The Fearsome Factory [PG-13] Jan 20, 2010 10:58:18 GMT -5
Post by Tiago James Squalor on Jan 20, 2010 10:58:18 GMT -5
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Out of the many fearsome places one could visit, the place the Baudelaire orphans visit in THE FEARSOME FACTORY is one of the worst. YET ANOTHER SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS begins in the unfortunate orphans' lives, as they are hired to work nearby the town of Paltryville, in a coffin factory that changed business.
In the factory they encounter such things as a goggle-wearing union leader, two eccentric siblings and their eccentric niece, piles and piles of dirty dishes, a tonnel of molten metal, and a shady foreman.
If factories strike as much fear into your heart as they do mine, please, refrain from reading this dreadful book, as you can never forget the story contained inside.
With all due respect,
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Many stories start with a letter. People send letters telling others news, be they bad or good, and often people react to those news in a way that triggers certain events, starting a new story. I once received a letter telling me my cousin had died in a fire, and my reaction was of disbelief and a hysterical fit of sadness which I still am ashamed of. But this story starts with another letter, a letter containing disturbing information about a certain worker of a certain factory. The letter in question was sent in a black envelope and it had an eye shape printed on it’s red wax seal. Some would call it old fashioned. Some would have called it grim-looking. Some people would not even open the letter, and there are some who would have burned the letter had they succeeded. This letter was sent in the middle of the night, while everyone else laid asleep in their beds, or doing something else. The person who sent it is not important now. That same person has been investigating for years, and he just had learned that someone was following him.This letter, dear reader, was addressed to the Baudelaires.
‘Violet, where are you?’ asked Klaus Baudelaire, the middle sibling of the Baudelaire family. Klaus was an admirable researcher, and at this particular time of the story, he was looking for Violet, his elder sister.
‘I’m in the kitchen with Sunny and Beatrice, Klaus.’ Violet responded. She had been trying to invent a new kind of microwave oven, but had taken a break to watch over Sunny while she cooked. Sunny was the youngest Baudelaire. I’m saying she was the youngest because the Baudelaires used to be a trio of siblings who survived a series of unfortunate events I can only be thankful I didn’t have to go through. Now, the Baudelaires were four. Beatrice Baudelaire, the youngest of the 4, and adoptive daughter of the three siblings, was a baby and still couldn’t talk in a way that others would understand easily, as Sunny once did.
‘I’m making spaghetti, Beatrice. I know how much you like it’, said Sunny. ‘Macaroni’, Beatrice replied.I think she probably meant ‘I really like spaghetti, Sunny, thanks for making it!’.
Sunny was a little girl, but since they left the island where a noble volunteer named Kit Snicket, Beatrice’s mother, had perished. There, another person had perished, and it was Count Olaf. Olaf had caused such misfortune to the three Baudelaires, Beatrice included, that sometimes the Baudelaires expected him to appear at any time, to ruin their lives again. Olaf caused the deaths of many, in many occasions, far many more occasions than the Baudelaires knew about, and it was still hard to know that he was dead and buried. Sometimes, people who spread evil – and fire – are triumphant, and Olaf had triumphed in causing a series of unfortunate events in the lives of the Baudelaires, but in the end, Olaf died. Maybe that’s why the contents of the letter I have told you about was so unsettling.
‘Violet, you need to read this. It came in the mail today’, said Klaus, handing Violet a black envelope. The sea was broken, but Violet could see the eye imprinted on it. A chill ran down her spine as she opened the letter, and another chill ran down when she read it. I must interrupt this story at this point, to warn you that this letter marks the start of yet another series of unfortunate events in the lives of the Baudelaire orphans – the four of them – and if I were you I would go and read something less desperating, like a refrigerator manual, rather than this grim, fearsome tale. Violet would have much prefered reading a manual to a refrigerator than the letter she had in her hands. Violet was an inventor, and if she could, she would have invented a way to make the contents of the letter disappear forever.
