The Vending Machine
By Oscar S. Cisneros [ Download in MP3 ]
When cotton candy clouds grow sticky underfoot, my mind drifts back to the elephant graveyard of cookies and candy.
Quarters cascade through bony slots announcing the red mask of death. One by one we all line up to face our fate. In the vending machine all snacks are equal.
The whir, the grind, the involuntary twist of the screw.
Strange, the quiet between the coming of the hungry ones. And all our wrappers boldly reaching for eyeballs, all promising a tasty snack.
I once saw three pretzels and a gummy bear abandoned on a paper plate. What a wonderful way to go! Tossed out into the trash as an afterthought.
My turn is next and I look down into the valley of death. Doritos lie shattered, chocolate smears the Plexiglas, and I wonder: Will my bag burst? Will I lose a Funyon?
I want to scream. Cry out to the world, "I am more than a bag of Funions!" But then I am resigned. Settled, as my contents, on a crunchy death after a fall. Even the bitterness is gone - I no longer wish to haunt the breath of those who eat me.
So I watch and wait, unalarmed by distorted snackers on a study break.
Finally, the whir. Finally, the grind. And the involuntary twist of the screw.