I write to you from the dimly lit chamber known as the Shillman Hall seating area. In the distance, a “Dunkin Donuts” sign flickers and hums, casting an orange glow through the derelict space.
The sign speaks my name. I respond to its beck, and make my way to it through an endless sea of tables.
The Dunkin calls, “What have thee?” as I approach. “Iced c-coffee,” I shakily respond. It has been three days since I’d last ordered a coffee, and I was beginning to grow a bit upset about it. Tears welled in my eyes. “Milk?” Dunkin asked. “Soy, please,” I say. “Soyboy,” it replies. The ding of the oven echoes through the hall, and the smell of chive-stuffed bagel minis fills my nose. I begin to long for them.
After what feels like hours, I finally muster the courage to ask, “How long have you been here?” The Dunkin’s sign shuts off, leaving only the faint glow of my Logic and Computation Zoom lecture in the distance to illuminate the scene. In a time long ago (freshman year), I would have feared for my life. But I have since grown tired of fear, and now stand dull-eyed and empty in front of an entity that is somehow even more powerful than ACL2s.
“It is my hundredth year, and ninth day here.” I found this response odd, as I had always thought Northeastern University only existed since 2018, when its acceptance rate hit below 20% and I decided it was worthy of my application (feel free to message me for my SAT/ACT/GPA/AP stats).
The sign flashes back to life, a bit brighter this time, I noticed. “Who are you?” I asked.
“I am your blood and flesh,” Dunkin replies. That’s kind of a weird thing to say, I think, but yeah fair enough. “Is there any hope for me?” Dunkin’s sign flickers; “One day, maybe.”
“No, I mean, like, am I going to pass my philosophy class?” I clarify. “Oh, probably. It’s philosophy” Dunkin nods. “How did you just nod?” I ask, but Dunkin does not reply. I blurt out my final inquiry– “Are you happy here?”
“What is it to be happy?” Dunkin murmurs, “Is it anything more than just an exercise of the soul? All mortal creatures have but one concern, the constant toil over pursuits that extend every part of themselves, advancing on different paths with the goal of obtaining a perfect good, a perfect coffee; a perfect happiness.”
I nod. My coffee is ready. I pick it up, I thank Dunkin, and I retreat to my corner of Shillman. I take a sip; it tastes like gasoline. It makes me happier.
I realize now that Dunkin is eternal. And, truthfully, in any universe you choose to exist in, I know that Dunkin will always rise above us. Dunkin is happy. Dunkin has won.