Bullets ricochet off the rubble of what was once Damascus as thousands, anticipating airstrikes, flee the city for the uncertain safety of refugee camps.  In Memphis Tennessee, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf shift supervisor Brendan Tesseract disconsolately removes a pin from his war map.  Insubordinate barista Terry Nyborg thumbs his nose at his manager and impishly draws a penis in another customer’s latte foam.

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I NEED A VACATION FROM THIS VACATION

For months, the two headstrong java slingers have been trading jabs at store meetings and regional meetups for coffee shop and bakery professionals – Nyborg referring to his shift supervisor as “a fat slob”, “lyin’ Brendan”, and simply “sad!”; Tesseract countering that his underling is “too puny and incompetent to seize and maintain power” and that “bean squeezers come and go, but [Tesseract] will be shift supervisor for life!”.  Only recently have things escalated into the international arena.

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FIRST AS TRAGEDY, THEN AS FARCE

Tesseract originally recommended Nyborg for the job, believing he could easily manipulate the inexperienced percolator activator, thus improving his own standing within the greater Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf organization.  However, Nyborg’s Huckleberrian workplace antics and egotistical disregard for employee guidelines left Tesseract with little choice but to poison the disobedient steam jockey with polonium-210.  In a prank war worthy of Jim from The Office, Nyborg responded to the attempt on his life by ordering an airstrike on his shift supervisor’s many holdings in the Middle Eastern country of Syria.

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BEST.  PRANK.  EVER.

Now, as the workplace hijinks intensify, customers never know what they’re in for when they walk into this popular Memphis coffee spot, and thousands of Syrian nationals are stranded without access to clean drinking water or basic healthcare.  These civilian shrapnel in the clash of the capers can find solace in the knowledge that their lives have been forfeited for the sake of an ideal more radiant than mere humanity.  As their homes and places of worship crumble like so much biscotti, the people of Syria can look to the mighty Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf corporation and know that, in a distant land none of them will survive to visit, either one of these guys will have to clean the bathroom at the end of the night, or else the other one will.

Rambunctious orphan Amena Al-Salek, a displaced victim of Tesseract and Nyborg’s Home Alone-style tomfoolery, was one of a dozen lucky refugees to receive a complimentary cup of coffee from International Coffee & Tea, LLC.  Upon tasting her very first hot brewed get-up-and-go, she reportedly smiled through broken teeth and said, “They’re killing us!”

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THE CUP IS TOO HOT.  THE COFFEE IS TOO BITTER.