Someone has taken the identity and legacy of Olaf. That person has been hired at Funeral Factory Fulfilment Limited, near Paltryville. I do not know if Olaf is alive or not, but whoever that person is they are up to no good. I cannot however prove that this person is Olaf. I’ve come across registers of your misfortunes, and I took it upon myself to prevent any more. I too, have been hurt by the other side of the schism. My only prayer is that if you do decide on heading for the factory, that you can unmask this person, whoever it may be. You must know they are still active. I hope that one day, we will meet, but I cannot say who I am as of now, nor can I prove it. I wish you the best of luck, Baudelaires. I wish some other people were lucky too.The owners and workers at FFF Ltd. Are in grave danger.
‘This must be a joke’ said a stunned Violet. ‘What…Olaf, alive? Impossible! We saw him die! We buried him!’
‘I know, I’m still shocked! This cannot be Olaf by any means. And the letter is not even signed!’said Klaus, as stunned as Violet.
‘That is a sick prank! Who would do such a thing?’ said Sunny. ‘I don’t know if this is true. I don’t know if we can trust this person. They signed V.F.D. but there are two sides to the organization, how can we know that they’re in the noble side? How can we know this is not a trap? We have had far too many unfortunate events in our lives to go heading into another. This might be the start of…I don’t even want to say it.’ Violet sat down, too disturbed to go on. Her thoughts, about the promise she had made to her parents, that she would always take care of her siblings, and later, the promise to the dying Kit Snicket, that she would take good care of her child, Beatrice, sitting in her baby chair on the other side of the table. ‘Funeral Factory Fulfillment Limited?I never heard of it. It must be a new business’, said Klaus. ’It says that they are hiring, Violet. If anything, we should check – just to be sure.’
‘Be sure? But Olaf is dead. There’s no question about it.’ Violet reasoned. ‘I’m not saying there is. But we could use the new jobs. We have to take care of ourselves. I’m not saying I am happy to have received this letter. But I have a feeling, Violet. I think we should go. It says that it’s near Paltryville, we can go there by train.’ Klaus said.
‘Paltryville…I don’t like the idea of going anywhere near it again.’ Said Sunny, who had been quiet for a while.’Are you sure about going there, Klaus? We might end up just as miserable as we were when we worked at Lucky Smells Lumbermill.’ She added. ‘Lucky?’ Beatrice asked, which probably meant ‘But the name isn’t so bad’.
‘I say we go. You have to remember, if we find this…this false Olaf we might prevent an accident…or worse.’ Violet said. ‘Or cause one.’ Klaus added. The Baudelaires had been unfortunate enough to have themselves perpetrated acts that could only be qualified as evil. They were not sure if they were noble or evil anymore. Of course, they wouldn’t have, if they had been more fortunate. But as the Baudelaires feared, the letter in Violet’s hands was only the beginning.
‘We still have a lot to find out. We still haven’t heard the least from the Quagmires or Widdershins and Fiona…And it’s been a while. I’m fear if we pass this opportunity to investigate we’ll never find out whatever happened to our friends’ Klaus said. It had been quite a while since a girl named Fiona broke his heart and betrayed the Baudelaires, joining the crew of an octopus-shaped submarine with a dreadful name. And it had been even longer since were last with the Quagmires. The last they had seen from Isadora and Duncan, they were aboard a self-sustaining hot-air mobile home with a man named Hector. And the last time they were with Quigley, the third Quagmire, they were going down the Stricken Stream, and he was separated from them by those wretched waters. Captain Widdershins had disappeared mysteriously alongside Phil, while they were inside a terrible underwater grotto which’s name I can’t stand to pronnounce, or write, and they never saw them again.
‘I wonder what we will find at this factory.’ said Sunny. ‘Industry’ said Beatrice, which probably meant ‘I’m a bit worried but this does sound like the best plan’. Violet smiled and looked at the young Beatrice, wondering what would be like if Kit, her mother, and Dewey, her father, had lived. ‘I wonder what people we will meet there.’ Klaus said. What Klaus did not say, and this I can say with certainty, is that he knew they would find their way at the factory. After so many misfortunes, the Baudelaires knew they always had each other in the end. What I am sorry to say is that the letter which started yet another series of unfortunate events in the lives of the Baudelaires was not the last. Many others would be delivered to them, from that point on. They did not know, but I did.
