One hundred and fifty Kinder Egg capsules.
When I ordered these on eBay, I assumed the guy selling them was (or was pals with) a guy who works at the manufacturing plant. This lot was not the only one he’s sold; how the hell do you get your hands on more than a thousand unopened Kinder Egg toys? It must be someone filching from the factory, or (to take a less cynical tack) the factory overproduced a few batches, and gave them to the workers, or something like that.
But upon receiving and opening the box, I discovered that some of the eggs still have little bits of chocolate on them. I opened a few capsules at random, and they do appear to still be factory-packed.
What the hell? Can there really be someone alive who likes Kinder Egg chocolate so much that he’ll buy an egg, eat the chocolate, and throw the toy in a box unopened? Every day for three years? It’s not even particularly good chocolate! If it weren’t for the toy I’d take a couple Hershey’s Kisses over a Kinder Egg with zero hesitation.
Now I’m picturing a darkened Edwardian workhouse… Edwardian? Victorian? When was Oliver Twist?
Okay, right at the beginning of the Victorian Era, says Wikipedia.
So, I’m picturing a darkened Early Victorian workhouse, rows of ash-eyed and soot-faced orphans peeling the chocolate from innumerable Kinder Surprise Eggs with blunt tin spoons, dropping the chocolate into pots that are in turn emptied into vats, and this chocolate is wheeled away to fancy confectionaries, where they add tinctures, oils, and other additional flavorings before remoulding it into fancy bon-bons for the rich noble ladies. A swarthy man in a leather apron stalks up and down the rows of rough wooden benches, twisting the ends of his handlebar mustache. He peers at the children as a zookeeper would regard a tank of live rats, beads of sweat gleaming on the bald head that so oddly mimics the shape of a Kinder Surprise Egg, though none of the children would ever dare whisper a comment on this similarity, for fear of their lives.
He carries a braided leather whip, with which he viciously beats any child he even suspects of tasting the chocolate. The only hint of the candy that touches the orphans’ lips comes from licking the foil wrappers (which the children are allowed to keep, and the more enterprising ones fold into little foil roses to sell to gentlemen in front of the opera-house) and what remains on their spoon at the end of the day. That same spoon is used to eat their single bowl of watery cabbage soup, flavored with a distant memory of a hamhock that two Christmases ago was added to the giant soup-pot, which is left on a perpetual boil and is topped up with water as needed, along with whatever remaindered cabbages the cook can get for cheap. The steam, you see, is the only heat in the workhouse.
The mustachioed whip-man takes the toy capsules and tosses them into a large wicker basket on his back, as he stalks up and down the rows of tables. As the basket fills, he empties it into a large wooden bin. The bin is emptied every fortnight, but no-one is witness to the event, or knows what happens to the toys. Once a year, on Christmas morning before the children begin the work-day, they are each allowed to choose a capsule from the bin, to keep for their own (for as long as they can keep it hidden from one of the older children, anyway).
The children have learned to keep their tears to themselves, should their chosen capsule contain a shitty jigsaw puzzle. Whimpering only makes the whip-man beat you harder.
Jesus, I didn’t intend to write that much. Guess I’ll open the first egg tomorrow, then.