well, is the bear back in his cage?” Jimmy grinned and started to reply when Walker broke in, “Hey, I’m doing just fine, thank you very much,” he replied in a miffed tone of voice. “I haven’t had a single cup of coffee this morning.” Alex moseyed on over to Walker’s desk and showed her husband what she’d been hiding behind her back. She placed a large can of Maxwell House Lite, which was ½ 1/2 caffeine, ½ 1/2 de-caf, in front of her husband. “And since you’ve said that we’re right and you need to cut down on the caffeine, I thought this would be an excellent start. This way you don’t have to give up all your coffee, all at once. Once you’re used to this, then maybe you can move on to all de-caf. Jimmy came over, grabbed the can and headed over to the coffee maker. “A pot of coffee, coming up, Thank God, “ he laughed.

Walker grinned, but Alex took that moment to firmly remind him that he owed Jimmy four home Cowboy tickets. Walker deflated, and sighed. Suddenly he sat straight up, his attention riveted on an article that had just caught his eye in the Dallas Morning News. It was in the entertainment/arts section, to which Walker usually paid no attention. “I don’t believe it! I don’t believe it! Hot Damn! They can’t, they just can’t! It’s my very favorite show; the only one I ever bother to watch, especially on Saturday night. Man, how could they?!” Alex was mystified and just stared at Walker. Jimmy caught on immediately. “No, you’re kidding. No way. They haven’t, have they?” “Yup,” answered Walker, glumly, “they’ve cancelled “Cooper, Texas Ranger.” Alex sighed. “Oh great,” she thought, ”caffeine AND Chuck Norris withdrawal, at the same time.” Jimmy walked over and, sympathetically, placed a full mug in front of his friend. “Here, buddy, have a cup of coffee.” Walker and Alex both punched him in the shoulder, hard. 

The END… 

NOTE: I had a lot of fun with this because my husband, due to his high blood pressure, was recently told by his doc to dump his strong coffee habit. We’ve made it through the Maxwell House Lite stage and are heading into the total decaf stage. (I highly recommend Maxwell House French Roast Decaf, water processed, LOL!) Thank heavens; Dan has NOT been a mythical Texas “grizzly bear,” LOL!!! 

The reference to “Cooper, Texas Ranger,” is, of course, Hayes Cooper.  

All the usual Legal Disclaimers.