Many bad things can happen when you travel by train. You can find out the tunnel the train’s just entered has crumbled and that you only have seconds to live. You can see someone from your school that was your arch-nemesis, or you can be tied up and thrown outside the window by a wretched crew of villains. But one of the many bad things that can happen when travelling by train is arriving at your destination, particularly if the destination is Paltryville’s train station. When the train approached the station, the Baudelaires saw how different Paltryville had become. The last time they had been there, the town was surrounded by a forest, the Finite Forest, and now it wasn’t.
‘Where are all the trees ?’ Violet asked. And she was right to ask. The last time the Baudelaires had been to Paltryville, Finite Forest was full of skinny trees and a dark moss, with a gloomy, dark atmosphere.But now only tree stumps remained, and only a few trees had survived. The moss was withered, the air seemed stale and the forest seemed dead.
‘Do you think…a fire burned the Forest?’ Klaus asked. He wondered if the firestarting side of VFD could have had any part in a forest fire.
‘Not likely. Had the forest been set ablaze, the town would have been consumed in the fire. Paltryville would be like a box of matches in a fireplace.’ Violet said. ‘Look, Klaus.’ Violet pointed to a familiar building sitting across the only street of the pathetic town. It was shaped like an eye, and the Baudelaires had grim memories of that place.
‘Dr.Orwell’s office. I can almost feel her sword against my teeth.’ Sunny said. In their last stay in this dreadful town, Sunny had to fight the hypnotist named Georgina Orwell, which was in league with Olaf, at the time, ridiculously disguised as a receptionist. A female receptionist.
‘The human resources woman said we would be picked up at the station by a taxi.’ Violet giggled, suddenly.
‘Why the laughter?’ Klaus asked.
‘Nothing. It just strikes me as odd that such a small town would need taxi services.' Violet responded.
‘Paltry’ Beatrice said with her baby voice, which probably meant ‘This town is really tiny.’
‘Hey there!’ they heard a voice, a female voice calling, and they saw a girl on the other side of the station, her arms raised, waving.’You three! Come here!Yes, you!’ the girl shouted. Violet, Klaus, Sunny and Beatrice walked up to the girl, who was standing besides a yellow taxi. The girl was a bit taller than Violet, and she had blond hair, topped by a beret, which is a kind of hat, and wore a vest and a skirt matching the beret. Her outfit looked like something a sailor would wear, and she had a big smile on her face.
‘Hi there!I’m Cindry Fulfillment. I usually don’t do this, but I was so bored I offered to come pick you guys up at the station. See, I’m visiting my uncle and aunt, who own the factory, and everyone was busy, so I decided meet you first.’ The girl said, then she took a look at the Baudelaires, and frowned when she noticed Beatrice, in Violet’s arms.
‘Wait, you are four. I thought you were three from afar. See, I’m near-sighted, so I don’t see very well. Nice to meet you.’she shook hands with each Baudelaire.
‘Nice to meet, you Cindry’ the Baudelaires said, one after the other. Well, except Beatrice, who said ‘Aloha’ which probably meant ‘Hello Cindry!’
‘See, I don’t usually do this, but when I heard you were young I had to come. See, I get a lot bored in the factory because everyone’s so busy. My uncle is always with his new associates, and my aunt is always…Well I don’t know really what she is always doing. And Laverne and the others are too busy working and doing Union things. See, the workers have this thing called Union. But you must know that, right…Klaus, is it?’
Klaus was too distracted by the girl’s talk that when she talked directly to him, it took him a second or two to reply.
‘Oh, yes. An Union is an organization of workers to fight for their own rights’
Violet was distracted. While Cindry kept talking, Violet noticed the buldings of Lucky Smells Lumbermill, the mill where she, Klaus and Sunny were forced to work by their at-the-time guardian, a revolting man ‘named’ Sir.It looked like no one had been there in ages, and Violet felt grateful that she wasn’t there to live in that horrible mill again.
