Vanish

Dear the Vanish,

I’m writing to complain about one of your products, specifically the Vanish Powershot Carpet Stain Remover. Please allow me to explain my grievance.

I like spicy food, I mean incredibly spicy.

If my food isn’t piquant enough to launch the SpaceX Dragon shuttle into lower earth orbit, then it’s not hot enough.

I remember how it all started, a sadistic friend slipping Tabasco sauce into my Sugar Puffs, hoping to see me run around like a chicken killed by height reduction. Unfortunately for him all that happened to me was an edible epiphany, a fiesta in my fillings, an orgasm in my orifice.

I did indeed run around, tears streaming down my face; not in seasoning instigated pain but pure joy.

I’ve never looked back from that day and my pain tolerance has sky rocketed, like the aforementioned space shuttle. Within months I raced through the spice shelves (racks?) at the local supermarket, desperately looking for something to give me the capsicum kick I was looking for.

I had to go international, importing peppery products from the USA, Thailand and the Philippines. That lasted a short while but still, nothing could compare to that first fiery Tabasco taste. With asbestos hands I climbed the fiery Scoville ladder, blistering past the sauces and warming myself up into the higher level food additives. But still, nothing could quench my needs.

I became despondent and for the first time in three years I lost the award for ‘Best Toll Booth Attendant in the 08:00 – 16:00 Slot’. My manager noticed and he became concerned about my state of mind.

Now, before I continue I’d like to say I don’t think Mr. Odersky is a badman, I would say he’s on the right side of good. But, he does know people.

One day I was sitting in my booth, sullenly accepting money from a moustachioed man in an Audi. I was bereft of my usual whimsy and charm that I normally greet drivers with for the three seconds we interact. As the man grunted and pulled away I looked up to see my manager approaching me.

He was in his Tuesday suit, a gorgeous cream linen number imported from Panama. He was carrying two large mugs of coffee as he headed to my booth. I watched as he dashed, jumped and commando rolled past approaching cars, his poise light and graceful after dealing with traffic in this manner for years.

He found a break in the metallic river of death and slid over the hood of a Peugeot 106, landing smartly by my booth. Walking over to the door, he smiled widely and proffered one of the mugs to me. I accepted the now empty container, pretending to drink some as to not hurt his feelings. It was cramped in my booth but he squeezed himself into a corner, squatting uncomfortably.

“Neville.” He said, brushing errant black coffee from his lapels. “I think we need to talk.”
“Ok.” I said absently while pushing a button to let the somewhat angry Peugeot driver through.
“You haven’t been yourself recently, and I’m concerned for you.” He made to reach out and touch me, but decided against it.
“I’m fine.”
“You’re not dear, you haven’t been fine for a long time.”
“I promise mister manager, I a- sorry mate, it’s two fifty for a van.”
“What do you mean a van? Oh, yeah, sorry mate, this isn’t mine.”
“No problem. Two ten, two thirty, two fifty. OK, cheers mate. Sorry mister Odersky, what were you saying?”
“Look, Neville, your performance has been slipping. I know you’ve had some problems recently and I want to help.”
“What do you mean problems?”
“You know what I mean; your sudden disappearance for two months, your terrifying new tattoo’s, not to mention this strange obsession with turtle necks. Nev, I think you need help.”

I paused in the middle of reaching for a driver’s payment; I turned to look at Mr. Odersky, the coins clattering to the asphalt. Raising an eyebrow at my manager and ignoring the cursing coming from outside the booth I said, “What do you mean help, Osmund?”

He sighed and went to remove his glasses, before realising he didn’t own a pair. Instead he pinched his nose, eyes scrunched tight.

“With this spice thing of yours.” He squeaked nasally.
“That’s not how you pinch your nose in that pose.”
“Neville, are you listening?”
“I am, boss, but there’s nothing you can do. I’ve tried everything available on the market.” A tear rolled down my face and into my neck crease.  “There’s nothing you can do.”
“Maybe you’re right.” Said my supervisor as he stood, wincing at the pains from his stress position. He paused at the door and quickly performed a conspiratorial glance, which was somewhat redundant in the middle of a ten lane road.

