My Coffee Addiction Belongs to Arthur Morgan Now

I jingle-jangled up to the clerk’s desk at the general store in Valentine. Uncle made sure I heard him say he needed more whiskey at least four times before I acknowledged the request. Hosea had told me in camp that I better grab some coffee since I was looking worse for wear.

I opened the huge catalog and flipped through every page. Not sure the sundries, mind you, but the horse accessories, dusters, and rifle cleaners. Every catalog entry in Red Dead Redemption 2 so far is worth a zoom and a read. Actually, everything I’ve picked up with scribbles on it has deserved a closer look.

Like Shenmue before it, Red Dead Redemption 2 makes the mega un-video-game-like task of picking up objects and examining them from all sides an alarmingly high percentage of the fun. The world-building in this game, holy moly.

I made the necessary boozy purchase for Uncle (one bottle never seems to be enough for him) and grabbed a can of dry coffee for myself, then the game told me I was done with the necessities with a small LA Noire-like chime. I kept reading, though. There was a page in the hunting and fishing section and an unassuming listing for an item with the note:

CUTHBERT & PRATT
COFFEE PERCOLATOR

Use the Percolator to brew coffee at your camp.

I guess the dry coffee I bought would simply refill the camp’s ability to serve coffee each morning. Hosea had made coffee for me at camp and again when we went hunting, but having my own coffeemaker was about as big of a no-brainer purchase any game could throw at me. Hosea knows Arthur needs his coffee. All cowboys need coffee. What did cowboys think coffee was? I mean, everyone in 1899 thought cocaine should go in everything including chewing gum.

Hosea’s obvious love for Arthur in the early goings of Red Dead Redemption 2 is expressed in many ways but the easy exchange of coffee during early morning greetings is lovely to me in a game of frequent ugliness. The often profound ugliness of Red Dead is so different than the manufactured, cheap ugliness in Rockstar’s other flagship. You know, the one with the cars and impossibly uninteresting “satire.”

Just look at Hosea’s face as he approaches Arthur in the image below with a steaming cup.

I have my own relationship with coffee. Caffeine is companion to so many and having battled frequent headaches for almost two decades, it’s a welcome chemical in my body (and part of the cycle, of course). More than my dependence, my wife makes two macchiatos every morning, one of each of us. We drink them together before we go to work and school, respectively, and it’s part of the tapestry of our lives right now.

She’s really good at making them and tries to make designs in the foam. The most they ever look like are ink blots, but we try to parse something recognizable in every cup like fools on grassy knolls pointing at clouds.

Coffee is connected to my brain in every conceivable chemical way. Roughly ten hours into Red Dead Redemption 2, I see how much the Van der Linde Gang loves Arthur and how Arthur loves them, especially Hosea. Is it love, though? Addiction can certainly feel like love. Maybe that’s all it is.

I feel a sense of dread about discovering the truth, but I’m holding onto hope that somewhere past the reflexive nature of Arthur’s relationships there’s something deeper. At least I bought my own percolator, just in case everything goes to hell in a handbasket.

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John Warren

I miss Texas sometimes. Wheelchair person. Professional wrestling is humanity's greatest achievement. He/his, y'all.

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