‘Please, come inside the cab. We’ll take you to the factory’. Cindry said, entering the vehicle. Violet, Klaus, Sunny and Beatrice quickly entered and sat on the back seat.
‘Cindry, whatever happened to the Finite Forest?’ Klaus asked. Cindry looked back, and gave Klaus a weird look. She then answered.
‘See, when you cut down a forest, it usually ends. That’s what happened to the Finite Forest. They cut all the trees. See, there once was a lumbermill in this town.’
‘So Lucky Smells is closed?’ Sunny asked.
‘Yes. See, since the forest ended, they closed down. You can’t make wood boards out of zero trees.’ And then Cindry giggled.
‘C’est fini’ the youngest Baudelaire, Beatrice, added, looking at has been forest. ‘Has been’ is an expression often used in a derogatory manner to speak about someone who used to be famous and is not anymore. But in this case, it’s used in a reallistic manner to describe the devastation of an entire forest by a small business named Lucky Smells Lumbermill.
‘Yes…there’s no more forest’ Sunny agreed. She and Beatrice were specially close, since Sunny was a baby until not long ago, and she was the best at deciphering Beatrice’s unintelligible speak, as Violet and Klaus were a bit older now, and they sometimes did not comprehend her as well as they did Sunny.
‘Oh there he comes. The taxi driver. See, I don’t know how to drive, that’s why I called a cab.’ Cindry said as the driver approached the car. He held a cup of coffee in his hands, and when he entered the vehicle, he took a good look at the Baudelaires.
‘So you four are the new workers at FFF? I thought small children were not supposed to work dayjobs.’ He said.
‘See, I’m paying you to drive us to the factory, not to give your opinion.’ Said Cindry, reprehending the driver.
‘Sorry, Miss Fulfillment.’ The driver said, a bit uncomfortable with the situation.
‘That’s better. See, I hope you Baudelaires will like working for my uncle and his new associates. There are still a few remaining trees around the factory limits. See, my uncle is changing business. He’s very stressed, so don’t mind if he’s a bit rude. He’s very rich, you know.’ Said Cindry.
The Baudelaires were already feeling a mixture of bad and good feelings. They had a feeling Cindry was a good person, but they had a feeling there was something strange about her. They had a feeling the letter was just a prank and that Olaf did not raise from his grave to haunt them, but after arriving at the devastated remains of Finite Forest, they were sure something bad was going to happen.
‘What exactly does the factory produce, Cindry?’ Violet asked. She always took interest in machinery and it seemed that working at the factory would be a perfect opportunity for her inventing to evolve.
‘Does the factory have a library?’ Klaus was a researcher, and he loved to spend his time reading, filling his head with the knowledge he absorbed from books.
‘Do you have a big kitchen there?’ Sunny asked. She was just a little girl, but had chef abilities, and always wanted to try a new challenging recipe, one after the other.
‘Gabbana?’ Beatrice asked, which probably meant ‘What kind of clothes will we wear?’ Beatrice was just a baby, but she liked looking at many types of different fashion designs, always interested in different costumes and clothes people wear all over the world.
‘I don’t know about any of those things. I’m just visiting, and I never visit the factory building. See, there’s a theater inside of the administration building, and I practice my acting there. I want to be an actress.’ Cindry replied, without looking at the Baudelaires, sitting in the back seat, but they could tell her eyes were sparkling with excitement.
‘And when we are there, maybe you four can help me with a new play I want to rehearse. See, Laverne and the others are always busy with onion issues, and-‘ she kept on going, at which point Klaus interrupted.
‘You mean union issues, right?’ and Cindry said ‘Yes, union issues. So, Laverne is always busy and so are my uncle and my aunt, with their new associates and they never have time to watch my monologues at the theater. It’s frustrating.’
