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Date: February 4, 1999

Constraint:
Find a product that contains a list of ingredients and compose a story in which each sentence contains an ingredient contained, in the order listed on the package. Feel free to break up compound words, e.g. splitting "corn syrup solids" into "corn," "syrup" and "solids" (though they must still all be used in the same sentence), or fiddle/tamper with more drearily chemical components, e.g. breaking down "polysorbate 80" into "Polly," "absorb," "ate," and "eighty."


Emily: Sugar (forgot to buy sugar)

Sugar (forgot to buy sugar). It's the first thing Sylvie Lemon thinks of this thick morning in February, rolled Otis on her left heaped in every bit of sheets, the dexterity with which he stays put, stays asleep, ignores her completely remarkable.

Dry mouth always reminds her of dry cereal wheat flakes, rice. Dry mouth reminds her of Otis. Stop it Sylvie, she says to herself, today you will not be a dried lemon. Just make the coffee. Sois bien.

How to make this day fructuous? (Fruitful. She had learned that word yesterday when she looked up frowzy musty, stale. See Otis.) Today, chewing her whole grain snackbar, fiddling with the coffee filter, she determines to use it indiscriminately, indiscriminately as corn syrup in prepackaged breakfast foods.

The view out the window is not fructuous partially obscured, she sees drizzle, a hydrant, a peanut colored van, the traffic light. Sois bien, Sylvie. Her hair is oily. She pours her nonfat milk, thinks better use the almond conditioner, better wake Otis.

On the walk to the station Sylvie passes the malt shop on the corner, watches the daily commute of the 111th street chihuahuas in their matching slickers. Absorbed by it all, she does not recite the 111th Street poem, Love is not all. Not meat nor drink nor hunger. Nor does she savor the flavor of street signs natural, beautiful, happy, fructuous. She considers infrastructure, the relationship between the city and acid, potholes, the layers of decay represented by subway tiles, how it's all so unwieldy. Salt, she says to herself. It was not sugar I forgot to buy. It was salt.

-- Starbucks Lively Lemon Bar
Sugar, rolled oats, dextrose, wheat flakes, rice, dried lemon (sulfited), soybeans, fructose, corn syrup, partially hydrogenated peanut & soybean oil, nonfat milk, almonds, malt, sorbitol, natural flavor, citric acid, salt


Mark: Silverwater

O silverwater. Yet it, and the garden containing the bitter scent of pines and sweet apples vanished as the mirage revealed itself as mirage. Instead the juice of hot sand filled my mouth. I could not concentrate; the sun cut across my back, cruel spears. As I continued my slow crawl through the choking heat, my visions grew perverse I witnessed fungal ascopores blooming in gray and anonymous sexes, felt my baked lips transform into strips of flypaper, heard the blood of snails run in rivers beneath my dunes, the acid flow flowing and hissing.

It is said--by those, whose health, I suspect, is robust--that the process of death grants one a final unity, but in my experience there was only madness, a world further unbalanced by shifting tints first the world was first corrupted by a hue of dusky apricot-orange, then as if through a cloudy aqua glass. I blacked out for some time; when I came to, a mist of insects buzzed about my head; against the blue sun, I noted in one insect the sculptural beauty of its thorax, the miraculous juga that bound the wings to the frail body. Concentrate, I thought, concentrate you must not forget your mission...what was it, again?...it was difficult to remember. Then, on the horizon, I saw it, the true mirage I sought, inside an elaborate oasis the mysterious ziggurat, nestled within a pool of lush vines, a maze of crossing pinnas and aciculas, tall palms laden with the fruit of impossible pineapples.

-- Goya pineapple juice
Water, pineapple juice concentrate, ascorbic acid
Agua, jugo concentrado de pina, acido ascorbico


Paul:

"Jimmy crack corn, and I don't care," sang carefree Rico, syrup dripping through his youthful baritone, "solids or liquids, I don't care." Partially hiding Rog, his trademark hand puppet, from the camera with his bulky body, he reached into the cupboard by his desk, pulled out a packet of non-dairy creamer, and ate it, soybean and/or canola oils turning to a gelatinous cream in his warm mouth, wide open to the audience.

"So, Dee--yum, caseinate!--your new film has been accused of being a milk--I mean, a BIT derivative of Biberman's 'Salt* Of The Earth'," he accused the day's guest, who happened to be wearing a short gold dress. "Dee, yes, but as--yum, phos--you said last time you were on the show--the SHOW, ladies and gentlemen!--fate decrees that there must be a certain amount of overlap in any two works that address the same subject. The 1917 strike against the Empire Mono- And Diglycerides Mine was a turning point in our nation's labor history--isn't that right?--and your feminist treatment of the aftermath turns out to be a searing indictment of today's thin veneer of social panache, is what I thought."

"Rico, as you know, it's silly to try to con today's audiences," whispered the ox-eyed Dee Mellon. "Despite the artificial colors and showy puppet wizardry of your talk show, for example, there are real issues that we can't help dealing with, even if it's only subtextually."

"OK, so, Dee, um, I'd like to steer--I'll let you introduce the clip in a minute, but is there anything you'd like to add before it gets too late?"

"Rico, you're looking very well, a bit...less, uh, thin; Rog, you too, and it's always a pleasure to be on the show!"

FADE TO CLIP

OUTSIDE, CLOSE-UP OF AGITATOR ADDRESSING MOB

ARTIE

We are fed up with your superficial flavor-of-the-month distractions instead of real wages and social equality!

FADE OUT

-- Non-dairy creamer
Corn syrup solids, partially hydrogenated soybean and/or canola oils, sodium caseinate* (a milk derivative), dipotassium phosphate, mono- and diglycerides, silicon dioxide, artificial colors, sodium stearoyl lactylate, lecithin, artificial flavors

*adds a trivial amount of sodium

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