The board room was silent but for the whir of the projector and dark but for the downward jagging line it cast. It had been a bad decade for capers, and a Brain Trust of the finest marketing minds had been gathered by the National Caper Committee. They sat with calm faces and white knuckles, ties loosened and sleeves rolled up, signifying hard work. The Chairman stood and slammed his fist into the table, scattering a menagerie of paper-clip animals that had been lovingly crafted by the easily distracted Art Director.
"Another year, another bumper crop of capers! More capers then we know what to do with, yet only five percent of them sell each year, the rest fill warehouses!"
The Brain Trust nodded solemnly, imagining the millions of tons of capers brooding in briny darkness.
"Our social network, CaperSpace, a flop! The apocalyptic alternate reality game, Caper Revolution, laughed into oblivion! Our cooking show, Caper Cookery, appeals only to the 36-55 schizophrenic demographic!"
He turned the lights on and sat down. A janitor pushed in with his cart and began dusting the fake plants.
"This is our last chance. Focus groups have shown that ninety percent of the population don't even know what a caper is, let alone what one tastes like."
The social psychologist spoke up.
"We need to create a need for the product, not just a want."
"Value added is where it is at! What else can capers do for you asides from being tasty when wrapped in bacon?" said the Head Marketer.
The janitor stopped dusting and cleared his throat. "My gramma ate a dozen capers a day and she lived to be a hundred ten years old."
The air squealed as every chair in the room swiveled to the dusty man with the lazy eye.
"What?" shouted the Chairman.
"No lie, she said they balanced her humors, whatever that means."
The marketer threw a pile of charts into the air and said grandly, "Sirs, we have our solution."
A series of studies were conducted at the most prestigious medical schools Las Vegas had to offer. Exhaustive testing lasting hundreds of minutes came to the conclusion that daily intake of at least six ounces of capers daily combated cancer, obesity, stress, depression, anxiety, lethargy, female troubles, erectile dysfunction, and male pattern baldness. Press releases stating these facts were sent to all media outlets. Daytime talk show hosts had very special guests that had written books extolling the virtues of the caper. While night time talk show hosts peppered their jokes with the word caper simply because it was everywhere in the news. An ad campaign, "Capers=Life", was unleashed on the market. Bill boards showing smiling families gathered around a dinner table heaped high with capers canvassed the highways and a new caper-based energy drink, "C4p3r-Sh0tz", became wildly popular amongst the 18-26 demographic. They had little time to work their way through a jar of capers between school and binge drinking.
Caper consumption soared by orders of magnitude. Most people began to develop a resistance to the capery flavor and had to consume more and more capers in order to attain a proper feeling of "Caperation", as it began to be called. Many heavy users were noted to eat more than a pound of capers each day. People still got sick and died, but this was blamed on simply not eating enough capers.
Things were going swimmingly for the National Caper Committee. Profits were absurdly high. Mansions were bought, a skyscraper was drafted for the new headquarters. The janitor was given a new mop.
This all changed when the Caper Beasts began to appear.
It happened nearly overnight. Especially intrepid caper enthusiasts began to change when their caper levels passed a threshold never before witnessed by humanity. Their bodies bloated and became rubbery and sickly green. They exuded a pungent mustard like aroma and lost all sense of rational thinking. Covered in bulging green tumors filled with caustic brine, they would destroy everything around them, and kill anyone that stood in their way. They couldn't be stopped by knives, or bullets or bombs, their body now too gelatinous to sustain any harm. The population was helpless against the beasts, and they were multiplying with haste. Despite the negative ramifications now connected to caper consumption, people kept eating them.
The Brain Trust met again, a month after the first Caper Beast appeared. Two of the original members were absent and assumed capered. A picture of a particularly salty looking Caper Beast was projected on the screen behind the Chairman.
"Gentleman, the government is holding us accountable for this little problem."
The room roared with disbelief and rabble.
"This is ridiculous! What are we supposed to do about the caper freaks?" shouted the Marketer.
