It was a Fri Day in the neighbourhood when Mortimer Snert discovered himself dozing off at his desk. It had been an excruciatingly long week, spent capturing endless hours of inane video and causing it to be ingested into the internal workings of the automation device. To say that Mort might have been a tad bored might have been the understatement of the century so far. He was desperately in need of some type of motivation, and that motivation took the form of a Hershey's chocolate bar and a 20 oz. bottle of Diet Coke.
Now Mort happened to have been recently diagnosed as being a diabetic, and was consciously watching his intake of prohibited food, but these two things did not seem to be anything to worry about as he was not eating an excessive number of candy bars, and Diet Coke had no artificial or natural ingredients. So it was with great anticipation that he headed down the stairs and across the lobby to where the vending machines were secluded in a dark and musty corner.
Now the vending machines at the convention centre were not exactly the most reliable devices on the earth, and in fact there was an ongoing battle between the machines and anyone who was brave or stupid enough to feed them quarters. In fact, the machines actually owed Mort somewhere around $10 US. Now Mort had long ago figured out that if he fed nickels into the machines first, he could determine whether or not they were going to work. So standing in front of the candy bar machine, Mort plugged in a nickel. It registered on the little meter that said how much you had fed it. So far, so good. So he stuck in another nickel and a dime. Now the machine wanted quarters, and he was only too happy to feed it some, since once it took nickels and dimes, the chances of it working were nearly 100%.
So he jammed in a quarter, one of the new ones, the kind with the tree on the back. Instantly the machine spit his quarter back out. This was relatively OK, because sometimes it did not like the new quarters. Or the old ones. So Mort reached into the coin return, dug out his quarter, and tried it again. To his surprise, he found that the first quarter had registered, along with the subsequent one, and he still had the quarters. Somehow the machine was registering his quarters, but giving them back.
Now this was not lost on Mort, nor was he beyond taking advantage of the situation, figuring the machine owed him big-time for stealing all of his previous quarters. So using the same quarter, Mort bought himself several different candy bars, with the intention of stockpiling them in his desk for later. Now Mort was a nice guy, and really had no intentions of cleaning out the machine, in fact, there was only one type of candy bar that he would even eat there, so he bought all they had, which By The Way wasn't very many, loaded them up and hit the Coke machine, which was not so co-operative and required the full amount to purchase a cola, and turned to go back upstairs and vegetate.
Such, however, was not to be the case. As he turned around, he was accosted by none other than Barney Fife, some local renta cop who just happened to have observed the entire transaction, and was all to eager to wield his porcine powers over petty criminals.
"Hey buddy" squealed out the cop, "you gonna pay for any of them there candy bars?"
Mort, not one to be easily intimidated by such fine upstanding fellows, replied with not a hint of disrespect in his voice, " Yeah, if it's any of your business, I’ve paid for every damned one of them, and then some."
By now, Barney was not sure what to think. Sure that he would be able to reduce Mort to a quivering heap of guilt ridden ex hippyness, he continued his speech. "I stood there and watched you put that same quarter in that machine and clean it out. Now what are you gonna do with all them candy bars?"
Still not sufficiently intimidated, Mort replied, "I'm going to take them upstairs and put them in my desk and save them for later." And he headed for the staircase. The cop freaked, and jumped in front of Mort. It was at this time that Mort noticed that Barney was packing a revolver the size of Rhode Island, and had one hand nervously on the butt of it. Not wanting to get blasted over some stupid candy bars, Mort stood his ground.
"Now what are you gonna do with them candy bars" demanded Barney yet another time.
"Well, I sure as fuck can't put them back, and I tried to pay for them, but the machine wouldn't take the money, so just what the hell do you suggest?" sneered Mort.
"Well, hand them over then, and I'll take care of them,” said Barney.
"Like hell I will, that machine owes me a lot more candy bars than these few, it's always ripping me off" replied Mort, who was on the verge of almost getting ready to start losing his patience.
