Passive-Aggressive Iced Tea

Russell sipped his iced tea, the liquid moving up the straw, curling around three times before finally reaching his lips through the miracle of suction.

As soon as the drink his tongue, he stopped sucking, turned his head, and spit the liquid onto the ground.

“What is this?” he said.

“What do you mean?” Michelle said. “It’s iced tea.”

“Yeah, but it’s…it’s…bitter.”

Michelle put a hand on her hip, pulling up the green summer dress above her knee, just a little farther than she would have been comfortable with, had she not been distracted by Russell’s insult.

“What do you mean, it’s bitter?” she said, looking down at her guest in the patio chair, his neon swim shorts causing her to squint. “It’s iced tea.”

“Yeah, but I like my iced tea sweetened.”

“Okay, remember earlier when I asked you if you wanted it sweetened or unsweetened?”


“And you said the latter?”


“That would mean unsweetened.”

“No, latter meant sweetened. Former means the previous one, so what iced tea is before its sweetened.”

“Latter and former refer to places in the sentence, not places in time, Russell.”

“No, I’m pretty sure it’s chronological. Trust me, I went to college.”

“You studied business. I majored in English.”

“Yeah, but I’m right.”

Michelle stared at him for a moment, then held out her hand. “I’ll take that one back then.”

“No, it’s okay, I’ll drink this while you get me another. It’s hot out.”

Michelle walked back inside, stomping her feet a little louder than she normal would have. She pulled another glass from the cupboard and set it a little too hard on the counter, causing a loud clanking sound. She took the sweetened iced tea from the fridge, poured it in a little too recklessly, spilling a few drops on the counter, which she left there. She then took the glass out to Russell and handed it to him.

“Thanks,” he said. Michelle rolled her eyes.


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