Warnings: insanity, angst, violent tendencies, attempted murder
Summary: Receiving his prize of "all the chocolate he could ever eat" is too much for Mike to take.
The first delivery was merely an unwelcome reminder.
Just as Mike’s forced growing pains were beginning to fade, the heavy red truck crunched to a halt outside the Teavee house. There could be no doubt what the vehicle meant, emblazoned as it was with that hateful name. The delivery driver smiled, actually smiled, ignorantly pleased to hand the boy a case of Wonka’s chocolate bars. Mike seethed at the insult of this runner-up prize, scowling contemptuously at the driver. Perhaps the man said “Congratulations” or “Enjoy” but Mike didn’t hear. He’d already dropped the box in disgust and slammed his bedroom door.
The second delivery was unexpected, but far from a complete surprise. Exactly one week later a truck grumbled up the drive. Whether it was the same one, or the same driver, Mike never knew, for he’d insisted his father send it away. “Tell him to take it back. Tell him to tell him that I don’t want it! We’ve already got more chocolate than I can eat in a lifetime.” Mr. Teavee sighed and nodded, long-experienced in choosing the best action for placating his son. Certainly he'd noticed the antagonism between Mr. Wonka and the boy, and was compassionately aware of the angry spark this delivery ignited in Mike. He couldn't blame him for being upset, but it wasn't the chocolate's fault.
* * * *
Suspicion towards Wonka’s motives immediately consumed Mike. Jaded and wiser after his factory experience, he was not at all inclined to trust. The lifetime supply of chocolate was part of the Golden Ticket deal, but Wonka knew Mike didn’t like it...which was probably why he sent it. A man who found it amusing to ensnare children by taunting them--granting their dearest wishes and then twisting the wishes into vicious attacks on them--would certainly be expected to exact this kind of petty, childish, rub-it-in-your-face revenge. He’d underestimated this man before...and ended up physically violated. No, he wouldn’t bite this time; at least he could be maturely above those pathetic ploys.
* * * *
Mike pretended to ignore every squeal of brakes in the weeks that followed, even the suspiciously-timed ones. It was too much to dare to look outside, lest he break the illusion. Self-delusion only carried him so far in keeping up the pretence that he didn't notice what was going on. Not every vehicle could be the garbage truck or a parcel delivery for a neighbor. If the Wonka trucks kept coming, that could only mean that Dad had ignored his instructions to send them away...which meant that the chocolate was lurking somewhere nearby.
It didn't take long to find it. There it was, in the garage: a monolith of crated candy his father had not seen fit to give away...or throw away. Anger, wretchedness, and betrayal warred in his thoughts. Dad's inaction marked his complicity just as surely as if he'd ordered the chocolate himself. Unsure whether to feel hurt or to chalk up another enemy, Mike focused his hostility outward. The more he frowned with disapproval at the chocolate tower, the more it frowned back.
A black thrill traveled through his body, momentarily erasing his vision. His fists clenched, but he never felt it. Kicking over the neatly-stacked tower, he pulled the boxes open and enjoyed the sweet delight of snapping the bars to bits.
By the time his father found him, those bars which hadn’t been crushed utterly were arranged in rows beside him, stripped of their wrappers and awaiting their own destruction. Mr. Teavee’s eyes swept across the disarray of the garage floor to his son sitting in the middle of it. “I told you ‘don’t accept them’!” Mike spat. “Don’t let him bring any more or this is how they’ll end up.”
The boy’s eyes blazed dangerously. He’d been very edgy, to say the least, since coming back from the factory tour, Mike’s father reflected. The child was prone to aggressive temper-tantrums, and it appeared he had every right to this one. Though of the opinion that Mr. Wonka's treatment of Mike had been rather...excessive, he took the same tack with his son’s behavior as he had with Wonka’s--he quietly ignored it.
* * * *
Mike relaxed his reasoning. True, he did not enjoy eating chocolate, but he had discovered a marvelously gratifying use for it. Some candy bars met a far slower end than the ones in the garage. Mike watched patiently as each curlicue letter of W-o-n-k-a melted into an illegible puddle of goo, catching fire as it dripped through the barbecue grille. Chocolate was far less formidable an opponent when bubbling crisply into a black ash. There was a certain beauty to be found in the acrid smell of incinerated milk chocolate.
