Could that be… is that… a chocolate bar you have there?
Surely you don’t want to eat that. You don’t want to risk sinking into the irretrievable depths. You don’t want to become an addict… like me.
Once you surrender yourself to the satiny mouth-feel and almost-caramelized taste of milk chocolate, or the smoky seductive sweetness of dark chocolate with its pleasing, slightly bitter aftertaste, you will become as lost as I. You will consume vast quantities of common Forastero cocoa nearly intravenously in chocolate milk. You will figuratively inhale hot cocoa and ubiquitous bars such as the one you’re holding. You will barter your children away in pawnshops for just the chance to purchase rare Criolla, rendered into chocolate truffles and ganaches. You will never eat eggs again except folded into chocolate soufflés. You will never eat fruit again unless dipped in well-tempered, glistening, melted French Valrhona. Meat? Never ever ever again, unless bathed in, laved in, smothered in, a pungent chocolate móle sauce.
Life will take on a despairing flatness whenever you find yourself not in the grip of the golden high that chocolate bestows. Not for nothing is it referred to by its psychoactive ingredient, Theobroma, which is Greek for “the food of the gods.” Ha! The gods should be so lucky!
The eating of it, the inhaling of it, the near-osmosis of the way it enraptures one’s psyche—that’s not the end of it. Oh, no. Justifications for one’s helpless plunge into chocolate’s seductive web will occupy your every thought.
You will learn of—and use to justify your cravings—any and all of the following, in your heart of hearts telling yourself that it all must be true, so true, thankfully true, because these people are scientists and journalists who hold only the truth as their grail:
According to the Institute of Nutrition and Food Technology at the University of Granada in Spain, chocolate is rich in magnesium, which—because it helps the body absorb calcium—means that chocolate helps stave off osteoporosis. Chocolate will keep you from crumpling into a crumbly gnome in your dotage.
According to New Scientist, chocolate may be superior to codeine in alleviating coughs. Chocolate will prevent your throaty hackings from irritating other movie-goers when you go to the cinema and annoying other parishioners during your weekly foray to worship (where you earnestly pray for endless chocolate). It will also allow you to avoid the security sound sensors when in the middle of a moonless night you break into the Scharffenberger shipping warehouse in your black ninja suit in order to steal more chocolate.
According to a symposium on the neurobiology of chocolate at a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, chocolate makes you smarter because it is rich in flavanols. Flavanols increase blood flow to the brain, especially during tasks that require alertness. According to the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, the bioactive compounds in chocolate can fend off heart attacks. Therefore, next tax season, chocolate will enable you to outthink the IRS and at the same time prevent you from having a cardiac event.
According to a study conducted by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Medical School, eating chocolate releases endorphins. Endorphins help make one impervious to pain. So when you pass that burning building someday, because of chocolate, you will be able to rush into the flames and save the toddler trapped inside! Then you will ask only for more chocolate as your reward.
These justifications aren’t the end of it. Not at all. Once you’re as beyond intervention as I am, you will live for the mysteries that you just know will someday be revealed on the covers of tabloids like The Enquirer and The Star:
Late Night Hot-Cocoa Binges Transform the Brains Of Entitled Hotel Heiresses, Drug-Befuddled Pop Divas & Anorexic Adolescent Actresses Into Einsteinian IQs—A Quorum of Ex-Airheads Solves Fermi’s Paradox!
Scientists Discover Cocoa Butter, Properly Combusted, To be the Most Energy-Efficient Propellant in the Universe—NASA Says Chocolate Will Fuel Our Quest to Conquer the Stars!!
Chocolate Confers Immortality!!!
Chocolate Brings About World Peace!!!!!
CHOCOLATE TRIGGERS THE ASCENDANCE OF MANKIND!!!!!
I see you’re unsleeving that bar now. Peeling back the silvery paper from the sultry, burnt-umber-colored and silky temptation. I can smell its perfume from here.
Have you not been listening? Did you hear nothing I said? For the love of God, save yourself! No! No! DON’T EAT IT!
Give it to me.
Michaela Roessner has published assorted short fiction, four novels, and is writing a fifth for Tachyon Publications. She teaches for Western State Colorado University’s low-residency MFA in Creative Writing program and online classes in writing speculative fiction for Gotham Writers’ Workshop.