“Tales of a Scorched Coffee Pot” — G1

Jason McGathey
7 min readJun 2

“He’s almost eighty now, but he’s got a mind like a calculator,” Duane tells Edgar, en route to the Bellwether Snacks headquarters, “and he still works, too: two days a week, like clockwork. You can count on it.”

This trip across town was Duane’s idea. He’d stuck his head into Edgar’s office and said he was cruising over to the corporate office, and suggested this ride along. It was intended as a rapport building exercise, most likely, between the two of them, but is also Edgar’s first opportunity for meeting certain key management if not ownership figures. So they hopped into the president’s spacious, silver colored truck, and now have just about reached their destination.

Though Duane projects a brooding aura, Edgar is beginning to see that his boss is for the most part a really nice guy. Sure, nobody you would want to mess with, Edgar thinks it goes without saying, but yeah, the boss’s baseline is probably much friendlier than most would suppose. He has a ton of experience, too, having broken into this business as a meat cutter, decades ago, and slowly working his way up through the ranks, via numerous different companies. And he still has a soft spot for the meat department, it seems to Edgar — if earmarking a product line he wants to introduce, thus far it’s almost always something from this category that Duane is bringing him.

In fact, though Duane doesn’t remember this, he was hanging out behind the meat counter at Palmyra, along with Arnie for some reason, on the night that Edgar met him. Edgar of course had no clue who these guys were yet, nor of their standing within this company. He was just in town for the holidays, thinking about moving down to this state, and noticed this establishment, physically near his parents’ house, but right up his own experiential alley. Edgar has logged more than a decade in the grocery industry, and before that had worked at a couple of banks, as well as the accounting department at a factory, and briefly handled the books for a family-owned pet store. His former girlfriend’s family, to be precise. But he feels drawn to the grocery world most of all, a far more interesting, vibrant environment than any of those others. So he and his dad swung through, well after dark on some random December night, and scoped out the Palmyra HHM, had briefly spoken to Duane and Arnie…