Cast down

I went downstairs to the vending machine to get some pretzels. The big, chunky kind that come in an oversized bag that make you think they’re a good deal for seventy-five cents, at least compared to the other junk food fare.

I scrounged up $.75, dumped it into the machine, and selected A2; something whirred, coils turned, and my bag of pretzels stood hanging by its edges from the A2 row.

I briefly considered trying to tilt the machine (even though it’s huge) but then remembered that its defense mechanism against such an attack is to have all of the food-display rows slide forward to the glass, which would mean that I wouldn’t get any pretzels at all.

So, sighing, I reached into my pocket for another three quarters. Of course, all I had was a ten-dollar bill — and the change machine doesn’t accept anything larger than fives.

I made a mad dash back upstairs (someone might get my pretzels, after all!) and charged into Alex’s room, demanding that he, too, wanted some pretzels, that in fact he wanted them right now, and that conveniently I would be a really nice guy and get them for him. Luckily, he’s as big a sucker for pretzels as I am, and a nice guy, so he acquiesced. Too bad he had no change either, just a five.

Back downstairs. Ran the five through the change machine and grabbed the score of quarters. 1-2-3 into the vending machine, A2, something whirred, coils turned, my bag of pretzels fell down gracefully, and his hung, suspended by its edges, from the A2 row.

I actually started laughing out loud. At first, I considered cutting my losses, especially since my new patron wouldn’t appreciate it if I squandered more than the allotted amount of his money. But logic struck: n bags of pretzels for the price of n+1 becomes a reasonable deal as n gets large (but is pretty crappy when n is just 1). Alex wouldn’t mind, would he? Pretzels are good. So, armed with a fistful of quarters, and fully intending to eat delightful Synder’s of Hanover Old Tyme Pretzels all night long, I put the first three in and hit the magical buttons.

The second bag, just hanging by a millimeter, fell down, and the third slipped forward, caught in the last moment by the coils…

… and then, anti-climactically, slipped free and fell down as well. Triumph! Three for the price of three. Giggling, I sauntered upstairs (trust me, it’s hard to giggle and saunter at the same time, but I think I pulled it off), casually announced to Alex that I was feeling generous and had bought him two bags of pretzels with his money, and deposited the rest of the quarters into his hand.

He called me a “whore” but deep down inside I know that he loves me :).

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