The Rise and Fall of My Perpetual Chocolate Machine or The Horrors of Infinity
If you really think about it, every human is a finite perpetual motion machine unto themselves. We don’t have forever, but boy do we run through our lives. Nights give way to morning, mornings give way to work, work to our evening, and then back to the dreamland — at least for most of us.
The point of that, dear reader, is that no matter where we are in life now, there is a story about how we got here. Everyone has a story. A story about growing up and first loves, fights, dreams, and lessons learned.
My typical reader knows me for the many ways I describe life and often the horrors we find therein. They know me for the gas station I now frequent and the people I talk to there. What nobody knows is how this all started for me. What drew me to write on Medium and why I write about the stuff I do.
…and the horrors I’ve seen.
The 2012 Chocolate Boom
I used to be exceedingly rich. The kind of rich where your bank account overflows into symbols because you’ve won capitalism and anything you want can be yours. It was family money and I didn’t ask where it came from. That would be rude.
In my early twenties I started investing in the purchase and acquisition of buildings in Fargo, North Dakota. It just seemed like the polite thing to do with copious amounts of wealth, possibly spurred on by the weekly monopoly games with my family.
Monopoly, if you recall, doesn’t have any grocery stores or libraries. It’s a circle jerk of wealth to landlord your way to the top more effectively than anyone else. You win when your dozens of properties sit empty and your money becomes meaningless. The games we played were not for fun. They were educational.
If only I knew then, what I know now.
Anyways, with nearly unlimited wealth there becomes a kind of boredom with investing. All ventures just become looking at between a 5% to 15% growth and trying to maximize it to the far end, sell at the low, and keep going — perpetually.
So, I tried my hand at investing in a burrito company, a hair salon, I had a professional curling team, and half a dozen other things. When you’re wealthy there is a team of middlemen between you and the labor folks at the bottom generating your wealth.
You can be more hands on, but Wealth Therapists are around to make sure you don’t feel too guilty about it all and set up these really intricate safety plans to not engage too closely.
A lot of it is really surreal, I remember sitting in Hotel Donaldson, while a few old and serious people told me the Kilbourne Group was edging me out of Downtown Fargo. They said some deals were happening and they were able to undercut our contracts.
I nodded along, like I typically did, while they explained some ritual involving sacrificing a McDonalds to create a gentrification spell and summon a tower into downtown Fargo. It is the kind of normal business jargon that some people get excited about, but I couldn’t care less. They started talking about Marvin. Not the person, the company, picture below.
I was told we needed to shift focus to the industrial districts and some company named Marvin was making a name for itself by making people into doors or something. Selling doors? Grinding people down? I couldn’t really say. They kept showing me pictures of fancy people in suits, talking to a smiling worker, like I’d care about that. Maybe I should. I always sucked at performing my class.
They talked about King House being needed in the ritual too, but I was tuning them out and looking at the map. I noticed something in particular that struck my eye.
Mexican Village will have to go eventually, one of them said and the other one offered that the 19th avenue Taco Bell’s sacrifice would last us until well into the 2020s. Typical business stuff. If you don’t know these places, that’s fine, just consider them important city landmarks.
Sort of like City identity pieces that were slowly changing and morphing into something horrifying. More accurately, being sacrificed into something bigger.
I asked them about the Infinite Chocolate Machine. They looked at me like I was crazy. Without another word they rolled up the map and left.
I won’t bore you with the rest of the details of what happened, but needless to say I called a guy who called a guy and at that moment in history became the proud owner of the Infinite Chocolate Machine. I drove out to the location to see what I bought.
It was an abandoned sort of factory that comes to mind when you think of abandoned factories. Windows with rock holes. Chains around the doors. A big gated fence surrounding the location. I was young and I felt alive. The first purchase without an investor and I was about to change the world.
Little did I know by how much.
The inside was completely bare, save for a single machine in the center of the massive warehouse. Around the machine was a ton of chains, little charms, ton of skull motifs, and at the center a large placard that read, “lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate”
Loosely translated, I assumed it meant, “happy investing, may your dreams come true.”
I think I’ll remember this moment forever.
The awe of it. The smell of the place. Finally owning something of mine that I bought with my money, that I earned by being really a nice and good girl in a rich family, according to my Wealth Therapist.