The Baudelaires were a bit frustrated indeed. Cindry seemed like a nice girl but they wanted to be polite, so they kept talking to her as the taxi approached a large construction surrounded by a few remaining trees where once stood the Finite Forest.
‘Oh, here we are. My uncle will pay you later, driver. Be sure to call him. Come, Baudelaires, I’ll take you to meet your new bosses.’ Said Cindry as she quickly got out of the vehicle.
A moment later Violet, Klaus, Sunny and Beatrice were staring at the gate of the factory, while Cindry called the doorman.
After the gate opened, the Baudelaires took a good look at the factory ground and they could not believe their eyes.
There were several buildings scattered and many pipes all over the place, trash cans, thorny bushes, chimneys, and even a car or two by the nearest building. But what really grabbed the attention of the Baudelaires were the enourmous piles of broken plates and china outside the building which appeared to be the administrative office. Piles and piles of broken plates stood near the windows, as if someone inside had decided they wanted an entire new set of dishes and threw the old one out the window.
‘You must have noticed the plates.’ Cindry said, ‘You see, when I use a plate it gets dirty, and the person who washed the dishes quit last week. So whenever a plate is used here, we throw it out. After a while all the trash cans were full so we had to improvise’, using a word which here means ‘throwing the dishes out the window instead of washing them like a normal person would do’.
‘Isn’t it a waste to do that? Plus, it’s not environmentally safe.’ Violet asked, a bit distraught.
‘My uncle’s new associates do not really care about the environment. Well, at least one of them doesn’t. They are staying in a room in the administrative building, and so am I, my uncle, and my aunt, and Laverne, because she is the leader of the union. Follow me, I’ll take you to meet them’ said Cindry while the Baudelaires followed her inside the building.
It was a very tall building, covered in moss in certain areas, and surrounded by the piles of plates, and a few trees. It was getting dark, and some windows were lit. Violet, Klaus and Sunny then noticed an interesting sight in one of the windows. It was the sillhouette of a man, a very short person who seemed to be smoking a cigar. They could not see his face, because not only did the sillhouette have a cloud of smoke covering their head, it was against a strong light source, and the Baudelaires had another bad feeling as they entered the administrative building of the factory. That feeling was the same as that of a person who has arrived at a train station only to find out they’ve arrived at the wrong station and they did not have anymore money to buy a ticket to the right one. They had a terrible feeling and I am even sorrier to say that their feelings were correct.
Everyone has come across a person or two in their lives they would much prefer to not ever see or speak with again, although sometime they have a way of reappearing when you least expect. It’s always disturbing to meet an old enemy or rival, and it’s never easy to hide from their sight, because you can be on a dinner party of a friend who has invited that person and you cannot leave, or otherwise, your friend will also become an enemy and join your enemy in their quest to set fire to your house. It’s always hard to meet someone so dreadful more than one time, and I’m afraid to say the Baudelaires were about to meet such a person again.
‘This is the administrative building, and it doubles as the owner’s quarters too. Of course, I get to sleep here because I’m the owners’ niece, and my uncle’s new associates get to sleep here because they’re very important, and Laverne gets to sleep here because she’s the leader of the union’ Cindry said, as she led the Baudelaires down a hall covered in black wallpaper, with green floors and a red carpet.
‘Cindry, who exactly are the new associates?’ asked Violet. She was thinking of the sillhouette in the window, which reminded her of their past experiences in Paltryville.
‘Do you know their names?’ asked Klaus. The hallway was dark, and he could smell the smoke of what could only be a cigar. It reminded him of when Klaus had been disguised as a concierge to be able to act as a flaneur at Hotel Denouement, and the person he met in the room 674, and the disturbing conversation he overheard in a sauna later.
‘Are they from Paltryville too?’ Sunny asked. Sunny was just a little girl now but she still could remember the green wooden floors of Hotel Denouement, and wondered if there was some kind of connection.
‘Incognito’ said the little Beatrice, which meant ‘I have no idea of who these people are’.
‘What’s with all the questions? You are all about to meet them.Look, that’s my uncle’s office’s door.’ And Cindry pointed to a green, wooden door at the end of the hallway.
