Story for the Day: A Tin of Chocolate
Someone received a tin of fondue chocolate for his birthday. That same someone was also rather displeased with his gift.
|Not a pleasant birthday for him|
They spoke of the islands for sometime, Kai Linaa creating as accurate a depiction as she could, placing her gingerbread pieces all in the right places. Apologies were made for the crudeness of the shapes, and the inability to give any sense of realism or scale to it due to the limiting space, but shehonoured what she deemed the relative size of the main islands, and could mark out where the landmarks were on each, making a temple from fermented honey and fashioning the docks on Sanhedhran out of Lucentian stikis. They continued along that line, attending the formation of the islands and leaving the palm tree to rest on its side, dreaming in languid ponderation of a life that was not on its side, and they had nearly finished their decoration of the two largest islands when Rautu emerged from the larder with a look grim displeasure.
“There you are,” said Boudicca. “We had nearly begun to despair, you were gone so long.”
“Woman,” the giant breathed, “you said my gift was here.”
“And it is there. You’re holding it.”
In the giant’s hand was a small cylindrical object, seemingly fashioned out of a malleable metal, sealed and penetrated on all sides. Around the container was a piece of printing paper, and on it was written: Marridon Chocolate Factory’s Finest Liquid Chocolate. The giant read the label again and thrust the container toward his mate. “What is this?” he demanded.
“You did read the label. Surely you know what it is.”
“Why is the chocolate in here?” Rautu’s eyes blazed in a quiet fury. “There is no opening to this.”
“And Marridonians think themselves all inventive,” said the commander laughingly. “What you are holding, Iimon Ghaala, is the very latest in Marridonian gustatory technology.”
Rautu looked at the container and frowned.
“Chocolate encased in tin?” said Alasdair, canting his head and spying the container with curiosity.
“Some contrivance meant for food preservation, some new method done by a machine of some kind. The food is put inside the cylinder, and then it is sealed at the top to keep air and moisture from getting inside, and then it can be kept anywhere.”
Alasdair seemed distrusful. “But the same thing can be done with a jar and a waxed lid.”
“That is exactly what I said, but the man at the inventor’s pier would convince me otherwise. He would tell me that this was the best way to preserve anything, that Frewyns did not know their own misery in missing this invention, and that I absolutely must have this container to show everyone in the keep the properest way to keep food safe.”
“This chocolate is not safe,” the giant asserted, “it is imprisoned.”
“Oh, there was some sort of small opener he would try to sell me, but I told him if the top need only be punctured and pried, I could do that very well. There is a small indentation there, and I think a knife wold take the top off.”
“If it’s made of tin,” said Alasdair, “you can rub the sides against a rock and it would come off eventually.”
Rautu pressed his thumb and forefinger against the sides of the container, and the tin yielded slightly.
Martje soon entered the kitchen from the stairs, and before she could say her goodmornings and abuse Rautu for having a birthday, the sight of the tin cylinder caught her eye. It was an extraordinary object, one she had never seen before in her domain, and when she neared it and gave it an appraising look, she instantly decided it was wrong and did not belong in her presence. “What’s this here, kin?” she asked, sneering at the container.
“A tin of liquid chocolate from Marridon.”
Martje’s nose curled. “Tin?” she exclaimed, offended. “Nah, we don’t need that. We got jars. Sure’s good enough for us. ‘Em Marridonians always tryin’ to improve what don’t need improvin’. Jars’’ do us just fine.”
“Accodring to the label,” said Boudicca, reading, “this tin can be heated over a small fire once opened, and the chocolate can be served warm.”
“Don’t sound safe to me, kin,” said Martje, with a firm shake of the head. “Heatin’ it while in there? No, wouldn’t do it. What if it wasn’t sealed proper? How long’s that been on a ship? How long’s it been on a shelf? Where’s it been sittin’, in the sun, in a cool dry place? I sure don’t know. That there thing could have infection in it, and heatin’ it a bit’d only make it worse. One of ‘em things could kill you, sure. Bacteria and all, kin. And how’s that opened anyway?”
Rautu soon showed her how the container was opened, however; a slight tiwst of his hunter’s knife, and the top was pried off, but where the giant expected to find pleasure in the joyous throes of a rippling morass, he found only a solid block of chocolate. He stabbed it with his knife, and the chocolate chimbled off in a plume of dust.
“Oh, my,” said Boudicca, smiling to suppress a laugh. “I believe it has to be heated then.”
“This it not liquid, woman,” the giant bellowed, eyeing her most avidly.
“No, I daresay not, unless Marridon’s scientists have discovered liquid in a solid state somehow. I believe that’s liquid chocolate in its infancy, Iimon Ghaala. He moisture was probably taken out to prevent contamination, as Martje said. I’m sure only a few moments over the fire will—“
The giant had not time for a few moments; he had waited long enough for his birthday present, and the delay of a few seconds could be borne no longer than a few minutes. He did not trust the can besides: it was an odd contraption at any rate and was accused of being too contemporary to be useful, and without waiting for another suggestion to be made, without even expressing the possibility of placing it over the range instead of in the hearth, Rautu drove his knife into the solid chocolate, twisted the handle, and pulled it out, taking the block of solid chocolate with it. “I will eat it as it is,” he seethed, and he marched over to the table and sat down, investigating Kai Linaa’s island map whilst he gnawed on the chocolate block.