Quality Without Compromise®

All trademarks and rights thereto belong to See’s Candy Shops, Incorporated. They are presented here solely to indicate that they are intellectual property of See’s Candy Shops, Incorporated.

This is a work of creative fiction, which may contain references to actual public figures, corporations, and other business entities. Nothing within this fictional story is meant to represent any actual thoughts, behaviors, actions, inactions, nor any other aspect of any real persons, corporations, or other business entities.

Sweet Gig?

Glancing nervously at the security camera, Eden Offen popped yet another deluxe chocolate confection into her mouth, this one a Butterchew®, enrobed in decadent dark chocolate.

{Enrobed} she mused in her mind. {What kind of word is “enrobed”, relative to food? Is the center some form of royalty?! Or maybe that old horndog dude with the last-century erotica publishing empire that always wore a robe.}

Of an age where Hugh Hefner was (barely) still a household name, Eden totally blanked on it.

A freshly-imperfect milk chocolate caramel dropped into her bowl with a plunk, soon followed by those thin hard sticks the company called Molasses Chips—available in Milk and Dark Chocolate varieties—and used for ballast, to exactly hit the one or two or whatever pound mark on the scale when packing the boxes.

Those white boxes, with the picture of the old lady with round wire-rim glasses, who would‘ve been her great grandmother’s age, at least. Or maybe her gran’s, since in her family the generations were spaced far apart. Famous all over the U.S. west coast and many other parts of the world amongst the chocolate cognoscenti, for very high-grade chocolates of many kinds. Always in those white boxes with black print and decorations—always. Sold in the very retro, very black and white porcelain-laden candy shops, standalone, in malls (for places which still had malls), pop-up kiosks at events, and elsewhere, by ladies in white uniforms capable of making anyone who wore one look like a matronly granny just off her nursing shift, whether 20 or 80 years old in chronological reality.

Eden had a whole lot of time to think about things, as long as she dutifully tossed whatever chocolates appeared in her shiny stainless steel bowl into her mouth and ate them before the bowl overfilled, or, more precisely, so many piled into the bowl that she’d fall behind on consuming them and never catch up.

Plink plink: 2 more. Despite having eaten these fine candies with family on many a holiday past (as well as on her own when she was being a naughty lusty girl, later woman), she’d not memorized the names, knowing most by sight only.

The first one in her mouth had a dark chocolate square base with a preponderance of fully exposed nuts on top, bound together by caramel or similar. To her it looked a lot like how she figured her teeth and gums would look when this ordeal was over.

That first of this new pair was already history, sliding down her gullet. The second she hurriedly tossed in was one of the more traditional fully “enrobed” offerings: the rectangular one with the chocolate candy sprinkles some of her relatives called jimmies for reasons unknown. While she could take or leave the sprinkles, in See’s-Land these sprinkles meant one of her favorites was coming her way, no matter whether rectangular, round, or any other shape.

She studied the picture-with-names flyer she’d picked up, learning (likely learning again) that the first one was named Dark Walnut Square. She had no need to memorize these names—all she had to do was eat what was given to her. She did this unnecessary studying to alleviate boredom, since any personal tech usage, whether handheld or otherwise, was forbidden whilst on-duty.

Before she could locate her tasty sprinkle-laden confection (already on its way to partially become part of her) on the flyer, at about the same moment several chocolate balls rolled noisily into her bowl and the room door opened. The timing of these events startled her, making her jump slightly.

“Oh hey! Someone else today” the new arrival alliterated with a smile, closing the door behind her. Her smile and its aim directly at Eden persisted as multiple parts of her bounced multiple ways during her beeline walk straight over, arm extended for a handshake. “I’m Shira.”

“I’m Eden, and I’ve got to get these balls in my mouth!”

“That’s the first thing I said to this guy I met last night—and about as fast after meeting him, too! Dang, it was worth it” she gazed blankly towards the window, a serene expression on her face.

By this time Eden had already popped the quartet of chocolate spheres into her mouth and was almost finished chewing them. {Could be about my age} she thought as she munched. {Then again, I don’t look my chronological age—thankfully!—and “middle” spans a long range. Smoothness and perfection of her skin suggests younger. Her tubbo fatness suggests older.}

“How’re you liking–”

Plink Plop Clunk!—3 candies fell into the bowl next to the unoccupied wide plushly upholstered seat across from Eden’s. As the third one fell, Plop Plunk—2 more arrived in Eden’s bowl. Just as she reached for them, plink flop plop—3 more came in for her and 3 for Shira.