‘Come, Baudelaires. You’ll love my uncle, he’s a very good boss, you know.’ Cindry bragged. She opened the door, and the Baudelaires entered an office which was covered in sofiscated wallpaper, and had sofisticated furniture displayed in a sofisticated fashion. Several armchairs circled a table of dark wood with a big vase sitting on top of it, and from the ceiling hung a chandelier that looked very expensive. The fireplace was burning, and there were several paitings and photographs on the walls, adorned by rich wooden frames. The Baudelaires noticed the room was packed with people. A rich looking man sitting behind a desk with a tall woman in a dark dress by his side, and behind them, looking through the closed glass window, was a very short men whose head was surrounded by a cloud of smoke. The Baudelaires all knew that man, except for Beatrice, who only knew him from what Violet had told her while reminiscing their previously unfortunate lifes. Besides the man was yet another man, and the Baudelaires recognized Charles, the man who had been so kind to them while they worked at Lucky Smells Lumbermill, in their previous stay in Paltryville. Nearby was a tall, strange-looking woman with red hair, who wore big goggles which did not let one see her eyes and made it difficult to see her face. She looked at the Baudelaires, and for a moment, it was as if they knew who she was, and she knew who they were, but their thoughts were distracted by the man by her side; a very old man who wore a cap with the factory’s initials, and whose white hair covered most of his face. He wore a beaten up jumpsuit and thick glasses. The Baudelaires then looked at the man behind the desk who began to speak.
‘Welcome, Baudelaires! I am Ferdinand Fulfilment, owner and founder of Funeral Factory Fulfilment Ltd. This is my sister Victoria, and I believe you’ve met my adorable niece, Cindry.’
‘Yes, sir. We came because we were looking for a job, the three of us. I can work with machines, and…’ Violet started to speak, but Victoria interrupted her.
‘We’ll talk about all that later. We haven’t been properly introduced, I’m Victoria, co-owner and co-founder of Funeral Factory Fulfilment Ltd. These here are our new associates, who are changing business.’ She pointed to Sir and Charles, who were coming out from behind her and Ferdinand.
‘Baudelaires! I’m so happy to see you again! We thought you were dead!’ Charles said, surprised to have met them again.
‘You survived the fire at Hotel Denouement!’ Klaus shouted. He still regreted helping Olaf burn down the Hotel, fearing he had become a murderer, along with his sisters.
‘We did survive.’ Sir began to speak, coming out from behind Ferdinand’s desk. Sir wore a purple suit and still smoked a cigar, making his face impossible to see under all that smoke. He was a greedy, cruel business man who paid his employess with bubblegum and coupons, and the Baudelaires were not too happy about working for him again, albeit indirectly.
‘We survived that fire, Charles and I, and we came back to Paltryville. Unfortunately the Finite Forest ran out of trees and I had to close down Lucky Smells and change business.’
‘We’re all changing business, Baudelaires.’ Ferdinand got up from his chair and came walking from behind his desk, walking past Victoria and the woman with goggles and the old man with a cap.
‘We here at FFF used to make coffins, with the wood that came from the Finite Forest. But now the forest is almost completely gone and we’re changing business. Instead of coffins, we’ll be making toys. Metaltoys. We’ve already made changes in our production process and machinery, but we hired you, Violet, to supervise and assist here at FFF with your inventor abilities. I’ve heard great things about you Baudelaires, and when you asked for a job here at FFF I could not say no, and I hat to bring you over immediately.’
‘Toys, you say? What kind of toys?’ Violet asked, wondering if there could be a bigger example of change of business, from coffins to toys.
‘Metal toys, like little cars and figurines. We hired you so you can tell us the adaptations we need to make toys that will make children happy.’ Said Ferdinand.
‘It also turns out that people are prefering cremation nowadays instead of a traditional funeral.’ Said the tall woman with goggles. She walked over to Violet.
‘I am Laverne, I’m the Human Resources Library manager and leader of the FFF Union. I have to say, I am surprised, I thought you were all going to be adults. I don’t like children very much, but I’ll try my best.’
