Hart-Benton knew fear when the store clerk told him he’d reached his limit for coffee. He’d have to put it back. No more coffee. Ever. Once your personal limit for consumption was met, you could no longer purchase that item. Rationing, it was called, although Hart-Benton didn’t find much rational about it. There was plenty of coffee on the shelf. Bags of it. The store had so much coffee they must throw away the oldest bags over time if they aren’t consumed, or so Hart-Benton thought. He also knew that throwing away food never happened because food never got old, never expired, all because of the rationing. There was always enough for everyone, up until the time when they’d used all they were allowed, when they’d grown old. Hart-Benton knew, down in the marrow, that running out of coffee meant more than just that he’d had too many second or third cups and used up his allotment early. No, it meant that Hart-Benton himself was old, that soon he’d expire, his time allowed on this earth used up, too many sunrises and sunsets, too many seasons, all behind him.