* * * * * DO WHAT YOU LOVE * * * * *
[Reddit Simple Writing Prompt] You just ate the world's last Dorito, just to spite your sister.
I was tense and could feel a steady stream of sweat rolling slowly down my back. Adjusting my position for what seemed like the hundredth time in an attempt to relieve the numbness beginning in my toes and working its way slowly up my calves, I glanced quickly at my phone to see if it was time yet. The bright glare of the screen briefly blinded me, so I was left with little wavering sunbursts dancing behind my eyelids. I was able to establish that it was indeed go time and my pulse began to race as I slowly arose from the fetal position to a slumped shouldered stance, my posture the result of hiding behind a stack of cleaning supplies and mop buckets in the janitor's closet for hours at a time over the past week.
I cracked the door and listened for the footsteps of the nightly security guard. He was fat and kind of lazy and I had been watching and memorizing his routine...learning his patterns night after night. This was not my first attempt to execute the plan. The other times had been met with close calls and I'd had to abort my mission, tucking in tight behind bleach and brooms and a large industrial floor buffer, until my next chance.
This time I felt ready. If my calculations were correct, this caricature of the quintessential bumbling deputy would be heading for the dumper right about now. I listened and this creature of habit, true to form, was plodding down a distant hallway. I heard...or rather felt the vibration his oversized body made each time he placed one foot in front of the other and he was starting to make that incessant humming sound again. Was it the beginning of a song or just the happy response of his body as he neared his nightly date with the toilet bowl? Either way, I knew I would have about fifteen minutes to get it done.
I stealthily pushed the closet door outward, and leaving it open a sliver just in case, sprinted toward the lab. My bare feet were silent as they met with the linoleum floor.
The lab was locked and as I drew near, I pulled out the most recent crumpled sheet of paper that held the door code. It was changed on a regular basis but fortunately I had discovered some, let's say, sensitive information regarding one of the lab technicians and a certain fetish this creep had, so I’d exhorted this knowledge to my advantage. He slipped the crumpled code beneath the door of my cozy temporary home every morning.
I held the scrap of paper under the light of my phone and punched in one number at a time:
Well at least someone in this group of scientists and culinary experts had a sense of humor. The door beeped once as a green light flashed. I quickly glanced behind me with a sense of dread. I expected Deputy Dumper to be standing behind me; but the hall was still empty. I had come so close on the previous attempts only to be forced back into the safety of the janitorial closet at the last second; but this might be the one. I could feel it in my bones and in the deep rumbling hunger of my stomach.
I tiptoed into the inner sanctum. It was messy. Not at all what I had expected. It seemed to be one large break area with varying degrees of coagulated coffee in mugs and empty water bottles strewn about haphazardly; while on spotlessly clean counter-tops, I found six evenly spaced petri-like dishes containing dusty orange crumbs. A clipboard with carefully penned notes hung in front of each dish:
After a tragic accident involving a deep-fat-fryer, a top-secret area of Frito-Lay Headquarters burned to the ground, leaving the world in a state of shock and disbelief, as the news spread like wildfire that the recipe to one of the world's most tantalizing and tasty snacks had been lost in that inferno. It eventually surfaced that it was indeed the Nacho Cheese Dorito recipe that had been forever engulfed in the fiery flames.
After the news, citizens around the world stormed local grocery and convenience stores grabbing everything Frito-Lay off the shelves. It was 24 hours fraught with violence and destruction, known as the "Dorito Riots." The people lucky enough to grab a few bags of the precious Doritos and escape the angry mobs, sold them at a tremendous profit from the back-end of unmarked panel-vans and behind dumpsters until all the chips were just...gone.
A rumor had been circulating regarding a secret kitchen-lab where the last known Nacho Cheese Dorito was being studied and tasted as scientists (along with top chefs) tried to replicate the recipe of the endangered chip.
My sister and I had an ongoing bet that some day, one of us would find and sneak into the secret facility to devour that protected chip. It was silly; I know, but we were insanely competitive so as time went by, it became the sole purpose of our lives.
Clues to the actual existence of this facility were becoming few and far between and it looked like I had reached a dead end; but finally after even more research, wasted weekend trips, and bribes, I found it tucked away in a tiny town in the Deep-Deep South, where fried and crispy delicious snacks were a dietary staple.
So here I stood, after a week's worth of failed attempts, getting ready to realize my dream of winning the bet and owning my sister as my personal go-fer for life.
As I passed the counter-tops, I noticed a glass case containing a solitary chip. It was set high in a little niche cut into the wall and there were hand written affirmations like:
"Never Give Up!" And,
"Make Every Day a Great Day!" And,
"It's Up to You!" And one out of place,
"Stop eating my yogurt, Bob!"
hanging on thumbtacks around the back-lit orange triangle. I rolled my eyes (Bob sounded like a total tool) and reached up to open the little glass door on the front of the case. This seemed too easy. Like taking candy from a baby.
I guessed the challenges were finding the hidden lab, getting past Deputy What's-His-Name, and gaining access to the four-digit code to allow entry into this room. Just as I lifted the chip off the velvet cushion it rested upon, all hell broke loose. Alarms began blaring and lights began flashing.
I pulled out my phone and furiously began typing, then took a selfie of my face with the Last Nacho Cheese Dorito on Earth inches from my open mouth. I hit "send" just as the heavy and labored footsteps of a fat-man-running drew near. I did the only logical thing...dropped the chip into my mouth and savored the perfect proprietary blend of ingredients that were the Nacho Cheese Dorito.
I was just dusting orange crumbs off of my chin when the door flew open and an electric shock went through my body. I dropped to the floor like a sack of potatoes. Deputy Fats, taser in hand, was on his phone shouting "CODE ORANGE! CODE ORANGE!" and the last thing I remember was wondering what the penalty would be for eating the very last Nacho Cheese Dorito on the planet.
Meanwhile, hundreds of miles away, my sister would soon be opening the text with my face, the coveted triangular chip, and the triumphant words, "I WIN!"
By Lisa H. Owens
Inspired by a Reddit writing prompt.
Query sent to Frito-Lay regarding collaboration on YA novella 2/9/2021
*(Update on Query) I received this response from Frito-Lay 3/8/2021 :
Thank you for contacting us.
We truly appreciate our fans and are flattered that you would want to share your idea with us. Please know I will forward your feedback to our internal teams for future consideration.
Thanks again for reaching out to us!
PepsiCo Consumer Relations