A group of children learn a dark secret the hard way in this chilling short by Author Randall P. Roussell
Blond-haired Johnny enjoyed being in the fourth grade. There was so much to learn. Last month, his class had visited Avery Island, Louisiana, to see how Tabasco Sauce was made. Today, Johnny, his teacher Miss Scully, and his classmates were visiting the new Primo Pasta plant in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans. They were going to watch the manufacturing process of angel hair pasta.
A tall, bald, muscular man with a dark goatee entered the cramped conference room to address the class of twenty-four students and their teacher.
“Good morning children and Miss Scully,” he said. “I’m Mr. Thorpe, your tour guide.”
“Mr. Thorpe, it’s good to finally meet you.” Miss Scully offered her hand.
After the handshake, Thorpe turned his attention back to the class. “I see everyone has a Pasta Information Packet. Does anyone have any questions so far?”
“I do! I do!” Johnny raised and waved his hand.
“Yes, young man. What is your question?”
“Can we make some angel hair pasta?”
“I’m glad you asked that question. Your class is our special guest today. I will be giving you a tour of our Angel Hair Production Block and all of you will be making angel hair pasta by the end of the day. What do you think of that?”
“Yay!” The class cheered in unison.
* * *
Later, as the children walked slowly through the manufacturing plant’s Angel Hair Production Block, sounds of amazement from the children filled the room as they looked at the various machines and pasta samples. The factory was clean and cold.
“Do you children want to see more?” asked Mr. Thorpe.
“Yes,” said several of the children, nodding.
“All right, here goes.” Thorpe flipped a wall switch.
A dividing wall folded like an accordion, showing the other half of the huge room.
Miss Scully screamed. Her students added their own screams. In absolute terror, the class stared transfixed at the other side of the room. Hundreds of naked, comatose children were hanging from hi-tech hooks over special fluid collection devices.
The hanging children ranged from three to eleven years of age. Their tube and wire-riddled bodies oozed reddish-yellow secretions that dripped into collection funnels.
“Those secretions are the secret ingredient for our angel pasta recipe,” Mr. Thorpe announced.
Again, screams rang out from the class.
“Calm down, children!” Thorpe shouted. “You wanted to know where angel hair pasta comes from, so this is it.”
As the frightened children were crying out, some of them tried to run away, but the door was locked. Miss Scully fainted.
Suddenly, men wearing white uniforms and masks appeared from hiding places throughout the room.
Mr. Thorpe shouted to the men in white, “We’ve got new Angels that want to make pasta. Round ’em up!”
Randy Roussell has a diverse background. He was an engineer for almost 30 years, worked at NASA on the aerospace program and has since taught science in middle and high schools, has recently been accepted for a short-term teaching stint at Tulane University in a program for high school students there.
He is the founder and leader of the Realms of Fiction group in New Orleans LA, where writers submit their work to the group for critique.
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