Fast forward a month and I had a cleaning crew get the place back into shape. I hired the best engineers money could buy to start the machine back up.
It took them a while to remove the chains.
It was all rather exhausting to hear them talk about it, but apparently both their diamond tooth saws and the hydraulic pressure saws didn’t dent the stuff. Of all things it was an iron axe that broke the chains, after the engineer got frustrated and grabbed whatever was nearby to start smashing them. We all felt a ton of relief at that. The Machine wasn’t even much to look at.
As the chains fell to the ground, it felt like the pressure in the building really picked up. I think the best way to describe it is when you wake up at night and hear clatter in the distance. You feel that security of your safety being shattered and an eerie feeling some force is with you and that you are not safe, and that it will get you.
That feeling persisted throughout the entire time I owned the factory, but I heard it’s kind of common for most wealthy people so I didn’t think too much of it. That therapist was worth her weight in gold and it always struck me as funny that’s how they took payment.
But the day was finally on us. The two engineers working on the machine turned it on, it pumped out chocolate, the chocolate was formed into bars, the bars were wrapped, and the assembly line completed my first chocolate adventure into Fairy Chocolate Bars™.
On account of my name being Faye!
I asked the engineers how the machine worked. They told me it worked well. I asked for specifics and they asked me if I knew how Wifi works. I admitted I didn’t. They told me it works like Wifi. I asked them how long it’d produce chocolate and where the chocolate was coming from. They told me, yes.
It really was all coming together. But one last thing remained to be seen. I asked them if the chocolate was being ethically produced with sustainability in mind. I was told that was really important from my investors. I don’t totally get it, but here is the graph they gave me below.
Basically, if you can create further sales through the illusion of ethical consideration, you can actually achieve more global harm and deaths. They said pink ribbons were surprisingly effective for this too. But honestly I was being kind of selfish. I didn’t want to increase deaths and global harm, I just wanted to sell a chocolate bar. A Fairy Chocolate Bar. I was sort of mad with power by this point.
I had dreams of selling at Fargo Moorhead Pride. In my own little way back then, I somehow convinced myself I was the only one to ever think about pandering.
It was 2012 and Josh Boschee was running for North Dakota House as an openly gay man. Oh, how big I thought the world could be for my Fairy Chocolate Empire as we soared on the wings of queer progress.
That first year alone, I made 120,000 chocolate bars, opened chocolate stores in fifteen major cities, and created Icarus Symbology Inc. to manage the chocolate empire. At least, I told people to do that in a few hour long meetings during the week. Being a CEO was as tough as it was rewarding.
At the time, nothing could stop me and the sun was so bright.
The 2015: The Height of Glory
Chocolate has 15 milligrams per ounce. I was practically Scarfacing through life at that point on an infinite chocolate high. The best nutritionist in the world had a difficult time describing exactly what my chocolate was or even the calorie amount.
For some reason fifteen minutes was the length they could consider the chocolate bar before quickly and sharply desiring to do anything else and forgetting everything they had done.
While it was a problem, I employed a number of important tactics to keep their attention, so I could find out what my chocolate was made of. I first employed megaphones to keep shouting chocolate over and over in hopes that it would keep attention for more than fifteen minutes. No luck.
We eventually moved into using shock collars to keep focus. Don’t worry about Osha or whatever, we had a mountain of paperwork for consent and offered enough money that people practically bagged us to be shocked. We still never figured out what was in it, but we kept passing health inspections. Nobody was dying. Nobody was asking questions.
I started to realize that people assume reality adds up and they never really want to look at the math that closely to make sure.
I don’t know why I wasn’t as impacted. Maybe it was the ownership aspect or just how special and insightful my Wealth Therapist told me I was. I knew something was off. I was nervous. That feeling in the factory now stayed with me everywhere I went. I mean I knew it was common, but it felt too common?
The pounds of chocolate I ate and the caffeine high didn’t help. I never gained weight and I didn’t understand it. I stopped eating them for any pleasure or joy, but just because of some primal ape understanding that they needed to be stopped.
The chocolate needed to be stopped.
The months started to evaporate. I lost large tracts of time. I got more nervous and afraid of what was happening. I saw chocolate everywhere now. Everywhere. I kept thinking about the first rule of chocolate club and then losing my train of thought.
