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Second piece I just submitted, got to work on another to think of.

There you are, minding your own business, when it hits you: hunger. You gently chide the beast, for you have tackled this foe before! Few alive still remember your virgin days against the mealtime menace back when you lay astride a wooden cage, declaring to the great heavenly mother of being ravaged by the great emaciating beast while your closest comrades, Snuggy Boobums Bear and Big Blankie were helpless to save you from your struggles! No, those days are long past you. You’re a man (maybe), and like all men(maybe), you know how to handle this.
You spot the welcoming glow of your port-of-call: a machine in black holding goods of fine vituperative properties rest within for the modest sun of pocket change. So, as you step up to the machine, you find a bag of crisped potatoes with a delightful artificial cheese coasting on it, and you count its price as your hand scoops coins. Ah ha! Just enough. With mind set, you roll three coins into its silver slot, press two buttons, and await satisfaction. Await satisfaction. Await
Phase I – The Declaration of War
So you gave away your hard-earned money away and the machine did nothing, did it? Well you would not be the first to be cheated by the illuminated box of lies. Oh, it’s not always so bad. Sometimes it behaves, and you leave happily satiated with good food and excellent service. Those are happy times, those wonderful salad days when you believed that machines would not betray you like mechanical abominations from a postapocalyptic future.
Let’s not be too hasty. Perhaps the machine is delayed. Perhaps you need some time for it to actually fathom how important it is to provide excellent service. Maybe all it needs is one long, intent, stare into its psyche to jar some repentance into its cold, mechanical, soul before it realizes the error of its ways. One long stare and any moment it will do it. Any moment and it will relent and you will have chips. You can feel it start to relent that metal spring and it will be rightfully yours. Just five more seconds. Staaaaaaaaaartiiiiiiing…
Now. No? Now. Give it five more to soak in the moment. Now. Right about…

This is not the end. Sure, you could call that number on the side mentioning that you can reach them for maintenance issues, but that sticker is a banner of surrender and you know it and you, YOU, are no coward to petty demands! You will have satisfaction and it will come to you with a mighty taste of justice one crisp at a time!
Clearly though, this has gone beyond diplomacy, this means war! Prepare an arm to push the panel. Now, push the button. Again. Again! The LCD display will say to insert coins, but you will ignore this! Press it until it feels like it feels like giving in, you know that you are doing the right thing. Now tap the glass. Do it with all three out of five fingers. That’s right, press it! Tap it again. Feels good, doesn’t it, getting revenge? Tap it again. Now… push!
Next, look for the nearest fire extinguisher. Grab it and proceed to give the machine a light tap. Now a hard one. Harder. Watch with cathartic joy as it dents up. Now bust it open. Laugh in joy as the glass shatters with a beautiful splash of crystal. That’s the satisfying experience of revenge. Now pick up the military issue flamethrower and prime it, taking precautions as dictated by the guidelines for proper use of-
Oh wait, hold on.

Phase III – The Fuzz
You didn’t actually *do* the things I told you to, did you? Wait, it might not be that bad, it doesn’t look like security.

Phase III – Not The Fuzz
Be cool, she probably doesn’t even know what you are doing. No wait, don’t be cool, she might be trying to get your chips. Best to watch her. Watch her… no, don’t watch her that much, she might think you’re a molester! Look at the panels. Look like you’re trying to use the machine, the evil thief machine. The vending machine will play along, since it’s the original guilty aggressor to this entire crime to begin with.
Oh god, she’s looking at the machine. She might be trying to come and take the chips. You must stop her! Press the buttons some more, act angry. Angrier. Remark to yourself on how the stupid thing ate your chips. Angrier! No, not that angry, now you just look stupid. It’s okay, she’s walking away. Maybe it was a good thing to look that angry. No, wait, she’s using her cellphone, she might be calling the campus police. You were too angry! Why do you have to be so angry?!

Phase IV – FINE
You know you considered getting a second one before, maybe you can get two with one stroke. Maybe it will fix itself. Maybe this is a buy two for two scheme inspired by the conglomerate of snack item companies forced to make you buy more because they think you need to eat more. Remember that stuff about how you only needed one? Yeah, forget that, we’re going for two. Reach into the pockets, pull out your remaining change, you definitely have more than enough. Start inserting coins. Keep inserting. Hey, is that a wheat penny? Hold on to that one, that’s pretty cool. You still have enough coins? Keep inserting. Hmmm, this might run close. More coins. More. Let the hypnotic sound of the coins going in fuel your need to feed it more. Just not the wheat penny. Almost there. Wait, you really only have that much? Oh well, feed some more. It’s not like there’s a dollar slot here, but keep putting more. Wait, what do you mean there’s no more coins? Even the wheat penny? What the hell, man. Wait, how much more do you need? Five cents? There might be a way around this.

Phase V – The False Surrender
Remember that this is false, we do not give in to terrorist acts of chip withholding. No, but you will prostate before the machine. Look underneath. Ahh, that’s right, underneath there it is: a nickel. The bastard knew this would happen. Reach your hand in. Remember that scene in Temple of Doom where the lady has her hand reaching into this pit and it’s full of hundreds of multi-segmented bugs with pincers crawling all over and scrambling slowly onto her skin and into her hair she’s trying to reach for the switch? Try not to think about that as you push your hand into the unknown orifice. Feel anything that seems coin like? Okay, good. Now pull it out. It isn’t sticky, is it? That’s so gross if it is.
Now insert the nickel. If you failed to put it into the slot, then maybe the machine deserves to steal your money. Just enough. Now, press those two magic buttons to make it work.
What do you mean the buttons don’t work right? Well yeah, pressing the buttons repeatedly like that might make them act up, which was a dumb idea. Okay, try again. Press harder. Okay, maybe slowly, but firmly. Just press it like you’re trying to crush an M&M with a finger. Still not doing it? Damn it. Okay then… is there anything else that looks all right? Fine, try the chips again. Okay, is it working? How about now? Now? There’s those cookies over there, try those. They’re only one day expired, you can still eat those. Now reach in. Hey, there’s cheese-flavored chips in there!

Phase VI – Enjoy
Dig in, enjoy. You deserved it. Crack open the refreshing sound of the bag and dig in, reveling in the crisped goodness. Enjoy knowing that you have earned this pleasure as each bite crinkles in your mouth with the aftershock of each lingering flavor that comes with each bite. As you finish each one, enjoy and think to yourself only one thing: you have thirty more minutes until lunchtime.


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February 2014

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