“Mmmm, guess we have work to do” said Shira as she took her seat, popping the first chocolate into her mouth. “We’ll catch up more when we have some free mouth time.”


Free mouth time remained sparse. While there was never a flood of chocolates into either Shira’s or Eden’s bowls, the roughly 1 liter capacity of the bowls suggested the threat was there. Not knowing how many candies would drop when—totally random—Eden found it prudent to go with the flow of their arrival. Apparently so too did Shira, judging from what Eden picked up watching her.

The weirdness and newness of the situation and stresses related thereto compelled Eden to slip in a few words to break the nearly half hour of (for her tense) silence where she could. “What’re you in for?”

Shira swallowed her current partly-chewed chocolate fast to reply, “This isn’t a prison!”

“Didn’t you (chew, chew) do like a plea bargain thing?”

“It’s not a plea bargain, it’s a job.” Chew, chew, chew. “They‘re paying you, right?”

“Dollar above minimum wage, yes.” Crunch, crunch. “Wasn’t exactly entirely voluntary for me, though.”

“What happened?”

Eden held up and waved her hand as she chewed her way through a couple of caramels, one milk, one dark. Eventually her mouth was clear and able to say, “Hurled a molotov cocktail towards an open window here.”

Shira bolted upright, nearly choking on her current confection. Indeed, she needed to pour herself some water and sip to help her finish swallowing before she could either speak or consume her next chocolate. “Here at the factory?”

“Original Los Angeles factory we’re in, yes. Maybe I shoulda done S.F.” she ended in a mutter.

“Why would you do that?! It’s just a candy company!”

To get their attention!” she yelled. “Emails didn’t work! Paper letters didn’t work! Nothing worked!

{Oh shit. I’m in with a lunatic} she thought as she chewed. “What what what were they ignoring that matters so much to you?”

Who the hell writes ‘Rose Bowl Parade’ and gets away with it alive?! It’s the goddamned Tournament of Roses Parade, fucktards!” she screamed more at the room in general than Shira.

{OK, what did they tell me to do in case of emergency?!} she grew more frantic, fiercely masticating the latest majority-crunchy arrivals in her bowl.

“Or Rose Parade, if one’s being terse. Everyone with even a pea-brain knows this!

To Shira’s relief, Eden shoveled the growing pile of fine chocolates from her bowl into her mouth all at once. Needing to keep working on her own, the two women studied each other for awhile as they chewed.

“Are you a Pasadenan?” Shira broke the minute or so of verbal silence.

Yes—generations so! My grandfather and his father and a brother or something all worked in the City of Pasadena parks department. Grandfather got into the Association and worked his way up–”

“–The Association? That 1960s sunshine pop band who did Along Comes Mary and Cherish and all that?”

{How the fuck old are you?!} Eden thought and stared at her interrupting apparent co-worker, blowing through the latest confection in her bowl—a lemon truffle. “The Tournament of Roses Association! He worked humbly in many positions for years and years and worked his way up as those who want to do so and are eligible all do until his turn came to be President of the Tournament of Roses Association, and ride in as well as be in charge of that year’s Tournament of Roses Parade.” She had to quickly stuff some recently-arrived chocolates in her mouth so as not to fall behind. The mix of white, milk, and dark chocolate all at once was suboptimal taste-wise, but it was what it was, and she swallowed it fast to add, “It’s a matter of family honor and common decency! And they won’t fix iiiiiittttt!

“Do you need an early break, Ms. Offen?” burst out of a concealed loudspeaker.

I knew they were monitoring in here” she muttered softly Shira’s direction. “Is that you, Mr. Easter?”

“Yes.”

“I apologize for my outburst, and I still intend to fulfill the terms of our agreement. But I wish for the love of all that’s good in the world and accuracy that you’d please correct the website! It’s never never never never never been the ‘Rose Bowl Parade’! The Parade predated the football bowl game by years! Hell, the Parade started in 1890 and the first Rose Bowl football Game wasn’t until 1902—12 years later! How can you do this?! How can you let this stand?! The See family lived in Pasadena, fer chrissakes! Marengo & Bellevue! They knew! They knew it was and is the Tournament of Roses! It’s a travesty to have it so very wrong on their own company’s website!

