In the dim light of the cell, James Collins held the flimsy cone with a bittersweet smile. This wasn’t what he’d asked for, but perhaps it was fitting; a grim mockery of the Cadbury Flake 99 that had brought him such joy in the past. The Cadbury Flake was now an impostor, a shadow of its former glory, and it mirrored his own downfall in its crumbled mess.
James was not an innocent man, but he was no monster either. He’d lived a life punctuated by bouts of rage and remorse. The court had not cared for the remorse, the jury had seen only the rage. Now, on his final day, he had one simple request: a Cadbury 99. He’d hoped to taste that final comfort, a gentle reminder of a time when life had been simpler, and disappointments less profound.
But the Cadbury’s that sat in his hand was not the same. The company had moved production to Egypt in an effort to cut costs, and it seemed the quality had been sacrificed. It was too crumbly, too dry, too far removed from the Cadbury’s of his childhood memories.
With a sigh, he took a bite, hoping that perhaps the taste would resurrect the old magic. It did not. The chocolate dissolved into grit in his mouth, leaving him with an emptiness that echoed his surroundings. The disappointment was profound, an affirmation of his worst fears. If this was the fate of his favourite treat, what waited for him beyond this life?
Panic gripped him then, a wild, consuming fear that left him gasping for breath. The guards rushed in, alarmed by the sudden change in their usually stoic prisoner. As they fumbled to control him, one of them produced a small, foil-wrapped package.
It was a German chocolate bar, procured in a last-minute effort to fulfil James’ request when the original Cadbury 99 proved insufficient. They handed it to him, a desperate attempt to calm him. James took it with trembling hands, his heart pounding in his chest.
As he unwrapped the foil, he was hit with a rich, cocoa aroma. It was stronger, darker than the Cadbury’s, promising an intensity that had been absent in the crumbled Flake. He took a bite, letting the chocolate melt on his tongue.
And there it was, the sweetness he craved, the hint of comfort he needed. It wasn’t the Cadbury Flake 99 of his childhood, but it was exquisite in its own right. It grounded him, reminded him that there was still goodness in the world, even in his darkest hour. The panic ebbed away, replaced by a bittersweet acceptance.
If this was his final taste of life, it was a worthy one. A low quality Flake may have brought him despair, but this new experience was a reminder that change was not always an omen of despair. Perhaps, he thought, as he savoured the final piece, there was something to look forward to, even on the other side.