Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The Vending Machine

Unfortunately I didn't post something for the blog, but I will post something I wrote for another purpose. It's probably too long for one post, I'll chop it in half to add suspense and intensity (not). I had to hand in a piece of writing that related to Utopia. So I wrote this story and handed it in. It's not very good, but it's more interesting than an essay:

Mr. Hall was quite an ordinary man. He lived with his wife on the outskirts of the city in a small lemon coloured house. He had a neat white picket fence along a tidy green lawn and a small dog that often barked at the shifting laundry on top of the lawn. Mr. Hall was a husband, and a father of two well-mannered children. He wore tiny, smooth glasses above his nose and his well-kept brown moustache. He was a thin man who was perhaps a little less than six feet tall in height. He wore plain cotton shirts and long beige slacks.

Here was a man who lived a very ordinary life, not ordinary in a monotonous repetitive sort of way, but there was nothing particularly exceptional about Mr. Hall. Although, perhaps one might notice that Mr. Hall had a very interesting occupation. You see he was a specialist; Mr. Hall spent most of his adult life restocking vending machines. When he left school and became an adult he decided to get a job that didn’t require a lot of effort, but gave him a consistent salary. This is the reason why Mr. Hall began his long career of restocking the vending machines. Employed by the refreshment businesses his job was to drive his truck to a list of various establishments, schools, hospitals and offices. He visited each institution every workday and saw the same, faceless people who acknowledged him with a mild look of familiarity and boredom. Sometimes the children at the school would ask him if he enjoyed his job, if he ate any of the candy from the back of the truck. Mr. Hall would just shake his head, no. Although they might dream of being around candy all day, his life was much too tedious for the shock of sweetness.

Each day Mr. Hall would wake up at five forty-five in the morning to prepare for the day ahead. He would shower, put on a clean uniform, brush his tidy, thinning hair and eat his breakfast. He ate the same breakfast every day, a piece of unbuttered toast, black coffee and two hard-boiled eggs. After he was finished he would put on his little cap, and make his way to the factory that supplied the refreshments. This factory was his home base and everything began there. He would find his truck at the factory and stock it with the candies. When he finished loading the plain cardboard boxes inside his truck, he would drive past the cold metal gates and out into a world that needed him.

Mr. Hall’s first stop was a school; every morning he would enter this dull parking lot. He grabbed his cardboard box full of bright candy and headed toward the cafeteria with its blinding fluorescent lights and dirty, speckled floor. He arrived at this school very early; he wouldn’t have to take the chattering and questions of the students. Days happened like this, they just came and went so repetitively they faded into a single blur. He moved through red doors and stairways, cafeterias and waiting rooms, walking through his entire way with a fast pace that never changed. He didn’t notice his day was over until he reached the last name on his list, the name of a school in the middle of the town. Mr. Hall had never cared for the schools, but they were an important part of his occupation. He made his way into the school cafeteria, the same as all the others with white cinderblock squares, brown tables and the bright glow of the vending machines. Vending machines like big aliens, out of place in this dirty and dull cafeteria. He moved from one bright glow to another, blue, red, yellow. They were all different, candies, cola, juices. There was one that sold different flavours of milk. Banana flavoured milk was a very odd concept to him. Mr. Hall had memorized each product, each row, each of these machines. This was not because he particularly enjoyed the products but because they had been repeating in his view since he began this job. He moved to each vending machine quickly and with all the skill one can acquire after years of doing his job. He finally reached the last vending machine and he was looking forward to coming home and resting. The last vending machine was a standard brown one, with a clear front so the bright candies it sold were visible. He was finishing the last row of candies, neatly placing chocolate bars on the rack. Mr. Hall was pushing the cold metal rack back into the heart of the machine when he felt a tremor run through his hand. He looked around for any indication of what caused it. Then, without a second to think he found himself lying on the floor, in intense pain with bright lights blurring above his head. He came to his senses with an overwhelming sense of claustrophobia, the pain and the brightness was clouding his senses. He realized now that he was stuck, his legs trapped beneath the heavy machine, his face inches away from the metal racks and their bright candies. Amazingly, the racks hadn’t severed his body and left room to spare for his arms. Perhaps this was because he was so thin, he wondered if he was that lucky to be spared.

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