The last thing I expected to do my first year of college was start a life of crime, yet here I am. I am a criminal—a fugitive—and this is my confession in an attempt to get the weight of guilt off my chest.
Two nights ago, I was sitting in the Jewett common room, trying desperately to finish editing an essay. I was unable to focus naturally, so I changed out of my sweatpants and into a button-down. Actually, as I reread that sentence, I realize it sounds like I went pant-less into the common room with only a button-down on. I assure you that this was not the case. I believe it is imperative for a writer to dress the part while working at their craft. Not having pants on would have majorly thrown me off of my rhythm. In fact, I’m wearing a light blue button-down and pants right now. Therefore, you can infer that I am a qualified writer to whom you should continue giving your attention.
The button-down gave me about 30 minutes of material until my inspiration ran dry. I needed fuel, but not just any kind of fuel. I needed simple carbohydrates—and I knew exactly where to get them. I left my laptop at the table to descend four flights of stairs for a strawberry Pop-Tart. Just so we’re on the same page, I want to make it clear that while going down the stairs, I was still wearing pants. I want it established that there has not been a point in this article when I was not wearing pants. OK? OK.
In hindsight, I probably should have put my laptop away prior to this journey. Compromising the safety of my laptop for the acquisition of a toaster pastry wasn’t exactly an even trade-off. Alas, I was already halfway down the second flight by the time this occurred to me. I had been blinded by the quest for sucrose and arrived in the basement only a fragment of the person I had been before the trek.
The glowing vending machine stood before me, powerful and mighty. The lit-up buttons beckoned me to press them.
Sixty-six, Sixty-six, Sixty-six.
I eyed the strawberry Pop-Tart in the lower left-hand corner and thought about the many ways I could eat it. With a few sips of water. Dry. Half now and half once I got back upstairs. I tapped my card.
The next thing I knew, a vaguely incriminating alarm was going off, and a message was flashing at me: “Transaction Invalidated; Reuse Violation.” I don’t know what I did to lose the respect of this machine, but I would like to point out that I am not the one taking the money of adolescents and handing them back products that will lead to health issues down the line in return. I had been blacklisted by an inanimate object: the Jewett Vending Machine. Dejected, I retreated back up the stairs quickly (but not so quickly as to cause suspicion) and unlocked the door to my room, Pop-Tart-less.
I realized, then, that I had become the pastry I once sought to eat—toasted in the scorching flames of the Jewett Vending Machine’s criminal justice system.