Trout dug deep in his pockets, hoping he had enough change for a bag of chips or a chocolate bar. He didn’t, so he kicked the vending machine in frustration. The lights inside the machine grew brighter, and those little corkscrew things started to turn on their own but nothing fell to the maw at the bottom.
“Who dares disturb my slumber,” a voice, unaccustomed to speaking groaned. The lights inside the machine faded. Then they went to full power so quickly, Trout had to cover his eyes, but even then, he still had those little black spots floating around in his vision. The lights evened out, and Trout had to shake away the idea they looked like a set of eyes.
The heavy, plastic hinged door slammed open and closed.
“Speak up. I can see you standing there.”
Trout looked around the lunchroom. It was empty and too small for anyone else to be hiding and playing a trick on him. The other guys at work did that sometimes. Unplugged his keyboard and covered his desk in post-it notes and once they taped an air horn under his chair and set it too high, so it would go off when he lowered his seat. Trout almost got fired for that one.
“You may not believe it, human, but I have better things to do than sit here and watch you reminisce all afternoon.”
“Who are you,” Trout finally managed to say.
The vending machine let out a sigh that rattled the bags of chips.
“Who, why, what. Is that all your kind can ask? No, no, I apologize for becoming cross. I blink and a millennia goes by while you struggle to survive for a handful of years. And your elders stopped handing down the stories centuries ago. It’s not your fault, Trout. Please forgive.”
Trout said he would.
“Now, about your wishes.”