The Great Chocolate Conspiracy
This is Episode 8 of The Great Chocolate Conspiracy Blog Tour.
A chance remark about confectionery by Monica Marier (@lil_monmon) to Sam Adamson (@FutureNostalgic) on Twitter lead to one of those wonderful Twitter conversations from which brilliant ideas emerge. Within moments, other writers got involved and “The Great Chocolate Conspiracy feat. Det Sam Adamson” Flash Fiction Blog Tour was born…
He huddled in the basement carefully measuring out another teaspoon, mumbling calculations under his breath while he worked. Notebooks littered the office, scrawled with indecipherable formulas, crossed out and reworked over and over again. He sifted powders, mixing the granules just so.
Sweat trickled down his temple. He snatched a cloth from his drawer, sopping up the moisture before it could taint the mixture. He checked the levels one more time, whispered a prayer to a god scientists didn’t believe in and began filling several small test tubes.
As he tapped the last grains into the final tube, his cell phone blared. He cringed as “Pour some sugar on me” echoed off the empty walls. He hated rock music. Give him a good Chopin any day, but she’d insisted, and if any of the terms of their agreement were breached, she would not only refuse to pay, she would divulge his location to the Associated Press. The only organization he hated more than the authorities. His photo would be plastered on every website in every language, and the authorities would follow.
He cursed as the last granules tumbled to his desk and he snatched the phone from his pocket.
“I e-mailed you an hour ago!”
She was already hissing before he’d lifted the phone to his ear.
“When I send you a message, I expect an answer.”
“I know,” he said and bit his tongue, cutting off the end of his reply—You stupid cow! You’ve told me a thousand times but if you want this bloody recipe complete you’ll leave me the hell alone!
“Are you even listening to me?”
“Of course.” He sighed and jiggled the mouse on his computer. Sure enough, a little yellow envelope glowed in the corner of the monitor.
“Then answer me. How close are we to getting this right?”
He scoffed at the ‘we’, but answered. “I have one more batch ready to test.”
“Good. Something strange is happening here and I want the next phase ready.”
Her voice had a slight echo, like she was standing in a shower stall. He shook the thought from his head. “Accuracy is more important than speed.” He recited the words with little conviction. He’d said them and she’d refused to listen to them for months now. It was more out of habit than anything else.
“You promised me both and you damn well better deliver. I’ve been waiting long enough to pay him back for what he did and I won’t let you screw this up for me.”
He glared at the spilled grains, seething at her demands. If he hadn’t needed this job so badly, he would have walked out months ago. He knew this was his last chance to prove himself. And worse than that, she knew it. “I’ll call you when the test is done,” he said through clenched teeth.
He hit the end button and held it until the screen went black. He tossed the phone in the drawer and turned back to the desk.
* * * * *
“There you are. Everything okay?”
“Yes, Marier. I’m fine. Where have you been?”
“With the sheriff; he wasn’t comfortable with such a large group. We’re getting the team together for a briefing now. I was helping collect everyone.” DCI Marier glanced at the empty bathroom stalls and back. “I thought I heard voices,” she said raising a brow.
“I was on the phone—a family situation.” She shoved the phone in her pocket and gestured towards the door. “Shall we?”
DCI Marier narrowed her eyes and nodded. “After you.”