One night I remember waking up in a cold sweat, gasping for air and not remembering what I was dreaming about.
My eyes focused on a silhouette of a man in the corner of my room and I jolted with terror at a real intruder in my room. It took me minutes to remember I had a chocolate sculpture of Donald Trump. It was a gift for a future president.
I’m not political and don’t support his views, but my accountant just told me he was the winning ticket. I made sure to donate extra hard to human rights causes that year, so don’t get mad at me!
Also, to clarify, it isn’t weird to have a chocolate sculptor of a person. I feel like you may be judging me and I just want to say it’s totally normal. Just a common gesture wealthy people do for each other.
A local rental agency, Goldmark, actually got me a golden Faye statue to congratulate me on my curling team going to the Olympics. That company originally wanted to go with “Midas Touch” as a name, until I told them it was too on the nose and might offend the…“Economically Challenged” or “Job Fillers” as the people at the top like to refer to them.
(They countered me at the time with the name “Better Than the Van Radens” and we laughed for so long at that one. Sorry, just some Fargo humor for you.
Sorry, none of that matters. I’m just trying to think of something else than that night. I don’t remember how long it took me to calm down. Eventually I got out of bed and sat down on my chocolate throne and started to work on some paperwork on my chocolate desk.
As I looked around at my chocolate bookcases and chocolate books with sugarleaf paper I started to wonder if maybe I was a joke?
It was all so gradual. I didn’t set out to become a Willy-Wonka-type. The chocolate stream that surrounded my house in North Fargo seemed like a good investment at the time. That’s where the old money lives and new money can become old money if you have enough of it. (It isn’t the age of the dragon that matters, it is the size of their hoard. )
And I know what you’re thinking, doesn’t my chocolate moat go bad? How can chocolate serve as sustainable furniture? I had all those same questions, but chocolate technology was advancing at an alarming rate and I kept asking how it was possible and they kept telling me it was just like Wifi.
All I can say is that my chocolate never went bad. The best I could get out of the nutritionists was that the chocolate wasn’t “embedded in time.” And that was just what they could say in-between shocks and a horny expression that made me rather uncomfortable.
The morning after my nightmare, I skipped my chocolate painted rocks into the pond while some money man told me that the numbers were up. It was all green arrows and everyone was happy. He gestured with a “thumbs up” after it look like I was ignoring him and perhaps he figured I just couldn’t understand him?
When you get wealthy enough people start handling you like money. He left as quickly as he came and I took the morning to just relax in my chocolate hot tub. Which sounds better than Hot Chocolate Tub. Trust me, I had marketing people.
At the time, I didn’t think anything about putting on my chocolate two piece bathing suit either. My team of chocolate scientists had virtually assured me all modern amenities could be made strictly out of chocolate.
I didn’t really believe them, but I couldn’t disagree either, having heated up my hot chocolate in the chocolate microwave they built me. Chocolate processors were something else and when I got nosey they kept asking me if I understood how Wifi worked. I never learned.
It was around here that they finally told me that the machine was out producing chocolate and the demand was wavering. I was told something about the “Human Chocolate Limit” and from an anthropologist of all things. She kept insisting the machine needed to be turned off, like it was eons ago.
I was absolutely shocked. I was the boss, I had no idea where she had the gall to tell me what to do. So, she was fired.
I didn’t know how she got hired in the first place, but again you need at least six people between you and the help. If your lowest employee is within six degrees of your bacon, you need to get away. I think that’s how that saying goes! And when you trim a tree, you trim the parts furthest away from you. Ever wonder why they call it a hedge fund? Same principle.
But the real problem was that I was slowly massing chocolate. A few hundred pounds each week. I started to have to buy warehouses to store it. It wasn’t that big of a problem because my product had no scarcity to it. It lasted forever. And if I really looked at that last sentence. If I at the time really just stopped for one second to think about what was happening…well, I might have been able to stop what happened.
The 2018: The End of the World or The Chocolocalypse
The only thing that truly stopped the chocolate was its consumption. Somewhere in the acid of our stomachs and gentle but persistent squeezing of peristalsis its magical properties broke down.