‘Violet is seventeen, and I’m fifteen, miss. I, for one, wouldn’t qualify us as ‘children’.’ Klaus said, looking into the woman's goggles, trying to see her eyes.
‘And what is this?’ said Laverne, looking down on Beatrice Baudelaire.
‘Her name is Beatrice, she’s our – and at this point Violet hesitated – sister.’
‘Beatrice? Her name is Beatrice? Not a very stylish name.’ Laverne then turned around and walked over to the side of the old man, back to where she was before.
‘This is Foreman Ferguson, Baudelaires. He helps around the factory and keeps the workers productive. Currently, we’re not producing anything because of our change of business, but he still makes the workers work, somehow. Forgive him for not saying a word, he is a man of few words.’ Said Ferdinand. Foreman Ferguson did not say a word, and his silence was disturbing, reminiscent, the Baudelaires thought, of one of Count Olaf's henchmen, the round one without defined features.
‘After the business change’, Klaus asked, ‘Are you planning on changing the name of the factory?’
‘Changing the name? Why change the name? Funeral Factory Fulfilment Limited, that’s our factory’s name since it opened. I can’t change things that have been something for so long. That is my motto! Plus, I like the alliteration.’ Said Ferdinand, sitting on a chair by the table, with Victoria by his side.
‘I just thought the word ‘Funeral ‘ will seem grim in a toy factory’s name.’ Klaus replied. At this point Victoria interveined, a word which here means, ‘interrupted the conversation to make her personal comment’.
‘Grim? No, it’s just a word. If people know that we make toys, and our toys are fun, then the word isn’t grim at all. I believe that we can change the meaning of words when we want to. As long as the meaning is clear, it’s all the same.’
Violet and Klaus then looked at each other over the shoulder. Victoria’s belief made no sense. If people changed the words to mean what they wanted, then other people would not know what they were talking about, thus leading the other person who changed the meaning to explain what they meant, and it was way too much trouble to change the meaning of a word and explain what you wanted it to mean it than to not change the meaning of anything and thus having no obligations to explain anything, than having to explain something you could have not completely changed.
Cindry then opened up her mouth for the first time in the room.
‘I think as long as we don’t use the same dishes twice the factory’s name can be whatever it may be. Also, speaking of dishes, have the new ones arrived, uncle Ferdinand?’
‘Yes, Cindry. They’re in a box in the dinning room.’
‘Then we should go and have dinner because you see, it’s getting late and I’m very hungry. Come, Baudelaires. I’ll lead you there.’ And then Cindry walked over to Klaus and grabbed his hand and pulled him out of the room a tad too violently.
‘Watch it, Cindry, you almost dropped the lad!’ Ferdinand yelled.
‘Sorry, Uncle, Sorry Klaus. I’m excited about tonight’s dinner.’
‘Being excited about the dinner is no reason to act irresponsably.’
‘Of course it is.’
‘It most certainly isn’t.’
‘It most certainly IS.’
‘Oh, will you two quit it? Forgive them, Baudelaires, Ferdinad and Cindry often like to enter in arguments and I have to stop them or they’ll go on for hours. Cindry, just take the Baudelaires and Laverne with you. We’ll follow in five minutes.’ Said Victoria, interrupting the sudden argument between Ferdinand and Cindry.
‘Sure, aunt Victoria.’ And then Cindry stopped to show her uncle her tongue.
‘See you at dinner, Baudelaires!’ said Charles, waving cheerfully at them, while Sir remained silent, the smoke rising up the air and filling the room. Foreman Ferguson also remained silent.
‘I hope the china you have ordered is only the most stylish type, Cindry.’ Laverne said as she followed Cindry and the Baudelaires out of the room. They were reliefed to get out of there because the smoke from Sir’s cigar was starting to make their eyes tear up.
‘It sure is, Laverne. I had it brought over from the city just for tonight.’ Cindry replied.