Mike found equal satisfaction in running a knife over the name on the bar until it was obliterated under a mass of waxy shavings. Gouging the “o” in its eye, he punctuated his derision with a twisting stab.
The allure of target practice took over from stabbing. Armed with his bb gun, Mike lined up row after row of enemy soldiers to be executed for conspiracy. With carnal delight he watched them jump and shatter--they thought they were born to be treats, but they were mere pawns meant to sate an altogether different appetite. For the benefit of the truck driver Mike made sure that the carcasses had been deliberately strewn on the front lawn--send that message back to your leader!
* * * *
Still, with every week came another box, arriving as fast as he could dispatch them. To track his productivity, Mike found it wise to record how many candy bars met their deserved demise each day, and in what manner. What he hadn’t expected to find so gratifying was the sense of reliving his conquests. He felt devious pride at the end of each day to look over his accomplishments and congratulate himself on meting out his own brand of justice. Fifteen blocks of chocolate per box...six boxes...in each of four containers...three hundred and sixty victims just as lovingly destroyed as they were lovingly made. They added up quickly.
Along with his loathing for chocolate, Mike cultivated a festering animosity toward the delivery driver himself--for it was always the same man. In more ways than one, Mike classed him into the same “Vindictive” category as Wonka. He was just as much in collusion in this punishment-prize as the egotistical chocolatier himself. Though this man's cheerfulness seemed genuine, his loyalty as a Wonka employee labeled him "foe." He was the more immediate problem. If the driver would just stop coming this cycle could end!
* * * *
In a world of foul-minded or ineffectual adults, it was up to Mike to take matters into his own hands. All things considered, Mike felt quite justified in his paranoia. From the continued offensive presence of a foreigner on his family’s property to his newly-obsessive thought patterns, it was clear he’d been allowing Wonka to take hold of his world. Little man, what now?
Mike sat alone, tugging and twisting the hair at the back of his head, thinking--for the first time--that perhaps Wonka was neither an absent-minded eccentric nor childishly belligerent, but rather...a clever psychopath. Even intelligent and wary people could unwittingly fall prey to the skullduggery of diseased minds. He dismissed the unsettling wave of fear. This could be good thing, a windfall. It was a challenge worthy of his brains. Wonka expected him to think his way out of this...but Mike had already thought far ahead of that. He thought over the thought that thinking can get in the way of action, and so far his actions had been rewarding.
* * * *
Mike soon found it was easier to brace himself for the deliveries if he lay waiting in bed. His internal clock rang its alarm, eyes opened on instinct, sensing the growl of the truck long before it reached human earshot. The roaring, screeching approach was equal parts torture and relief; relief, because at the very least, it meant that the anticipation was over. The torture was secondary; he was learning to master it. He found himself almost looking forward to the next arrival...with a chilling greed he preferred not to think about. This new shipment of internees would never get the chance to force their passive-aggressive intentions on Mike Teavee. Picking up his bb gun, he slid cat-like out of bed.
The driver no longer came to the door to ring the bell, but Mike could still hear his insufferable cheery whistling as he deposited the cardboard case with a thud. He peered at the man menacingly through a crack in the blinds, pointing his gun at the truck labeled “Wonka,” then at the delivery man. “Go,” he warned the back of the man’s dark head. “Go quickly. Best not to test how long I will maintain my iron control.”
The driver threw a friendly wave to no one as he drove away, and Mike cringed, the unwilling recipient of that sunny gesture. He spun around, blind but straight-armed, pulled the trigger and blew a bb through a Fudgemallow bar which toppled from the bookshelf, dead.
Rage faded and his vision cleared. The mood-stabilizing meds were taking their toll on his stamina. Suddenly weak-kneed, he sat on his bed, panting with exhausted relief.
