Three days pass. I spend them inspecting and cataloging 231 prepackaged food items at Missing T's Novelty Shop. Among them, Pudding Yawp.
1. Dire Flan
Label reads: Dire Flan is full of flan flavor. Gain the ability to project lighting from your fingertips for up to 15 minutes. Side effects include permanent arthritis, runny nose, and the taste of metal on your tongue for up to two weeks.
2. Cherry Chip
Label reads: Do you love the taste of cherries? Indulge your desires. And find yourself impervious to acid rain for up to 6 days. Side effects include (but are not limited to) red eyes, red fingernails, red toenails, and red teeth.
Label reads: Just what is a snozberry? We think it's a cross between a strawberry and the poisonous arroberry. It's also your best bet for complete protection from the sun's radioactive red light at dusk. Side effects include loss of hearing, loss of taste, numbness in the extremities.
4. Not Rhubarb
Label reads: Every pack of Not Rhubarb Pudding Yawp is a random joke just waiting to be played on your friends. Some taste like salt. Others turn one's teeth glittery. And some victims will grow hair rapidly for three hours. Side effects include loss of friends, needing to find new friends, and various regrets.
5. Dire Flan
(Same as #1)
Label reads: You know you want it. Rich butterscotch flavor with the sight beyond sight beyond sight ability! See in the dark as if its daylight for up to five hours. Side effects include angry outbursts, loud talking, that feeling in your feet like you're walking on needles.
Label reads: We're not allowed to call this flavor "chocolate", as it is technically not chocolate. It's half chocolate. Thus, choco! (Made with many other legal but tasty ingredients.) Gain the ability to extract three times the amount of nutrients from your daily vitamins. Side effects include dizziness, squishy hands, and spotted ears.
8. Not Rhubarb
(Same as #4)
After taste-testing several Pudding Yawp flavors, and experiencing no strange abilities, I decide it's time to move on. Leaving the store I pass rows of neatly stocked shelves. Each sits in silence, waiting patiently for a patron.
As I reach the exit, the auto sliding doors open. A chime sounds. Did that happen when I entered?
I look back and wonder: Where is everyone?