The Chocolate Girl
Once upon a time, in a land far away, at the top of the tallest mountains, was a small village that grew into a small country where they had the biggest banks that the nastiest people could hide their money in. It hadn’t always been that way.
It had started out as a small village. Yosh and Freida Switzer looked for a place away from where they had been. A place that was more understanding. A place where they could live their lives in peace and prosperity. A place that nobody lived.
So one day, after finishing some delightful pastries that Frieda had baked, they packed their wagon and looked south, and up, to the peaks that always were white of the nearby mountains, and with their few possessions, (Yosh & Frieda weren’t terribly wealthy) made their way into the future.
They saw a beautiful valley and knew they had found a home. Soon after they opened a small deli and bakery and were very happy indeed. The valley was lush and flowers bloomed of every color known to man. Peasants from nearby valleys would travel for a nosh and some takeout, and soon they had enough money to build a small castle at the top of a nearby hill.
One day, Freida had a pain and the next thing she knew she had a baby girl. She named her Harriet.
Freida was so surprised. After all she had been eating all those pickles and was 33 years old. How could this be? Yosh was very happy. He doted on the little girl and nicknamed her Lamb Chop after a lamb chop he once ate that made him so incredibly happy.
Life was good for the little family, at least for a while, but time can be as wicked as it can be wonderful and one day when Harriet was but a maid of sixteen Yosh and Freida were felled by a salmon mousse that had terrible germs in it. They died horribly and terribly and Harriet was all alone.
She was a brave girl. She tried to keep things working, but she couldn’t bake like Frieda and was a vegetarian. She had to sell the shop to a sausage maker named Hans who leered after her lustfully and dribbled tobacco juice down the side of his huge jowls.
She just stayed in the castle and read big books full of stories about Princesses and Goblins and wondered if one day she might escape to one of these lands, or if she’d be here forever surrounded by all of these sausage eating Goblins?
Soon her money ran out. There was a knock on the castle door. It was mister Shickelflugen. He wanted to turn the castle into a chocolate factory. He had big ideas, didn’t everyone in the world love chocolate? He offered her a chunk over several large glasses of wine and she began to see his point.
So they came to an agreement. He would turn the castle into a chocolate factory. She would work there as his assistant and he would pay the back taxes on the castle. It seemed a good idea.
She would work from sunrise to dark chopping wood for the fire to melt the chocolate, emptying the huge sacks of cocoa beans into the vat to cook them, hauling the milk from the milk wagon. Meanwhile Shickelflugen would travel the valley and sell the finished sweets. He would sell all he had and go to the Inn and drink lots of Ale and slap the serving girls large bottoms and eventually come back to the castle singing songs about conquering the world.
Harriet would tremble when he’d arrive like this. He would yell and scream at her that she wasn’t working hard enough and where would she be without him to take care of her? Sometimes he would even slap her which was really bad because people shouldn’t hit each other, ever.
One day a big wagon drawn by eleven horses arrived and fifteen men carried in a huge shallow copper kettle. They fitted it over a newly dug coal pit in the middle of the chocolate factory. Shickelflugen had discovered a new way to make chocolate so that more milk and less cocoa would be used. All they had to do was mix it longer so he had this great kettle made.
Harriet walked over with her wooden spoon and looked at the huge pool of goo. This wasn’t going to work. “You idiot! You have to get into the kettle and walk around. Stir the chocolate with your feet.”
“With my feet?” Harriet looked to him.
“Yes with your feet. Take off your shoes and lift your skirt.” He bellowed.
So she took off her shoes and lifted her skirt and climbed into the goo.
“Oooh, I don’t think I like this.” She was terribly uncomfortable with the goo squishing between her toes. But she did as he said because she was becoming quite afraid of him and after awhile she didn’t mind the wet goo sloshing around her legs. Actually she quite started to like it.
The new kettle was a success. People loved the new chocolate which cost them less to make and with the new tub Harriet was able to make more and more. She barely would sleep. The good news was that she made so much chocolate that Shickelflugen would have to travel further away and for longer to sell all that she made.
