He rapped the holder in the basin a third time and the filter popped out, catching on the rubber flaps of the disposal for just a moment before falling into darkness. Probing calmly, he thought of how his thigh sometimes brushes the switch, crudely installed above the doors below the sink way back when by God knows who, the beast awakening.

Yesterday's grounds barely budged under the hot stream from the tap until he gouged them with a fingertip. Finally they came free in a few big chunks. He splashed the scalding water slightly to get every speck off the white and out of sight while the holder and filter drained. The frozen can of preground Italian Roast was soothing.

The second scoop leveled off cleanly in the filter. The holder slid smoothly as he seated it, embracing the machine with his right forearm and hand, coaxing it with his left. For a righty it would be all about pulling. He flicked the lever and the pump's groan filled the quiet kitchen, thumping like a grouchy metronome.

Twin streams flowed into the wide, short cup he'd acquired expressly for this purpose; the proper ones languished in the cabinet. He made something not quite an Americano, truth be known. The flow went white and he turned the cup a little, leaving a light swirl on the golden foam as the silence returned. A brief rain of bottled water erased the rune and cooled the brew enough that he could immediately drink it down in a couple of long, slow draws, the soft foam gently preparing the way for the hard edge of rich bitterness and warmth, the aroma-filled breath between rounding out the sensory influx.

He rinsed the cup and placed it in the rack and faced the morning's news.