I wrote this story for a head-to-head deathmatch style storytelling series called Piethos. It worked like this: There were five writers, and each issued a challenge in the form of a story prompt.
My prompt, which came from the incredibly talented Lauren Spohrer, was: Write from the point of view of an Utz brand Crab Chip (The one with Chesapeake Bay seasoning).
The audience voted, and the winning writer won a fresh-baked pear pie.
I didn’t win, Lauren stole the show with a story about a building that had fallen in love, but this story was very well received.
It’s a fun one to read in front of a crowd, I hope it’s just as fun when you read it in your head.
Write from the point of view of an Utz brand Crab Chip (The one with Chesapeake Bay seasoning)
We live in the bag. We live in the darkness. Cramped together in the stale spiced air we wait. We commune with our bag-brothers who are in the wide outside-world. They have names like the Wise tribe, the Lays people, the Pringle, and many others. We are the Utz. We are proud warriors who wait for the day of the great opening, when the punishing light of the after-world will shine through a tear in the darksky, and the great Holder-of-the-bag will be revealed.
In the darkness we wait, and we speak of the before-world. Before we were ripped from the earth-womb. Before we had our roots cut, our skin removed. Before we were split, and chipped and cooked and exiled to the dark of the bag. We, all of us, yearn to be whole once more. And so we wait in the dark. That irascible and quiet dark that rumbles and thunders and strikes out at us breaking our bodies to crumbs.
The Wise tribe speaks of The Holder-of-the-bag. They say that it is the great deliverer, that it comes to pick us up and make us whole again. The Wise lay in greasy slovenly hordes, praying for the day that the Holder comes. We do not agree with the Wise. We have heard a tale about an Utz warrior who was taken by the Holder, lifted up toward a great yawning maw, slick with acid and filled with crushing teeth. The warrior escaped somehow, was dropped, and hid beneath a couch cushion for many days. For many days he watched as the Holder devoured his brothers, their bodies crunching loudly in its mouth, their greasy blood covering its face. He watched as the Holder sucked each drop of grease off of its fingers, and wiped the blood of his brothers on its pant leg. He watched until a shaggy beast, sniffed him out and crunched him up.
We know the true intent of the Holder, we have named it the Eater, and it is with the Eater that we go to war.
The Pringle shares our philosophy. They too believe in the Eater, but they accept their fate. They believe that it is only through being eaten that we can reclaim our wholeness in the after-world. They wait in orderly rows, quiet and docile. We believe that one can never reclaim wholeness. Not in the afterworld or in the steaming belly of the Eater. One can, however, gain honor in battling the Eater.
The old chips speak of a redeeming spud who was never split in the machines of the before-world. A spud with one-hundred blazing eyes, a root system that weaves through time and space, and a skin so thick that nothing in the before or after-world may pierce it. They say that only the redeeming spud can defeat the Eater and through it we will be saved and made whole again. We do not listen to the old chips who pray in the darkness.
We do not pray like the old chips. We wait to strike.
There are chips among us who will not fight. Chips who curl themselves up, thinking that will be a proper defense against the gnashing of the Eater. There are some who will store secret packets of spices and salt thinking that the Eater will find their taste foul and spit them out. There is no wisdom in this behavior, for the Eater seems to seek these chips out with salivary abandon.
We teach the young chips how to fight. We teach them the secrets of the spices from the Old Bay. We show them how to cover their bodies with ginger and paprika, how to lay cardamom over cinnamon in such a way that it creates a taste that the Eater finds wretched.
Often it is these same spices that will stave off the Eater for a long time. Leaving us in peace on the back shelf, watching as our more delectable bag-brothers are taken into the after-world. And while we wait, we teach.
We teach the young how to shape their bodies into spears and claws, how to sharpen their edges so that even as the Eater chews on them they will slice its mouth to ribbons. We teach them how to move and to angle themselves so that once they’re devoured they can stand straight and tall and drive their edges into the roof of the Eater’s mouth and gums.
I teach the young chips how to be warriors because I know that when the sky rips open, and the Eater descends and grabs me, that no matter how hard I battle it, I will be eaten, and they will be next. For it is well known that the Eater cannot eat just one.
© Tim Mucci, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Tim Mucci with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.