She grew lonely and tired. She couldn’t stand the smell of the stuff anymore. Shickelflugen wouldn’t hire anyone to help her, and whenever she would ask for money would be told that it cost so much to pay for everything, and pay off the taxes, and what was she complaining for anyway? She had a place to stay, food to eat and he did nearly all of the work. He grew very angry and after slapping her stormed out and headed towards a nearby inn for much ale and sausages.
Harriet leaned in the window and looked out at the moon and the stars. She looked at all of the sleeping flowers and the smoke coming from all the chimneys. She thought to herself how big the town was growing and started to cry. She missed Yosh and Freida. She missed being happy.
Then a magical thing happened. A star fell from the sky and landed on the castle roof. Harriet ran up and lying on the roof was an image to behold, so she did.
“Are you my fairy God-mother?”
“Fairy God-mother? No honey, I’m Jason, I’m you’re fairy, um, Uncle. Boy are you ever a mess. Look at that hair.”
Harriet started to cry.
“No, Sweetie, don’t cry. Everything will be ok, really.”
She looked up at him and felt better. He put his arm around her and led her back down into the castle.
“This place can use a good decorator. You know I’ve been watching you for ages now. We have to do something. All this unhappiness will make you old before your time.”
Harriet smiled and laughed. “I’m so glad you’re here.”
“I know.” Smiled back Jason.
“Where’s your magic wand?” She asked.
“Ooh, I don’t take that out in public.” He replied with a blush.
“Well what are you going to do? Can you cast a spell and take me away from here? Maybe you can turn those mice into white stallions?” She was so eager.
“Honey I’m not that kind of fairy. There’s only so much I can do.” He wiggled his nose and some Bette Midler music began to play. “You see, I’m a dream fairy. I can do anything in your dreams, but I don’t have the powers to change people into things they’re not. Oh if I could!” He smiled wickedly.
Harriet was so disappointed. He gave her a hug.
“Life’s not so bad Sweetie. You just have to wish for things. Wish for them real hard and some of them might come true.” He hugged her tightly again. “We really have to do something about this place.” And then he exploded. There were bits of fairy all over the place.
It took her hours to clean up. Bits of Jason were all over the place. She found his magic wand near the simmering kettle of goo and held it up to the light. It was large and glowed. She put it under her pillow and went to sleep dreaming and wishing and drooling a bit.
Days went by. Harriet would just work away the day in anticipation of a nights worth of dreams and wishes. Even Shickelflugen was confused by her bright and cheerful disposition. She even cooked him sausages.
“That was a good sausage you cooked Harriet. You are so happy, vy?” She just smiled and went about her work. “Maybe I will bring home a big contract today and you will have to work some nights on the chocolate, yes?” He smiled and laughed as he lit a big cigar. He was getting quite fat on sausages and her work. One day things would be better.
One day never seemed to come. She was more lonely than ever. Shickelflugen grew fatter and she worked harder. Harriet would cry herself to sleep trying to remember everything Jason had told her. She wished and dreamed and then would cry some more.
It was a full moon. Harriet was slogging in the goo. It was past midnight and the only sounds in the castle were Shickelflugen’s snores from his bedroom. The room that Yosh and Frieda used to sleep in. She waved a hand though the goo. It was warm and sticky, her fingers twirling.
“I wish a Handsome Prince would come and rescue me like in all those stories.” She sighed.
And then it hit her. She knelt down in the goo and started pushing the chocolate to and fro. Her strong hands molded, her fingers dug in and smoothed edges soft. She finally stood up and looked down at this man that she carved out of cocoa, sugar and milk. He was tall, dark, and handsome. She gasped at what she created and closed her eyes so tight that it hurt.
“I wish he was alive – I wish he was alive – I wish he was alive-” over and over she repeated to herself.
“What did you say?” A voice replied.
She opened one eye, then the next. Sitting up was her creation. Her prince.
“You’re alive!!” She kissed him hard and came away with a ring of chocolate around her mouth. “And you taste great.”
“My name is Antonio.” He stood up in the goo.
