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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

The Vengeance of the Vending Machine

Sometimes, it just doesn’t pay to be greedy.

I worked late at the office tonight, and by eight o’clock, I was starving. I’d only had a puny salad and a hard-boiled egg for lunch, because… well, frankly, I have plenty of unhealthy things in my life already. If eating a bowl of rabbit food occasionally means that I don’t have to give up any of the other vices, then it’s worth it.

I said, ‘occasionally‘.

“I could hardly contain myself as I sprinted down the stairs to what I was sure would be a Wonka-esque wonderland of crispy chips, flavored popcorns, and other delicious, highly processed, overpreserved, and largely artificial treats.”

At any rate, that spinach and cucumber crap wasn’t doing me any good at half-past-dinnertime. I typically only use the company snack vending machines in emergencies — but this was an emergency, dammit. So I grabbed a fistful of quarters and hit the vending machines in search of rations.

This was my first trip to the new, improved, and reportedly breathtaking bank of vending machines in the upper lobby of our building. The management had recently seen fit to augment our single, lonely vending device with a whole second machine full of goodies, and marked the arrival with much pomp, in the form of a company-wide email. I could hardly contain myself as I sprinted down the stairs to what I was sure would be a Wonka-esque wonderland of crispy chips, flavored popcorns, and other delicious, highly processed, overpreserved, and largely artificial treats.

(Hey, I had a salad for lunch. I don’t want my stomach getting entirely used to that healthy garbage.

Don’t look at me that way. What are you, my mother?)

Finally, I arrived at the vending area, flushed with excitement — and exertion from running down two flights of stairs. Clearly, I needed something salty and fried to boost my energy. For medical reasons.

(It’s complicated; you probably wouldn’t understand.

I’m not a doctor, but I play one in my head sometimes.)

My first disappointment came as I peered into the goody machines, and found that they contained exactly the same products. Ruffles over here, Ruffles over there. Popcorn over here, popcorn over there. Fritos here, Fritos there, everywhere a Freet-Freet. I could double my DoubleMint if I wanted, but as tempting as QuadrupleMint gum might sound, I was in the market for something more substantial. And preferably, a larger selection. I guess they figured if the machines were identical, they might actually manage to keep one of them full of crap occasionally, unlike the solo one that stays empty six days a week. It’s a theory, I guess.

But there was no time for waxing philosophical; the pocket change was shaking in my hand as I lay there in the lobby, gasping my last starving breaths. That’s where our resident rent-a-cop found me, when he walked in to freshen up his coffee.

Me: *gasp* *pant* Unnnhh…

Security Guard: You gettin’ food there, bub?

Me: Oh. Um, yeah. Just getting some food.

Security Guard: You wanna get out of the floor?

Me: Uhh, sure. Yeah, I can do that.

Security Guard: Good. How about not hamming it up so much next time?

Me: Hey, you got it. I’ll do that.

Security Guard: All right, then. Carry on.

(Yes, I have to kiss our rent-a-cop’s ass. They give the guy a nightstick — and I have a tender skull. What can I tell you?)

So, I was left alone to contemplate my choice. That’s when I got greedy. I noticed one machine was almost out of these little bags of baked pita chips. Delicious baked pita chips. With cinnamon and sugar. I nearly drooled on my pants, just seeing them there. And I was infinitely relieved the security guard had already left. Those guys tend to frown on public drooling during their watch.

There were only two bags left in the machine, and one of them was hanging, oh-so-tantalizingly, on the outside of the spring that turns to dispense the goodies into the hopper. Some poor sap had deposited a buck for a bag of cinnamon-flavored heaven, and gotten stonewalled by a defective mechanism. I could almost see the rube, shaking and banging at the machine, trying to loose that bag from the machine’s clutches. And then finally, dejectedly, slinking away chipless and defeated.

You can see where this is leading, of course.

In my highly starvitated state, I leapt at the chance to score two tasty bags of treats for the price of one. I slung my quarters into the slot, jabbed at the buttons, and watched that beautiful spring twist both bags toward the open air inside the machine.

*twist*… *twist*… *twist*… *twi-*

The spring stopped. The second bag had marched forward, and crammed itself into the first bag. I mean, it was all over it. If the bags have any reproductive parts on their persons, then there’ll be a little baby bag of pita chips on the way soon. It was almost obscene to look at.

But the first bag didn’t fall.

Oh, it leaned. If it was tantalizingly close to falling before, now it was positively precarious. It was hanging on by one tiny measly corner of the bag, as though the laws of physics and fair play had been suspended inside the vending machine. The bags mocked me from their perch, with their mouthwatering pictures and the scandalous satisfaction implied by their RDA warning labels.

And just like that, I was the rube. I shook the machine. I banged the machine. As quietly as I could without alerting the security guard, I rocked the machine, trying to loose those bags from the machine’s clutches.

And then finally, dejectedly, I slunk away chipless. And defeated.

Some might say the moral of the story is ‘That’s what happens when you give in to greed.’ Others might say, ‘You’re better off without that unhealthy garbage‘ or ‘You could stand to lose a few pounds anyway, there, Tubbo.

(To these people, I say: ‘You can shove it up your Frito-hole, ugly.

Also, shut up. I’m just ‘big-boned’. Meany.‘)

Me, I think the moral is: ‘If you manage to choke down nasty rabbit food for lunch, make sure you have a bag of Doritos and a Snickers bar handy, or you’ll be miserable all night.

It’s either that, or I’m gonna need a glass cutter to ‘rescue’ those stinking bags of chips from the new vending machine. I like the first way better, though. Seems less likely to get my tender noggin nightsticked, and it comes with nacho-flavored snack chips. That’s a moral I can live with.

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