* * * *
He awoke tangled in the bed sheets, t-shirt soaked in clammy sweat. The nightmare took him back to the factory. Oompa-Loompa creatures swarmed over Mike, holding him down, touching him, clutching at him with tiny claws. While a huge top hat hovered over them all, slowly descending, wicked laughter rang out from the left, the right, everywhere--even inside Mike’s own head. The black interior of the hat devoured them, trapping them in a cave where he could still feel his arms and legs being tugged at. When Mike decided to quit struggling, he found blessed relief in surrender.
Not in real life, Mike thought. I won’t give in. I’m going to win.
* * * *
“I thought I warned you last week,” the boy murmured to his darkened bedroom. The sheet popped off the corner of the mattress as he climbed onto his bed to look out of the window, bb gun in hand. That sadistic delivery man hopped down from his vehicle with a package, so proud to do his job. He trotted up and back down the walk with a bouncy gait, plastic grin forever twinkling and mocking Mike ironically. “Yeah, you’d better run,” he said, closing one eye to the imaginary cross-hairs.
This time, when the driver pulled out with a friendly beep-beep of the horn, Mike looked up. A purple-gloved hand--doubled by reflection in the side mirror--waved out the window.
Mike couldn’t stop screaming for ten minutes.
* * * *
Mr. Teavee’s school district was in the less-than-hospitable end of town, and he’d taken steps to protect himself. He’d hidden it well...from an ordinary eleven-year-old. A bb gun was for games, and this was not a game anymore.
Not a game. Not now, now that Mike was sure of what he’d seen--just as he was sure he heard the chocolate bars shrieking as they melted, and that they flinched before he shot them. This match was to be ended simply, just as it was contrived to end. Mike felt secure in his most important advantage over Wonka: he was sure Wonka didn’t expect him to win. This game had become real, and Mike was good at games. He was top man on every video game he’d ever played. His eye was sharp and his aim was true. As soon as he heard the beast rounding the street corner, he lifted his father’s gun in his short little arms and steadied the shot.
* * * *
Again reporters and television crews flocked to the Teavee house. Mike Teavee’s parents refused to speak to them, and shortly after the incident packed up their belongings to move closer to their son. The truck driver fell out of the line of fire and managed to stay clear from most of the shots fired. He suffered a painful but non-lethal gunshot wound through the left shoulder. Though expected to make a full recovery, he is settling multiple claims through his employer.
Mike Teavee was not put into juvenile detention for attempted murder, having been found in need of psychiatric care. Expectations for his recovery are less certain.
Mr. Willy Wonka was unavailable for comment.
* * * *
On Christmas morning, the entire ward met up in the day room. A semi-circle of chairs and sofas faced the holiday tree, miserably decorated with the patients’ art therapy projects. A paler, thinner Mike Teavee blankly took his usual seat. Looking about through his veil of apathy he noticed the sorry array of gifts under the tree--hardly enough to go around as many young people as were living their holidays there. Maybe the boys’ families would bring more during visiting hours. The presents weren’t wrapped very impressively, either--no bows or ribbons.
In fact, one wasn’t even wrapped at all.
His body knew what it was before his brain did. Mike began to quake and shudder all over, tunnel-visioned onto the large Wonka shipping box. It swayed and blurred, and though never moving from under the tree it floated toward Mike. Shutting his eyes firmly, he willed it away. It was impossible that it could be there. When he tentatively opened his eyes, it was gone, but relief was slow to return. Shuddering in panic, he hunched down under his shoulders. A nurse was approaching, having noticed Mike’s odd behavior. If he showed signs of an explosive episode, he’d be taken away and drugged into submission, so he struggled for composure. Deliberately tensing every muscle to keep his body still, he stopped shaking, but his heart pounded on. The nurse gave him an appraising look, but he left Mike alone.
Reluctantly, as a test, he turned his attention back to the tree. There it was again—the nemesis, the Wonka, the case of Wonkas. How could it be there? How--? The trembling returned and Mike could do nothing to stop it. It didn’t matter any more. His body mercifully shut down.
The next time he closed his eyes, they stayed closed.
A/N: He can be dead if you want, but I don't think he is.