“All things in due time, Ms. Offen. You may have had a little too much sugar and caffeine from the chocolates already, this being your first day and all. Please go ahead and take a quarter hour break, wherever you want. Do consider having some water or herbal tea or savory food to help settle you back down.”


Not knowing anyone else and feeling vaguely uncomfortable elsewhere on the premises, Eden returned to her and Shira’s work room with a full mug of Calm Clouds tea well before it reached its minimum steeping time, resuming her comfortable seat.

“Nice in here, huh?” Shira commented between her latest chocolate chomps.

“Not at all the dank, windowless basement with single super-buzzy tubular fluorescent light that I’d feared when they roped me into this.”

Indeed it wasn’t. Airy and bright with windows, skylights, fresh paint, fresh air, nice comfortable overstuffed furniture… it was a very nice space in many ways.

“So tell me again what happened once you threw the molotov cocktail?”

“The man I now know as Mr. Easter happened to be exiting his car on his way back towards the building, standing right behind me when I jumped out of my car, poured and lit the cocktail, and threw it. A maintenance guy appeared out of nowhere in the doorway near the window I hit with a fire extinguisher, and had my improvised incendiary device extinguished almost as fast as I’d lit it, immediately crashing me into depression at having so epically failed.

“Soon as I turned my head, an L.A.P.D. patrol car rolled up, lights no siren, and Mr. Easter appeared just behind me. The officers took a report from Mr. Easter and a confession from me, then asked Mr. Easter if he wanted to press charges. He asked for a moment to have a private word with me, which the officers granted him. Between the option of misdemeanor vandalism at a minimum on my record plus likely probation or fines or jail time versus taking this job to eat factory reject chocolates for 6 months with no charges pressed, the choice seemed obvious.”

Shira chowed down on a just-arrived Milk Rum Nougat, not anticipating the numminess of the rumminess. “Would you make a different choice now?”

“Hell no! I’m jus gonna… make my way through this, grateful for my high metabolism, so I won’t get fat.”

Pffft!” Shira snorted in high amusement, pretending to turn it into a sneeze to mask her mirth.

She ignored Shira’s response, sipping her tea, then asking, “So how’d you wind up chowing down on defective chocolates, like me?”

“Unauthorized sex at work. Around food, being served to the public.”

Ewww! Why?!”

“Horniness and boredom! Why else? There’s a reason our catering company gets snarky spelled B-O-N-E Bone Appetit.” She bit into one then the other of her latest 2 chocolates: a Milk Bordeaux® then a Milk Butterscotch Square, starting to speak with her mouth partly full, “I’rm nurt the only one who works there—worked there—who runs sexually hot.”

“Do I even want to know where?”

“The Huntington Library, Museum, and Botanical Gardens, which I’m sure a local like you knows is abbreviated to The Huntington the way we can get away with Rose Parade without inciting your literally fiery wrath.”

Eden rubbed her forehead, then took another sip of tea. “Yeahhh, the improvised incendiary device plan was pretty much the nadir of my personal judgement over my life so far. Guess I’m glad that I got off so easily.”

“Yeah, that was my problem at that job: getting off far too easily and often. I didn’t think either of us were spraying nor otherwise spreading anything near enough to the cooktop, but the crispy well-done pubes wedged in Sad Trombone’s teeth indicated otherwise.”

“Woah woah what? Who? Where?”

“Me and Jared, who’s a great lay and one of my work regulars, were working the kitchen I think in the 1919 Café, but really we did it so much so many places, it might have been one of the other kitchens. Grill was full, wasn’t time to flip yet. No one else was back there. He was hard for me, I was wet for him, our usual sloppy kisses happened, then our usual fucking happened—usual in that we routinely boned at work, not that we were stuck in any kind of rut in terms of specifics. It had never been a problem before—we did it behind a stack of boxes. I can’t tell you how the pubes got into Sad Trombone’s burger patty, just that they did.” She got that contemplative look again, “Kinda makes me wonder what they’d taste like with a little extra virgin olive oil. Huh—virgin olive oil and non-virgin pubes… there’s a mash-up for ya!”