Osmund pulled a soggy brown slip of paper out of his suit and chucked it nonchalantly towards me.

“Although.” He said airily. “Maybe somebody else could help you.” And with that he left the booth.

I peeled the moist message off my face, carefully unfolded it and gasped in shock at what was smudged across the paper. I looked up to watch my saviour run, skip, jump and dive back to his office, a smile tickling the corner of my mouth.

Now, I’m not going to tell you what was written on that piece of paper. It’s not important to this complaint, and more importantly I’m terrified of what may happen to me if anyone found out where exactly I got the uranium.

I must admit I was a tad nervous the first time I sprinkled it on my stir-fry. Gingerly, I sampled my Udon noodles, chewing and swallowing quickly. For a second nothing happened. And then….

Something purely indescribable happened to me, so I won’t even bother trying to.

Gradually, I regained my old happy-go-lucky personality. I was back on form at work, my jovial patois with customers improved to the point I caused several traffic jams as drivers would queue to be served by yours truly. Everything was going well again, I was content. My sudden hair loss was of some concern, but paled (like my new skin tone) into significance to how I felt. As a thank you for putting my life back on track I bought Mr. Odersky a pair of shin guards and some stain remover (rather poetically) for which he was extremely grateful.

Now we come to the nub of the problem, the reason I’ve written to you today.

It was a Thursday afternoon and I was at home enjoying a bowl of Cream of Tomato soup. I spooned a gratuitous amount into my mouth and shuddered at the hellfire sensation. All of a sudden a bout of dizziness hit me, which happens on occasion nowadays, and I dropped my bowl of sweet spicy soup right across my beige carpet. Cursing I grabbed a handful of kitchen towels and mopped up the sticky mess as a bright red stain started seeping into my fashionable threads. I grabbed my canister of Vanish Powershot Carpet Stain Remover and sprayed a generous amount across the ruined carpet, whimpering with the hope that it would fix it.

I was checking my watch to mark how long I should leave the chemicals on the floor when I heard something. The gentle fizzing sound of your product was growing in volume, slowly escalating into a frothy rumble. Very slowly I backed away from the spillage as the noise turned from a frothy rumble to a bubbly roar. I covered my ears and watched in horror as a geyser of thick green smoke started to fill the room. I lurched out the door as the floor shook beneath me.

After twenty minutes the noise began to die down; the only sounds I could hear now was a slight fizzling noise, my panicked breathing and the fire alarm in the hallway going mental. Cautiously I peeked out from under my Mysa Vete quilt, coughing in the chilli infused mist surrounding me. Lurching over to the bedroom window I flung it wide open, hacking and wheezing heavily. I sucked in cool refreshing air, steeling myself for what I would see when I opened the bedroom door.

A turquoise miasma blanketed the corridor and a flashing red light visibly pulsated from the ceiling the alarm blaring louder than the hounds of hell. I ignored it and crept towards the living room door. Cracking open the living room door I peered cautiously inside. Some strange things have happened to me recently and I wasn’t going to take any chances.

The smoke was thicker in here and I flapped my hand in front of me trying to disperse some of it. I made my way to the soup stain. Only now there was no stain, instead a strange green glow emanated from the floor. I leaned over and looked. Miss Dingle looked back up at me.

Delightful Dingle looking decidedly disturbed.

Delightful Dingle looking decidedly disturbed.

As you can imagine this has become a somewhat awkward situation with my downstairs neighbour, not least because she has this bizarre notion that I have a crush on her.  Fortunately though it’s not a physical hole, but an invisible surface. As such sound doesn’t travel through it and you can walk across it, which has led to several terrifying cases of vertigo when I’ve forgotten about the blasted thing.

I decided to experiment with this Vanish Powershot Carpet Stain Remover and uranium combination again, just to check it wasn’t a once off. Sadly it was shortly after trying the experiment out on my bedroom carpet Miss Dingle moved to another apartment. I miss her.

Coming down to brass tacks, when I checked the canister I didn’t see anywhere on the labelling a warning for mixing this carpet cleaner with uranium. If I had known the combination of these products would have such a disturbing effect I never would of used the spray.

Please make the appropriate adjustments to your canisters.

Much Love,
Neville Haley

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