“I’ve never been to Bavaria,” said the specialist. “Is it nice?”
“I wouldn’t know,” said the Bavarian, who was still staring at the barren kernel corpse that the specialist had left on the Formica as a reminder.
“Just so you know, I didn’t enjoy that task.”
“I give the snacks their feelings and I figure that people will respect them.”
“Treat them as pets?”
“Well, hopefully more than that,” said the specialist, who stroked his beard to suggest to the Bavarian that he actually had some authority when he, in fact, didn’t really know what the fuck he was talking about.
“How did you get into this racket?” asked the Bavarian.
“It started when a prominent candy company, which shall remain unnamed, hoped to revive sales of their flagging chocolate candy product. They had put out a series of commercials featuring this candy with thin pipecleaner arms and legs, and injecting a bit of personality. If you saw these commercials stoned, you’d come down bad. Because chances are that one of your pals had a bowl of these candies lying around.”
“You speak from personal experience.”
“Not really. That’s what the candy company had pointed out on the dossier.”
The Bavarian poured herself a shot of Courvoisier.
“Continue,” she said. “I’m interested.”
“It was thought to create a sentient snack. One that would make the eating experience more engaging and interactive. More importantly, this would lead to an increase in sales, with the customer believing that a snack with feelings would bring extra value to his purchase. It was suggested by the candy company that since these commercials featuring anthropomorphic snacks had managed to get their message out, the experiment should start there.”
“And why did they approach you?”
“I was a professional animator. We were just beginning to animate the world around us. You may recall that Pixar was becoming very concerned about how cartoon street theater was cutting into their profits. But then, how many people had $25 to see a movie?”
“I want to assure you,” said the Bavarian, “that this was my first time eating sentient snacks.”
“Why didn’t you listen to my instructions?”
“I was bored! All right! They banned alcohol. They banned cigarettes. They banned coffee. There’s nothing left but the snacks. And most of them are sentient.”
“Is that your Twinkie defense?”
“A well-known case from decades ago. In simpler times.”
“I had to kill something,” said the Bavarian.
But the specialist knew that snack homicide, thankfully not yet on the books, left long-standing effects. He could see the headless kernel twitching. He could see new arms stretching. The machete had taken the lopsided popcorn out for a few hours. But it would resuscitate itself as often as necessary before settling into the intestinal tract of an easily duped consumer.