"Well, you need to call the number on the front of the machine when that happens" was Barney's reply. Mort rolled his eyes seriously enough that he almost lost both contact lenses, and told Barney that he had called the company until he was blue in the face, and had never gotten a refund from them. This was to absolutely no avail, Barney had himself a boney-fied candy bar thief, and he wasn't going to give up so easily. So Mort, having realized that he was fighting a losing battle, forked over the candy bars. Barney was now eyeing the Diet Coke, and Mort told him in no uncertain terms that he was not getting the coke, he had paid for that, and to just fuck off and leave him alone. So Mort proceeded upstairs, and Barney took off towards the front of the building.
Arriving back upstairs, Mort retreated to his office, where he contemplated getting pissed off over the candy bars, but decided against it, as the whole thing was actually funny as hell. So he thought that would be the end of that, but quickly discovered that this was not to be the case.
The phone rang, and it happened to be the director of Maine Street, whose office was downstairs, and who had just been accosted by Barney the renta cop. She asked Mort what the deal was with the machinery, and the cops. Mort relayed the story just as it had occurred, and Ms. Maine street agreed with him that the machinery was crap, and that he was well justified in retrieving the candy in the fashion that he had done. She too had been ripped off on countless occasions, as had everyone else in the convention centre, and none of them had any sympathy for the machine, or the vending company which serviced it.
Now the only problem left was the fact that Barney, in his attempt to be the world's finest wanna be cop, had called the real cops, and intended to have them haul Mort in for stealing candy bars. This served to totally piss Mort off, and he decided that if Barney wanted to go around, he was certainly not one to pass up the opportunity. At this point he decided that he had better inform his boss of the whole incident, so when the cops came around, it would not be a surprise.
So he relayed the story, yet another time, and in the midst of this, who should walk in but Scott, the new guy, who at a glance, looked an awfully lot like Mort. Now Scott had balls of solid brass, and was not beyond screwing with Barney. So he and Mort went out in the hallway which overlooked the lobby, and noticed that Barney was talking excitedly with a real cop. Mort dug in his pocket and handed Scott a quarter, and told him to go get him a candy bar. Scott headed down the stairs, and made a point of walking right past the renta cop and the real cop. All of a sudden, Mort heard Barney yell out: That's him, that's him, the guy that stole the candy bars!!' At which point Scott turned and got right up in Barney's face and asked him what the hell he was accusing him of. Barney's look was priceless, and Mort had to bolt back into the office to keep from bursting out laughing. Scott somehow maintained a straight face through the whole ordeal, and returned shortly with a bottle of Coke, having decided that it may have been pushing his luck with the candy bars.
So they hung out upstairs for a while until the real cop left. By now, everybody at the convention center had heard the story, and were giving Barney an unmerciful ration of shit. Scott made several unpleasant remarks to Barney about being the candy cop, and asked him why he was packing a gun, since he was not a real cop. At that point, the head of building maintenance walked by with Mort's stash of candy bars, which elicited yet another remark concerning cops and candy bars, and warning the maintenance guy of the consequences of having too many candy bars in front of the cops. About this time, the renta decided he'd had enough abuse, and having been totally fluffed off and humiliated by the real cops, decided to bail out.
So Mort descended the stairs and followed the maintenance guy back to his office. The guy told him that they had called the vending company to come fix the machine, and had in the mean time unplugged it so that no one else would take advantage of it. He also assured Mort that he had no problem whatsoever with his treatment of the machine, and in fact encouraged him to make use of that if the opportunity ever arose again. In addition, he promised Mort that if the vending company had not been out by first thing Monday morning, he would return the candy to Mort and be done with it. So now Mort was officially a hardened criminal, never to be trusted around vending machines again. Mort was just thankful that the machine had not eaten his quarter, because he did not want to think what kind of reaction he would have gotten from Barney for the type of abuse that he would have inflicted on the machine had it done so.