"Excessively Capered is the politically correct term." Lisped the art director, cattily.
"I won't stand for this! I'm leaving." The Marketer moved to stand, but was stopped by the firm hand of the Chairman.
"None of us can leave until this is resolved. We are under armed guard, and Washington has held us on penalty of death if we do not clean up our mess." He sighed wearily. "We have twelve hours to give them a plan."
Just then, out in the street, an army jeep lost control and flipped over, throwing the driver to the pavement. Within moments dozens of Caper Beasts came galumphing out of the shadows and tore the man to bits. It was like this everywhere now. The Brain Trust returned to their seats and immediately set to the task.
Eight hours later nothing had been resolved. They were at wits end when the janitor wandered in to empty the wastepaper baskets.
"Even if we can't destroy the beasts, perhaps there is some way we can sedate them." Piped up the art director, the line of cocaine he just snorted helping him think outside the box.
The janitor, who had been filling his pockets with used tissues, spoke.
"When gramma got all green and ornery like those folks out there we would just wrap her in bacon. That would set her straight for a spell."
The Scientist took off his spectacles, awestruck.
"Of course, it makes perfect sense!"
The Art Director was giggling like a madman now, cutting two more fat lines of powder. "There are millions of them! Where will we ever find that much bacon?"
The Scientist stood, placed his spectacles back on his long nose and walked to the projected image of the Caper Beast. He rubbed the wall with his thin fingers like he was petting the thing.
"I need a week, a laboratory and two female assistants."
The room burst into action as the plan was outlined. The Chairman smiled and grabbed the phone.
"Get me Washington."
The Brain Trust was given a week extension on their death sentence, and the scientist was given everything he asked for. Seven days later he stood before the congressional committee with something that looked like an aluminum remote control with a spatula protruding from one end. He hadn't slept in days, but there was a smirk of triumph at the corner of his weary mouth as he addressed the room.
"I present to you the solution to our troubles. The Suscaroluminplasmator!" He held it aloft and flipped a switch on its side. A low hum that could only be heard in the back of one's molars began to fill the room. Inexplicably, mouths began to water.
"What is it?" Called the representative from Texas, drooling uncontrollably.
The room exploded with dismay and anger. The speaker stood and banged his gavel until the outcry was silenced.
"We did not give you five billion dollars to make a fool of us. Explain yourself. "
"I will show you." He nodded to his assistants, who left the room and returned pushing a rectangular shape six feet tall that was covered in a drop cloth.
"All things, matter, energy, time, and even bacon are made up of waves. We simply had to determine the quantum shape of these 'Bacon Waves' and create an apparatus that could oscillate neutral matter, in this case simple white light, and transmogrify it into what we need."
The representative from Texas stood and placed his hand on his sidearm. "Boy, are you trying to tell me you made a bacon gun?"
"One could say that," said the Scientist as he pointed the device at the Texan and fired. Nothing could be seen, but a crackling sizzle permeated the room and a familiar smell took hold of all of their noses. The Texan sat down, smacking his lips. He appeared comatose, with glassy eyes and a gaping mouth that kept chewing at air. There was a panic.
"Remain calm!" The scientist shouted, "The effects are quite temporary on humans, and, I must say, rather pleasurable."
"Mmmmm." moaned the Texan.
"As for Caper Beasts-!" he whirled and his assistants ripped the cover from the hermetically sealed glass case. It contained the largest Caper Beast anyone in attendance had ever witnessed. Screaming started.
"Mgomf!" called the Caper Beast. It began to beat spidery cracks into the glass.
"-it has quite the opposite effect!" The scientist pulled the trigger and the air was thick with the rich greasy smell. The beast screamed and collapsed into a steaming savory pile.
And they had a feast that would not soon be forgotten.
Moral: There is no problem bacon cannot solve.
Thanks to Brenton Harper-Murray, a man whose talent is mercilessly paraded for our amusement on Poor Brenton's Notebook