Jeremy walked into the break room, mug in hand. It shook a little as he moved toward the large, imposing black machine, but he stopped, took a breath, steadied himself. It’s okay, Jeremy, you’re almost there. He moved forward again, a little calmer.
The machine whirred, groaning in mechanical annoyance at this peon come in supplication.
Jeremy set his mug on the altar, the mouth of the machine’s greatness. He pressed the buttons, making his prayers known, hoping to be favoured by the device.
The machine bleeped in response to every mortal contact with its idol. Jeremy began shaking again, but pushed through, pressing buttons, going through menus, finally reaching the moment of truth. He pressed “Start,” and waited, hopeful.
The buzzed, then whirred. There was a grinding sound, like glass being crushed in a compacter, fresh crackers in the jaw. Jeremy waited, staring at the mouth.
Finally, it came. From the spout, a thin black liquid draining down. The machine had judged, and found Jeremy worthy of its blessings. For today, at least.
Jeremy took his full, steaming mug, beaming in pleasure. He walked toward the door as Brad set his own mug down. The groans from the machine already warned of Brad’s coming rejection.