The Candy Machine
He was clutching two crisp one dollar bills freshly plucked from his wallet. It was no odd coincidence that both the man and the candy machine happened to be at the same place at the same time. It was no matter of chance. The man had sought the machine out. He was here on business.
That the man was about to drop $1.25 for a candy bar had never been a question for debate. He had been tasting milk chocolate in his mind for the last forty minutes and he was now but a few clinkity-clinks and beepitty-beeps away from pure sweetness. The only thing left to be determined was exactly which sweetness it would be.
He fed in the first bill. The machine snatched it away from his hand like a carnival barker, as if to take it before he could change his mind. There was that moment of hesitation while the man waited and wondered if the fickle machine would reject the bill. But it clunked lightly and flashed “$1.00” in the tiny window. He offered the second bill. The machine grabbed it and digested it and “$2.00” flashed in the window. Smacking his lips, the man
reached to punch“E3”.
This complicated matters. He weighed the pros and cons: M&Ms on E3 vs. 100 Grand on E1… M&Ms on E3… 100 Grand on E1… M&Ms on E3… There could be no bad choice here, either selection was a winner, either would more than sooth the savage chocolate candy beast that grumbled inside of him, demanding to be sated. He closed his eyes and reached for a button. He would surprise himself. This was even better.
E1 or E3? E1 or E3? He reached for a button and pushed. He heard and felt the satisfying clunkity clunk of candy dropping down through the mechanism and landing at the bottom with a klackity thonk. He would play this surprise one step further – he kept his eyes closed and reached down to the receiving tray below, he pushed open the door and felt around inside.
It wasn’t an M&M, he could tell immediately from the packaging – it was a single bar. There was a slight sense of disappointment, he had after all come for Peanut M&Ms.
But this momentary disappointment was dispelled quickly as the thick, chewy, satisfying chocolate and caramel goodness of a 100 Grand bar filled his head. But as he lifted he knew immediately that something was wrong. The candy bar in his hand lacked the sturdiness and the heft of a 100 Grand bar. It was too light, too boxy, too symmetrical.
He pulled it from the tray and opened his eyes.
He hated 3 Musketeers…
…and now he was out of money.
He looked around for someone to complain to but there was no one there. How could this have happened? He scanned the candy machine to see how such an egregious error could have been committed. His candy fix was ruined; someone would pay.
And then he saw it. He felt so stupid. He took a bite out of the offending chocolate bar just to convince himself that he hated it and then tossed in into the trash. Muttering the “F” word, he considered kicking the machine as hard as he could and then, completely frustrated, walked away disgusted, leaving a row of silverish 3 Musketeers swinging like bats on rack #E2!