‘A shame we’ll have to throw it all out after our dinner.’ Laverne added, clearly disgruntled about such a mindless waste of perfectly re-usable china, but Cindry quickly reminded her of the current policy of FFF Ltd.
‘That can’t be helped, Laverne. If you use a plate, it becomes dirty, and garbage is dirty, therefore an used, dirty plate is garbage and like garbage it goes into the trash can. Of course, all the trash cans are full and cannot be used, so we throw it out the window.’
The Baudelaires, led by Cindry and Laverne were walking in a richly decorated corridor with big windows that rose up from the floor to hit the ceiling in a curved arch. The glass was very clean and the curtains were of a very fashionable design, but the Baudelaires’ attention was not grabbed by the expensive curtains or the expensive glass of the windows, but by the mountains of broken plates and dishes that laid outside. Some piles were so tall that Violet probably could have climbed on them to fix a problem with the ceiling of the factory. Some were so sturdy that Klaus could have sat on them to read a book, and others were practically clean, and Sunny wondered what meals they once held and if she would have to throw away the pots and pans if she were to cook anything at FFF. Beatrice, however was more focused on observing the people walking in front of her, and she noticed that Laverne was wearing a very strange set of clothes. Her shoulders were puffy and baggy, her arms covered in fabric and her hands in gloves without fingers, and she was wearing a jumpsuit that fit her body tightly, that ended right around her thighs. She was wearing boots with tall platform heels, and she wondered who in the world would wear something so strange.
They reached the dinning hall, which stood behind another set of wooden, green doors.
‘Cindry, why do you all throw the dishes out? I’m sure if you watch them, they’ll be as new, and you wouldn’t have to throw them out all the time.’ Violet said.
‘Yes, Cindry. There are piles and piles of perfectly washable china out there, why not wash them and use them instead of throwing them out?’ Klaus inquired, another word for ‘asked.’
‘You don’t make the chefs throw out the pots and pans, do you?’ Sunny asked, afraid she might be forced to do so because of Cindry’s senseless belief.
‘Senseless waste’ the young Beatrice uttered, a frase by which here she meant ‘I think throwing all of your china out is lazy and crazy.’ But the Baudelaires were interrupted by Cindry, who turned around so fast her beret almost fell from her head in the process. She had a pout on, and no good can come from a girl who is pouting. She marched over to Violet, her arms held arrogantly at her waist, each step making a big thud, and looking into Violet’s eyes she said.
‘The person who washed the dishes quit. There is no one that will take that job, because if they took it, they would have to wash all of the dishes. I don’t know how to wash them, so I throw them out. That is the rule of my uncle’s factory, and if you don’t obbey the rules, you’ll answer to the union! Won’t they, Laverne?’ and she looked at Laverne who was standing behind her.
‘Yes, in this factory, that is the rule, and everyone throws the plates out, and you want to blend in, don’t you, Baudelaires?’
‘S-Sure’ said Violet, intimidated by those strange women.
‘OK. Now we can enter and the chef will serve us, but before that you have to help me open the box with the china, Laverne.’
‘Come, Baudelaires, what are you doing standing around in a daze there? I certainly hope you won’t be like that while you’re at work! Come at once.’ And both Cindry and Laverne entered the dining room. A box with the inscription ‘Chinese China China-makers’ was waiting to be opened on the dining table, wich was richly made from very expensive wood.
Yes, every person comes to meet a person in their lives they would prefer not to have met at all, or at least not frequently. But an entirely different matter is when you meet a person that acts so strangely that you cannot surely tell whether they are your friend or your ally. I once met a boy, now a man, who was very much like myself and our personalities were so similar that we ended up fighting for three years before we realised we were actually best friends. Now I am happy to call him my friend, even if I’m running away from authorities and trying desperately to be re-admitted back into the university, my last safe place, or investing the series of unfortunate events that befell the Baudelaires during – I am sorry to say – and after their stay at Funeral Factory Fullfilment Limited. And part of that misfortune, I’m sorry to say, was caused by their not being able to tell if Cindry Fullfilment was -or wasn’t – their friend.