by Pete Milan.
(A large studio apartment. Stark, almost bleak. Sun streaming in through the windows. The man sitting in the plush easy chair is so thin that you want to turn away. The outline of his skull is almost visible through his skin. He is blonde, light-skinned, with soft brown eyes.)
Q: So, do you just want to start talking, or...
A: Where would you like to begin?
Q: It's the twentieth anniversary of the contest.
A: Yes, of course. The contest. I'll be thirty soon.
Q: I guess I'd like to know your thoughts on it all.
A: (laughs, a little bitterly) My thoughts. Well...my first thought was joy, I suppose. I couldn't believe it when I saw that ticket glittering under the candy wrapper. Just the thought of it! An entire lifetime of...of... (coughs violently)
Q: Do you need some water?
A: Nein, I'm fine. It just...you say the word and it conjures images. Smells. Tastes. And... (coughs again, louder this time) Sorry. Sorry. Chocolate. An entire lifetime of chocolate.
Q: And then you went to the factory.
A: I was so excited. Unless you've been there, unless you've seen what the man did, you can't describe it. I can tell you about candyfloss grass and peanut brittle tree bark all day, but to be there...you'd think the smell would have made me sick, even then. All that sugar. But it didn't. The smell was there, but it...it was powerful without being overpowering, if you know what I mean. Then there was the river.
Q: (after a long silence) The river.
A: Yes...yes. You know, sometimes I wonder if I deserved it. Maybe I deserved to be sucked into the drain and shot through the factory's pipes...to spend all that time at the bottom of the chocolate-mixing barrel, and dragged out by the little men, and... (begins to sob) But what I was supposed to do? Do you enjoy chocolate?
A: Do you enjoy his chocolate?
A: Then can you imagine being ten years old and already a sugar addict, being a chocolate lover since the day you were born, can you imagine being presented with an entire river of the finest chocolate in all the world? I'll tell you something else, I didn't slip. Somebody kicked me! One of his little men, I've no doubt! It was like a trap! It was though he'd set a trap for me, and I fell right into it!
(The tape is paused for some time to allow the thin man to regain his composure.)
A: Anyway...I never had another crumb of chocolate. Not one. The shipments come every month, of course. That was the deal. A lifetime's supply of chocolate. I give it away. Send it to the children's hospital. They seem to enjoy it. I can't enjoy it. Not anymore, not after I almost...
Q: I understand there was a lengthy period where you refused to eat anything at all.
A: No, I eat, I eat. I just had a very fine salad. Lots of grains. Good for the circulation.
Q: But nothing sweet.
A: No...no, nothing sweet.
Q: Thank you for your time, sir.
A: Not at all. You are interviewing the others, yes?
Q: I am, yes.
A: In order, I suppose.
Q: You were the first.
A: Well, then, please pass my regards along to Violet.
Q: I will. Thank you, sir.