{This is so gross! And it’s just the first day! Gaaaah!} “Who or what is Sad Trombone? And if it’s anything remotely like rusty trombone, please don’t tell me!”

“No no no. It’s the name of the President of The Huntington at the time. Not her real name, which was Trombley something, I guess… something close to that. We just all called her Sad Trombone, because her presence and activities made the folks who worked there before she arrived sad, and that’s what they all started calling her.”

“Why were they sad?”

Shira needed to down a few Dark Molasses Chips and a Dark Maple Walnut before she could reply. “Ever known some hotshot who breezes in to head up some company or other organization, then totally fucks it up and over doing things for their own self-aggrandizement? Then when others cotton on and try to right the ship, they skip town, erase any record of their wrongdoing, and repeat the process some other place?”

“Can’t say that I have.”

“Well, if you listen to The Huntington folks who worked there before her time, that’s what I got of their consensus opinion. Rumors that she trashed Pitzer College before breezing into The Huntington, but I couldn’t find any provable evidence of that when I looked, just speculation and innuendo. She brought our company in to do catering, so I have no personal knowledge of things prior to her. Nor, once my or Jared’s or both our short curlies were wedged between her teeth, after.”

“So what does any of that have to do with you scarfing down reject fine chocolates with me? Did this Unhappy Trombone person–”

“–Sad Trombone, please. She’s not worth more syllables than that.”

“Alright. Did or does Sad Trombone have any connection with See’s?”

“Munger.”

“Oh?”

“You don’t know this, Ms. Pasadena? From what I’ve read, Charlie Munger of Berkshire Hathaway which owns See’s amongst all kinds of other companies lives in your fair city.”

That’s all the more reason for the web dipshits here to fix the fucking history time line page! That 1949 entry is one of the greatest abominations in the history of the written WORD!

{She’s unhinged. Tote unhinged} Shira struggled not to cower.

TOURNAMENT! OF! ROSEEEEESSSS!

DROP IT!” Shira yelled back. “You’ve got delicious candies to eat.”

Sullenly, Eden complied. The perfectly balanced scintillating flavors of the Key Lime Truffle she was currently enjoying made her tastebuds dance. {If they keep feeding me ones which are this good, I’m going to stop caring about much of anything else besides having more of these} she thought. Despite the roughly pound and a quarter of chocolates she’d already consumed so far this work day, the inevitability of her situation plus gustatory joy of that last truffle made her look forward to the latest new additions dropped into her bowl.


“Glad you’re here today” Shira broke another several minute span of chocolate-eating-enforced silence.

“Even with all my rants?”

“That’s not my favorite part. But it’s nice having someone to talk to.”

“Why don’t they let us use our tech? That rule does make it seem like prison!”

“They do let you—me—us—everyone use them for emergency calls and texts.”

“Yeah, but not for anything else.” Eden had to stop for the better part of a minute to enjoy (and she truly did enjoy) a Dark Scotchmallow®. {Fuck, if they keep giving me these pieces of confection heaven I’m gonna get as fat as Shira, or—oh gosh no—some of those super lard ladies around the main office} she thought as she chewed. “What’s the difference to them if we’re chatting like this or staring at our screens?” She popped a Dark Vanilla Buttercream into her mouth, getting the hang of chewing and speaking at the same time, “If we’re not talking ’cause we’re in our own worlds on our respective screens, seems to me that’s more mouth time for processing their cast-offs.”

“I don’t claim to have everything about this place figured out, Eden. Nice name, though I keep wanting to call you Edie.”

“You may call me Edie” she blushed bright red, “as long as we’re friends.”

“We’re friends” Shira smiled back, “as long as we’re not ranting. I promise not to bring up the finer points of my sex life—unless you ask. And I’ll try not to trigger you on the parade thing.”

“You have a nice name too. ‘Shira’ slides off the tongue readily, with or without chocolate.”

Each of them received some mixed Milk and Dark Chocolate Stars, these confections immediately taking starring roles in each of their mouths.


Feeling a little better about this whole weird situation and in particular her new co-worker, Eden decided it was time to pick up one of several loose conversational threads. “I’m clear on the whole Munger–See’s–Pasadena thing. I still don’t get how what you did when you worked for the catering company at The Huntington gets you in here filling up on chocolates with me. Something about Munger, but then we went off the rails.”