The government didn’t start getting involved until I had over 10 billion pounds of chocolate stored across 14 countries in countless bunkers. My chocolate became everything. Every material. Filled every wall. If you imagine a girl happily riding a bike, that bike was made of chocolate. Give it a few years, the girl would be too.
It was versatile, edible, nutritious (if the tester would stop moaning long enough to tell me anything) and it was everywhere. It was so all consuming that people started to call it “plastic-like”. They ran blood tests and couldn’t find any human still alive that didn’t have some kind of chocolate enzyme in their blood and when they started looking at blood stored in the 1990s…they found it there too.
At this point, the obvious answer was to stop the machine. I mean, that has been the answer for three long years in my heart, but I was too prideful to ever consider it. I was too high on caffeine and chocolate to see the folly of my way.
But we couldn’t find the machine anymore.
The chocolate kept coming from nowhere. Untraceable and ubiquitous. The trillion dollar company I ran was so bloated with executives and boards and cross contamination that after a month of investigation I found out nobody was leading my company. Not even me.
At some point some sort of perpetual energy took hold. A manager hired another manager, they hired a worker, that worker requested a specialist, that specialist became a manager, that manager opened a new department, and so on for millions of interactions. The chocolate company had been self operating for years and my tiny little chocolatey throne was just a figurehead for its global domination.
In five or six more years it may even be as bad as plastic. The ocean was already becoming discolored and tastier. My god was the ocean delicious.
What had my world become? I could buy the whole of it, but what I would be left with was a vast chocolate ball filled with molten rocks. A snack for some eldritch god. I looked around at my chocolate folly and I wept.
Those tears, for the first time ever, were brown. I don’t even have to tell you what they tasted like.
Several people far smarter than me devised a number of plans. We had nearly a billion people on 8 hour shifts, consuming the chocolate. We had other teams grinding it into a fine dust to lawyer across the earth. We had spaceships sending millions of pounds of it into space with chocolate thrusters.
And as we worked ourselves to death to stop this mess, we only ever slowed it down.
You could see the exhaustion on people’s faces and I could just barely for a second consider how it may have been my fault. I had been slightly broken up over my Wealth Therapist dying in a chocolanche earlier in the week, so I chalked it up to that.
I hired person after person to solve this problem and really what more could anyone ask of me? And nobody thanked me for the great personal cost. My only real solace at the time was how much the local government supported me, given the money I brought into the state.
That and journalist were still quoting my PR people who were assuring everyone it was under control.
However…the worst part of all of it was how mean people were being to me on twitter about it. And it was largely “job fillers” too, despite all of the opportunities I gave them! I made call after call to my good friend and then top chocolate scientist Elon Musk. I asked him to fix it. To fix everything. He told me he’d get on it, but it’d take him five years.
In pure rage I took a bite out of my chocolate desk.
I chewed with anger and chocolate tears still running down my face.
The next day is a bit hazy. I remember at one point I just got the urge to walk. I didn’t know where. I didn’t know why. But I walked through the City of Fargo.
So much was the same from 2012 and so much was different. New modern apartments with no style in places homes once were. Business shops coming to life by devouring what came before them, only to be devoured themselves every year or two in downtown. A giant parking lot that had an ominous vibe like a dark beating heart still yet developing.
I walked to an old middle school I attended that had been changed into a professional building. The track outside, converted into a park for the homeowners. Whatever life I had here decades ago had been paved over.
The park was surrounded with an iron fence that was old enough to be slightly rusted from the elements. In a fit of rage I tore an iron rod out and started pounding a swing set, before a very concerned parent started yelling at me.
I didn’t care. I was wearing four thousand dollars of designer chocolate. I was untouchable. And if the chocolate cruisers that patrolled the street were any indicator of favoritism, I welcomed it.
Honestly, I didn’t know what crime happened anymore. I didn’t mention this explicitly, but I did solve world hunger and homelessness with chocolate. You’d think that’d be a big deal. You’d think they’d celebrate me as a hero. But no. We had to focus on the downsides of the infinite chocolate problem leading to our doom. Fucking twitter.
I’m describing these events to you, dear reader, in a narrative matching where I was at the time. How I was feeling then. How I felt lost then. So, maybe you already know where I’ll end up and if you do, you knew before I did. I told you it is hazy because at some point I found myself back in my factory.
