Tea for Zero

The museum guard was like a hawk searching for her next meal. Squinted eyes peering through red framed glasses, jet black hair in a tight bun, and crossed arms.

I had only taken three sips of my steaming cup of English Breakfast tea when she zipped towards me.

“No drinks allowed. Museum rules”, she chirped at me.

I glanced at her, then at my tea, then back at her.

I contemplated taking a fourth sip.

“Would you have confiscated Georgia O’Keeffe tea if she had one too?”, I almost retorted. Her artwork, after all, was hanging on a nearby wall of the Brooklyn Museum. I then glanced at the 20th Century arm chairs on display, and noticed that all the art was behind thick, spill proof panes of glass.

Instead of debating the matter, I accepted my uncaffeinated fate and headed towards the garbage bin by the elevator bank.

My mother and brothers watched on, amused by the low-stakes altercation.

I noticed a presence behind me. The guard was escorting me to the garbage bin, stride for stride, to ensure my tea’s demise. She was more prison guard than museum guard. I felt like a sullied Ned Stark en route to the chopping block. This must have been the lamest guard escorted infraction in American history.

The small silver garbage bin was sitting beneath three 15-foot stained glass windows displaying archangels and wooded pastures. I considered removing the tea bag and sucking on its dark tea leaves for one final energy jolt. It was too much effort after my soul-sucking walk of shame. Instead, I delicately placed the sealed paper tea cup into the garbage bin.

The guard nodded approvingly, and returned to her nest.