“Ever thought about how Munger rhymes with hunger?”

“No. Is that the connection?”

“No. Just occurred to me and I thought it was interesting. There’s a Munger on the board of The Huntington—not Charlie, but a close relation. Sad Trombone was really torqued with the whole, um–”

“–I know.”

“Yeah, that thing. She seemed to want me in prison, but with my offense only rising to the level of firing and possibly being shun- and reputation-banned from food service, there didn’t seen to be an option which satisfied her. Once she learned my true calling is as an exotic dancer, she got with the Munger on the board who got with someone here who got me into this, to ‘destroy’ my figure via fattening me with chocolates, so my exotic dancing career would collapse.”

“Why are you air quoting ‘destroy’” she didn‘t air quote, but your author single-quoted in this long sentence to set off in the story text for easier reading comprehension.

“Formerly an exotic dancer, now a belly dancer!” she grinned, tossing her soft, significantly tubby belly fat around with both hands.

A rush of weird feelings seeing Shira’s soft, creamy, surprisingly pale fat belly skin suddenly pulled out of her pants and shirt and played with gave Eden significant vertigo.

“Time for some water, girl.”

Sipping water did help. Shira putting her belly away helped more. Eden felt sure she wasn’t romantically/sexually/intimately attracted to Shira, but something about seeing that belly and that playful fun smile and hand play along with it gave her mysterious feelings of a similarly powerful nature.

“Ever considered getting into belly dancing?”

“I’m not fat!” Eden stridently insisted. “And I’m not going to be!”

The smirky look Shira gave her as they both ate the latest rounds of cast-off candies appearing in their respective bowls riled Eden further.

“Size 16 is not fat!” she ranted once her mouth was free, muttering at the end, “any more”.

“Alright” she tried not to snicker, still grinning far more than Eden felt at all appropriate. “That’s 16W, right?”

Neither of us are exactly in the Junior size range any longer, are we?!

“Settle. Juuuust wanting to make sure we’re using the same sizing system.”

“Does it really matter, when they’re all arbitrary unitless numbers which don‘t even correlate between brands within a given system?! What’s got you all wistfully staring off into space now?”

“Guy I dated. Joe Bob was quite the unitless number. Not that I’m a size queen—not much, anyway—but apparently he was absent the day of the boy-to-man upgrades. Great with his tongue, though. Really great with his tongue!” she rolled her eyes and stuck her own tongue out lustily.

The plinking of several chocolates into each of their bowls once again ended conversation for the moment.


Eden heard the end-of-shift signal out on the main floor. “Day’s over already?!”

“What? You haven’t had enough chocolates yet?”

Don’t say the C word!

“Which one?”

“The one you just said 2 sentences ago!”

“Oh, so you‘re good with me saying candy? Candy candy candy candy.”

“Stop!”

“We love candy! They make lots of sweet, sugary, C-word-coated candy here!”

Any C word!”

“♫ Bom bommm!

Bom bom.

C-word is the word I use to descri- iiiiibe

All the feeling that I have ♫–”

“–What’s with you and your The Association fixation?!”

“You do know that song!”

Shut up! I’m not as old as I look! Wait a minute—other way ’round, other way!

“Yeah we should go out the other way” Shira agreed once she stuck her head out the door and looked both ways. “Big crush at the main door right now. Reminds me of this guy–”

“–No more of your date stuff, please Shira? Maybe tomorrow, but I’m struggling to work out how to have dinner without hurling.”

“Same thing I told you and we did together at lunch: hydrate. Eat veggies and savory, avoiding as many C word ingredients of which we’ve both eaten a lot today as possible. Follow me; I’ll show you the sneaky snake way out to the parking lot.”

Shira looked a lot more like a hippo or cow than a snake from Eden’s vantage point behind her as she led the way. Indeed, Eden barely picked up on much at all of her new work surroundings, eyes fixated as they were. {Whyyyy am I staring at your big rounded bouncy fatass buns?! Did not know chocolate was this sort of mind-altering substance.}

As they parted ways heading towards the parking lot and their respective vehicles, somehow being in the outer world made life seem normal to Eden again. {Maybe I will be able to survive this ordeal} she thought as she unlocked her old car’s door.