The Festus Cookie factory had never been an industry leader. Lawrence couldn’t say whether the darn things were even edible, but he had his doubts. He’d sworn off cookies about twenty years ago after venturing into the quality control lab. One cursory look around and it became immediately obvious that the product contained neither quality nor control. But, his job paid the bills such as they were, so he’d never tested the waters of the free market. Dynamic, Lawrence was not.
Today, his thoughts wandered to scenes of X-Games skiers plummeting down icy slopes, feeling the breeze in their faces as they launched themselves in acrobatic somersaults, hoping to impress the judges and snow bunnies who hung on their every move. Lawrence needed a shot of danger- a quick surge of adrenalin- spontaneous and totally whack!
Then he saw it. A steel cable ran from the roof, diagonally across the span of the factory. It dropped at a rate that, to Lawrence’s now-fevered eyes, approximated an Aspen ski slope. In bygone days, the cable had been used to transfer messages from the offices on the ground floor to the supervisor’s station high above, the same station where a certain bored employee now formulated a daring plan of attack.
Why not try it? The papaya enzyme had thinned him to a mere sprig, and despite his fifty years of breathing noxious gases, Lawrence felt fit as a fiddle. Surely, the transom attached to the line would accommodate his weight. The time was right... it was now or never.
Lawrence felt his nostrils flare as he vaulted onto the transom. The wheels anchoring the small flat-topped box to the cable chattered from years of disuse, but nonetheless started the odyssey toward ground zero. Duke Kahanamoku himself would have envied Lawrence’s style as he streaked downward past ovens and vats, over white-clad employees pointing fingers at the shrieking comet.
Nothing lasts forever. Lawrence Grubbs learned this when the cable snapped. Time assumes a slower pace when man and board separate, but reality came calling as the intrepid bon vivant plummeted head first into an open vat of chocolate. Just before making contact with the viscous liquid, Lawrence had occasion to regret his decision not to take the swimming class offered by the YMCA last summer.
The extraction process took less than five minutes as his co-workers rushed to his aid. An EMT crew loaded a gurney containing the suddenly browner Lawrence Grubbs into a waiting ambulance. Charley O’Dell patted Lawrence’s arm and nodded. You’ll be okay, you freakin' idiot.
Ed Connerly glanced at O’Dell and asked why he’d yelled “Fire!” as the action took place.
“Would you have come if I’d yelled ‘Chocolate!’?”
The two giggled quietly, assessing the situation, each shaking his head in disbelief. No permanent damage would come of the excitement, even if they would most likely soon be breaking in a new shift supervisor.