Where it all started.
Nobody was here anymore. They didn’t have to be. A year ago they told me about Chocolate AI. Numbers go up. Thumbs up. All pretty simple. It’s just wifi they told me. Well, at that moment, I said, “WHAT THE FUCK IS WIFI? WHAT THE FUCK IS AN INFINITE CHOCOLATE MACHINE!”
And at that I heard a bloop. I look down at a screen.
“How do I stop the infinite chocolate machine?”
“Okay, yes, but we’re well beyond that point. How do I save the world from Chocolate?”
I felt like it was all over. I vaguely recall the memo about the AI being in charge of the AI to save on labor. The memo had a ton of thumb up emojis to indicate to me it was good. And I believed them.
Why did I believe them?
The factory around me was pristine. The chocolate disappearing through portals to who knows where. I didn’t even remember entering the place. I didn’t even know how I got here.
For all I know I was just frozen somewhere, this whole thing happening in my mind. By this point, I might already just be entirely chocolate myself. Those tears the only clue to what I had become.
And no, it didn’t phase me. The height of chocolate technology. The sinisterness of it. Or my contribution to the machine that perpetually produced chocolate.
There was one end to this. The mass would collapse the planet. It would black hole the solar system. And it would only get bigger…until it consumed everything.
It was only in that moment I saw the true horror of infinite production. It never seemed like a problem in the month by month quota reports. But compound interest on physical reality is something else.
With the rusted and forgotten memory of my childhood in my hand, I figured I had to try. The iron stake left my hand like a javelin. My form was awful. Truly terrible. But the iron did something I never expected.
It bounced back and smacked me in the face.
While I quickly put both hands to my head to dull the pain, I tripped over it while it was rebounding to the ground and landed hard on my side. It was not ideal. I wanted desperately to hire someone to solve this problem. Here I was with a job to create and nobody to fill it. The most horrifying thing you could ever imagine.
I hobbled over to the machine, not even sure what to do. The screen asked me if I would do anything to stop Chocolate Infinity. I said, yes. It asked if I’d give up all of my wealth. I hesitated. Would I make the biggest sacrifice anyone has ever done to save the world? It would be more difficult than two camels going through the eye of a single needle. But...I would be remembered as a hero forever?
The machine told me nobody would remember.
Oh. I started coughing violently. So hard that I had coughed something up. I was worried it was blood, but it was just more chocolate. I didn’t have long anyways. I may as well do one good thing with my life. But there was something I had to do.
Something I absolutely needed to know.
“I have just one last request. Just tell me what Wifi is.”
I laughed, even though it hurt. It was radios the whole time. None of this chocolate stuff was possible because of Wifi. I was played.
The Sound of triumphant horns filled the factory. Party streamers rained down from the ceiling and balloons filled up the space. A banner flew overhead that said “You Won, Thanks for Playing!!”
I felt for a moment confusion and joy in equal parts. I was a winner!
Those games of Monopoly had been preparing me for this my entire life. But the lights started to flicker in the factory. Instead of flickering on and off, it flickered between the factory and a studio apartment in downtown Fargo. Until eventually it was only the apartment that remained and the chocolate factory a distant dream.
Out of my windows I could see the construction starting on the great tower. Someone else’s machine starting to perpetuate forward. I flipped my phone open, my bank account had regular numbers again, instead of the symbols I was used to. Memories of my life flood in like I’m recalling a movie I just saw last week.
I was wearing a shirt that said, “I stopped a reality altering eldritch invasion and all I have to remember it is this shirt!” This annoyed me greatly, but the fabric was nice. I still have it somewhere.
Needless to say, the chocolate factory didn’t exist anymore. Just an empty lot where it used to be. A ton of people are just going about their life as though the world didn’t go through a chocolate crisis at all.
And truth be told, I don’t think they disappeared. I didn’t just wake up from a dream. I didn’t just imagine it all happening. No, dear reader, whatever chocolate design was set on our reality, it had done what it needed to and moved on. I had been used, but we had, to my knowledge, survived and that was something. And I hope we can live with whatever is now gone.
Anyways, I decided I’d start writing about these experiences on Medium and that brings us to where we are today.
Thank you for reading!