It was either a pill or a piece of candy. Those were my options.

The firm but non-threatening voice coming from the speaker box behind me next to the door I'd been led through {click} offered me a simple choice: Would you like a pill? Or a piece of candy?

I'd volunteered my Saturday away for a couple hundred bucks. I'd been hearing the radio ads for a long time. You know the ones - Are you under 30, male and a non-smoker? ReoVeen Labs is conducting short term clinical trials and we want to pay you for your time and opinions. Call today for more information.

Finding yourself down on your options can sometimes make some things seem more like an opportunity than a risk. A phone call and a signing trip through a passel of disclaimers and here I am.

Alone in a small room barely able to contain the small white table and chair, the couple of unblinking corner mounted eyes and me.

It's so quiet in here. Someone is waiting for me to make a decision. This seems simple.

Candy, I break the quiet with. Half a moment passes and then a small panel I hadn’t had time to notice fssshts open at my left. I can easily reach in and retrieve the single pastille without getting up.

The only sound I am aware of beyond my breathing is of the wrapper as it says goodbye to its raison d'etre.

As I place the candy in my mouth, I feed the wrapper back into the white space.

The panel closes as my lips meet each other again.

Now I add the noise of hard candy clicking against teeth as my tongue forces acquaintance.

This butterscotch somehow reminds me of the warmth I feel when I drink a good cup of coffee. It’s like a warm all over reward you might get after mastering exquisite timing --

you hustle into a cafe seconds after a sudden summer downpour’s begun. You’re a little damp but not a disaster, your friends are there, you hadn't expected it and couldn't have planned it better. You shake off the few drops that have found you and you’re ready for anything. It's a day to sit, laugh, and sip.

It’s like a commercial only it’s your life. Everything is good.

I’m thinking about this and how good it made me feel.

Funny how I rarely drink coffee anymore, there’s so much other choice when it comes to beverage. Plus, if you don't know how to pronounce all the new words for small, medium and large, even the process of getting one can be daunting.

This whole coffee culture that's sprung up around me amuses me. Do people really believe they can’t function without the stuff? We all know better.

The voice comes through the speaker again. I’m told that I can now sign out and collect my earnings. How strange, this has to be the easiest money I’ve ever made. I’m soon on my way.

I step out into the sun and begin walking toward the bank. It’s amazing how a few simple zeroes can change your mood so quickly. Stepping lively, I'm already forgetting that I’ve spent mere minutes fleeceing a large company out of a large amount of cash for nothing.

You know what would be great right about now?


Display Name said...

mmmmmm...I can taste it. I wonder what would have happened had he taken the pill?

gizmorox said...

I do not know better. Coffee=life. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Good story ;)

Debby said...

do you think both choices would have led to coffee? hmmmmmmm?

Dale said...

Yummy coffee. I may have been tasting one while I wrote Angela, I'll never tell.

Coffee = Life, one of the first great learnings in Mesopotamia Gizmorox!

I'd like to think that the pill would have led me to a different angle, maybe to bubble tea Debby!

porchwise said...

"Blind" pill studies, don't you love 'em...but you know my character pays little attention to them.

Dale said...

You sped away so quickly porchwise that there was no time to sign you up!

angel said...

yeah baby! one grande-wild-iced-moccha-with-wings-and-chocolate-sprinkles coming right up!

chelene said...

Mmmm...coffee. That's right, I suckle on the Starbucks teat. Nice little story you got there.

Holly said...

OK, I admit I just sat on my back porch and split a bottle of wine with a friend. It was a nice time (I hadn't had a good conversation with this person in a long while) and a nice evening--the weather was lovely, the first decent night of the year for sitting on the porch and drinking wine, and it was great to watch the sun set. The upshot is, I'm pleasantly tipsy. All of which is preamble and explanation of the fact that I was really intrigued that the character was "told that [he] can now sign out and collect [his] earrings"--and then I reread it and realized he could collect his earnings.

It's a very cool story, and if I wasn't buzzed I wouldn't have misread it. I certainly don't want you to add earrings just to please me. But maybe you could put earrings in the next story?

or am I being silly in ways I'll regret when I'm sober?

Dale said...

The wine and conversation sounds good. The story titles may not:

The Days of Wine And Earrings
My Kingdom For Your Earrings
How Green Was My Earrings
Earrings Keep Fallin'On My Head

Dale said...

Angel - I'll have mine to go, it's got wings right?

Chelene - Aren't you supposed to be reporting on Star Teats for the Tribeca Film Festival or is it over and done with now?

chelene said...

LOL, I don't even know how to respond to that! Star Teats! Good grief.

Dale said...

I can't even believe I said it.

justacoolcat said...

I can.

Nice story, I am going against the flow and guessing another piece of candy.

sweet trini said...

tea's good too. loved the descriptions and idea.
walk good.

Dale said...

I knew that you could coolcat. It could easily have been a candy that made me think of world domination - you just don't know until your fingers start walking across the keys.

For the record Trini, I love tea but hate butterscotch. Glad you enjoyed the thing!

JJ said...

Subliminal marketing strikes a new blow. Good story.

Dale said...

Thanks JJ. I plan to go back and see what else they're offering next week.