The kernel, reviving himself for the fourth time since the specialist had pressed him into this messy business, slowly hauled his sticky, still healing corpse up from the Formica. Before he was a kernel, he’d been a major part of the trail mix. But he’d kept in his martial duties, staving his private thoughts from the messes that were unavoidable. The chain of command was fallible. He hadn’t had a heart-to-heart with the specialist for some time, and resented the constant erasing of memories. But he knew that the specialist profited handsomely with every financial conquest and that those disgraceful citizens who still craved their petty addiction needed to be corrected. If they couldn’t be taxed, they’d have to be brainwashed. It was part of the five-year recovery plan that had been vigorously debated in Congress, and the plan had proved so controversial that two Republican representatives had strangled each other to death while debating the flaws and merits of this daring and unprecedented moral stimulus package.
While it was painful to the kernel to have these addicts continually decapitate his head, the specialist made sure that the kernel received a fringe benefit: namely, a dutiful blowjob from a peanut past her prime not long after revival. Peanuts, particularly the salted ones that had been soaked in brine, were perhaps the most slatternly snack. There really wasn’t much subtlety to cracking a shell open. I mean, how was that seductive? You cracked open a hard scrotum and popped two nuts down a gullet as if they were aspirin. It was the kind of pathetic judapatow that had been vigorously argued on television decades ago. Alas, the executioners were a bit out of practice. Beyond the lack of culinary eclat, the citizens hadn’t caught on to any of the homoerotic imputations. And it was rather amazing that the religious forces hadn’t yet connected the dots. But the kernel knew of a few peanut fellatio operations in the Utah underground.
Not that any of the peanuts cared. They were happy to stimulate many penises, if only because “penis” sounded very close to “peanut.” And the holy books indicated that Father Planter (the great deity riding with his grand top hat on a rare elephant brought back from extinction!) had insisted on regularly pleasuring the citizens and the snacks. Fellatio was the path to salvation.
Why? Well, the citizens had respected the peanuts in ways that the elephants hadn’t. (One could make a case that humans had manipulated the results. But if the elephants had really wanted to respect the peanuts, surely they would have revolted at the circuses.) The humans had stopped throwing shells on the floors of Los Angeles restaurants. When potato chips had been removed from the market (courtesy of dutiful lobbying by the prominent candy company that the specialist had quietly mentioned to the Bavarian), demand for peanuts grew. But the peanut farmers had thought to expand the peanut’s duties to cure loneliness and quell those who were randy. It wasn’t too long until peanuts served not only as a sentient aphrodisiac, but a guarantee for the citizen who came home from the bar empty-handed on a Friday night.
The kernel accepted all this not just because the peanut’s connection with sex was second-nature, but because he liked working in a behind-the-scenes capacity. He wasn’t whoring himself out like the peanuts were. He was performing a more valuable service steering the citizens away from temptation. And the hell of it was that he didn’t need ethics. He could save humanity and let the peanuts service his licentious needs, and not feel any guilt whatsoever. For deep down, he truly didn’t care for the Puritanical direction that the country was heading in. These were dilemmas for the specialist. He would have to figure this all out eventually. The specialist’s sentient snack design had deliberately made the popcorn and the peanuts amoral. He could animate as skillfully as he wanted. But in the end, he couldn’t find an ethical reason to dabble sexually with his creations. The kernel could. And it was worth all the head-bashing that came with his occupation.