Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Daily Story 167: Charles and the Cracker Factory

Charles followed William down the hall past rows of pasty, emaciated college students - each of which was hooked up to a device that reminded Charles somewhat of the milking machines on his uncle's farm. The tubes ran from their heads up into the ceiling somewhere, and pulsated rhythmically despite being apparently empty.

William finally reached the enormous double doors and threw them wide, revealing a factory floor covered in machines and conveyor belts.
"And this... is where the magic happens!" He threw his arms out and spun in a circle, entranced by his own cleverness. Charles inspected the conveyor belts and saw that they were covered in crackers much like the ones he was used to. Following the trail back, he saw vats of ingredients... and hoses snaking down from the ceiling.

"Excuse me, William," he said, trying to get the entrepreneur's attention, "but... what exactly do you use all those people for? What is in these tubes?"
William turned slowly, grinning like a Cheshire cat. "Our most magical ingredients!" he yelled suddenly. For the hundredth time, Charles wondered if he had somehow underestimated the man's insanity.
"Those things you saw in the hallway suck our very bestest ingredients out... this tube takes their creativity, that one takes their will to live... and I forget the other three. They aren't big sellers."

Charles took a bite from a 'creativity' cracker. It was dry and tasteless, crumbling to dust in his mouth. "Ugh! It tastes awful!"
William shrugged. "Charles, have you ever had Casu Frazigu?"
"No, I don't think so. Is it good?"
"Heavens no!" William shouted, covering his ears and looking scandalized, "It's incredibly vile. Essentially it's cheese with maggots crawling through it. But the point is, it's a delicacy. People will pay top dollar to eat crackers flavored with someone's will to live."
Charles picked up another cracker on reflex, but caught himself before eating it. "Okay, so... if I eat the creativity crackers do I get creative?"
William giggled like a little girl. "Do you sprout feathers when you eat chicken? Don't be silly."

Charles had barely started his tour of the factory and already wanted to leave. Legal loophole or not, it seemed wrong somehow to trap college students and drain them of creativity and the will to live - especially when it didn't seem to do much for the crackers. Preparing his excuse in his head, he turned to find William and instead discovered an army of tiny people, all slightly melty-looking. William ran up and clapped manically. "My homunculi!" he yelled. "Oh, just wait, they do the cutest little song-and-dance numbers."

The homunculi started to scream in harmony, and Charles bolted for the exit.