“I’m Harriet and I want you to take me far away from here please.” It was more of a plea than a command and her lower lip quivered which was very cute on her where on a lot of other women it just didn’t work.
Antonio lowered his head. “Alas Harriet I would love to do nothing more than that but I can only do your bidding here in this kettle. He took his hand in hers and together they looked to the sky, and talked, for hours, years it seemed, until the cock crowed and Shickelflugen’s snores turned to a coughing fit and his footsteps could be heard.
“I’ve had such a good time.” She had love in her eyes.
“Me too Harriet. You’re an unusual woman.” He bent and kissed her.
“What am I going to do? Shickelflugen will be down soon. If he finds you – and you can’t run.”
She kissed him again. Harriet didn’t want to stop and then she bit his lip, clear off. His ear fell into her hand, she gobbled that and then into his neck. She gobbled and chewed and swallowed until she felt like she was going to burst.
Shickelflugen came down and found her moaning and holding her stomach in the tank.
“What’s wrong with you? Where are my sausages?” Harriet leaned over the edge and was very sick indeed.
Nights passed. Harriet thought a lot about Antonio and the magic that they shared that night. She had to work so hard to catch up in her work. Shickelflugen was livid about the lost chocolate and she’d gained twelve pounds.
She became obsessed. Night after night she would create men of different shapes, sizes, and flavors. She’d experiment and one night made up a man who was sort of a butterscotch swirl. Then she’d have to dispose of them and wake up sick in the morning. She began to gain weight at a torrid pace. It seemed the more lonely she was the faster she grew.
Shickelflugen raged at her. He would call her a hog and complain how much she was starting to cost him. He had to make a special ladder for her because she had become too big for the first one.
Harriet cried more lately. She had lost control. She would wish and dream but her dreams would turn into nightmares first wonderful and then the uncontrolled ends to all of her creations.
Soon she had grown to become the largest woman in the valley. People would try and sneak peaks at her through the castle windows. She couldn’t work as hard anymore and even worse, Shickelflugen talked of stopping to make chocolate and selling her to a carnival.
One day he came to the breakfast table and gave up. That was it. He was closing the chocolate factory and leaving. She was to clean the kettle and he was going to sell it.
She panicked that night. Where would she go? As bad as Shickelflugen had been he was all she had. Surely she would lose the castle too. She started to cry and waddled over to the kettle. The chocolate was just a shallow puddle in the center.
Harriet had an idea. She started to root around for all the sugar, cocoa and milk she could find. She got the fire burning under the kettle and hopped in. This would be her last time – forever. She stirred and stirred and started to close her eyes and wish as hard as she could.
All the clocks of the village struck midnight together and the chocolate started to bubble. Harriet felt a hand grip her foot and she opened her eyes. It was Antonio.
“Antonio!” She was so happy. She explained everything that had happened. He laughed so hard one of his ears fell off. She had to mold it back onto his head.
“Harriet, it’s not so bad.” He smiled reassuringly at her.
They talked all night again and held hands because he told her, he’d melt in her mouth, not her hands. They shared their dreams and hopes, and their hurts. Antonio explained that he had wanted to become an actor, or even a model, and wear open shirts and work on his tan. She nodded sympathetically but what could they do?
He kissed her as the sun began to rise.
“It’s all over. I’ll never see you again.” She touched his cheek. “There has to be something we can do?” She said.
He kissed her, his hands caressed her face and coated her in chocolate.
Shickelflugen started his morning coughing ritual and began to come down the stairs. Her eyes panicked but Antonio wouldn’t let his embrace break and then he bit her. Hard, on the neck and her head fell off.
“What have you done? How will I explain this?” She was livid and then her body fell with a great splat. Antonio picked up her head and lay down next to her body. They both started to sink into the goo.
Shickelflugen came down. There were no sausages ready. Smoke wafted from the kettle. The coals underneath a bright chimney red as he waved the smoke from in front of himself. He put out the fire and after the clouds cleared he looked down into the empty burned out kettle.
Lying next to each other smiling were Harriet and Antonio. Shickelflugen broke off Harriet’s big toe and bit into it.
“Not bad.” And then he swallowed.