Day 059: Cup of Noodles

Outside of the factory, it was quiet. This must be what Racho Cucamonga sounds like. Muffled and serene. Or maybe it was just the box it was in. Regardless, things got scary real quick. The box was handled, throttled and thrown in more directions than it’ll ever know. It got used to the loud rumble of the engines. This must be what life is like on the outside. Just pain and vibrations.

Days must have passed when the sound finally stopped. By the time that the box was opened, it had travelled all the way across the continent, to New York City. The Windy Apple. The Little Hard. The City That’s Always Awake. Coming out of the box, it was not impressed. Instead of seeing skyscrapers or monuments, it could see a half-empty beverage case. And that’s all it would see for a very long time. This must be purgatory.

Months passed. Anybody that even glanced at it would select the red and black cup next to it. It was always making friends with new red and black cups. It made itself known as the wise elder of the shelf. It told all the newcomers what time to expect the lights to go out and when the most people will come to potentially take them away to the promised land. To be fair, the cups on the bottom two shelves have been there longer, but they’re covered in shrink wrap, so they don’t talk much.

Finally, yesterday, it happened. A large bearded man went to grab a red and black cup but then paused. He locked eyes with it. He enjoyed that cup many times before, but latent heart problems had strayed him away from cups altogether. He put red and black down and reunited with his old friend. For the first time in months, it finally paid off to be Tempura Udon!

The man took it across the street, using his Frogger skills to avoid traffic. He gave its blue bottles friend to somebody and immediately ripped the cup open. Before it knew it, scalding hot water filled up to the line. This must be the place. Within minutes, it could feel itself expanding. Evolving. Becoming the final form. This is the way. No slow radiation in a microwave or being dumped into a metal pot. Just instant expansion, quick and painless. The time has come to leave this earth. It had done its duty, after being bought for $1.59.

The man ate it with loving care. He carefully used chopsticks as to not embarrass himself. He savored every bite. Even the mystery tempura pieces the size of an M&M that taste of shrimp but are suspiciously not on the ingredients list. It’s actually a mixture of pollock, anchovy and tuna. He decided that it’s best to not read the ingredients while eating. He drank the broth and the warm sensation rushed down his throat. It didn’t feel like home but rather felt like somebody else’s home. It might not have been his home, but it was still warm and welcoming.

When all the noodles were gone, the cup had nothing but a mushy pulp of seaweed, carrot and onion. The man scooped out some of it and after some seaweed got stuck on his teeth, he discarded the rest of it in the trash. And that’s where the cup sits today. Lifeless, yet content and satisfied that somebody chose it. It had a meaningful existence that fulfilled its purpose and the man had a cheap lunch that inspired him to write the next day.

After throwing out the cup, the man turned to a package of fizzy cola flavored gum. But that’s a story for another time.

– TeeCoZee