Charlie and the chocolat.., p.9
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,
Part #1 of Charlie Bucket series by Roald Dahl
A machine with white powder spraying out of it like a snowstorm...
A lake of hot caramel with steam coming off it...
A village of Oompa-Loompas, with tiny houses and streets and hundreds of Oompa-Loompa children no more than four inches high playing in the streets...
And now the lift began flattening out again, but it seemed to be going faster than ever, and Charlie could hear the scream of the wind outside as it hurtled forward... and it twisted... and it turned... and it went up... and it went down... and...
'I'm going to be sick!' yelled Mrs Teavee, turning green in the face.
'Please don't be sick,' said Mr Wonka.
'Try and stop me!' said Mrs Teavee.
'Then you'd better take this,' said Mr Wonka, and he swept his magnificent black top hat off his head, and held it out, upside down, in front of Mrs Teavee's mouth.
'Make this awful thing stop!' ordered Mr Teavee.
'Can't do that,' said Mr Wonka. 'It won't stop till we get there. I only hope no one's using the other lift at this moment.'
'What other lift?' screamed Mrs Teavee.
'The one that goes the opposite way on the same track as this one,' said Mr Wonka.
'Holy mackerel!' cried Mr Teavee. 'You mean we might have a collision?'
'I've always been lucky so far,' said Mr Wonka.
'Now I am going to be sick!' yelled Mrs Teavee.
'No, no!' said Mr Wonka. 'Not now! We're nearly there! Don't spoil my hat!'
The next moment, there was a screaming of brakes, and the lift began to slow down. Then it stopped altogether.
'Some ride!' said Mr Teavee, wiping his great sweaty face with a handkerchief.
'Never again!' gasped Mrs Teavee. And then the doors of the lift slid open and Mr Wonka said, 'Just a minute now! Listen to me! I want everybody to be very careful in this room. There is dangerous stuff around in here and you must not tamper with it.'
The Television-Chocolate Room
The Teavee family, together with Charlie and Grandpa Joe, stepped out of the lift into a room so dazzlingly bright and dazzlingly white that they screwed up their eyes in pain and stopped walking. Mr Wonka handed each of them a pair of dark glasses and said, 'Put these on quick! And don't take them off in here whatever you do! This light could blind you!'
As soon as Charlie had his dark glasses on, he was able to look around him in comfort. He saw a long narrow room. The room was painted white all over. Even the floor was white, and there wasn't a speck of dust anywhere. From the ceiling, huge lamps hung down and bathed the room in a brilliant blue-white light. The room was completely bare except at the far ends. At one of these ends there was an enormous camera on wheels, and a whole army of Oompa-Loompas was clustering around it, oiling its joints and adjusting its knobs and polishing its great glass lens. The Oompa-Loompas were all dressed in the most extraordinary way. They were wearing bright-red space suits, complete with helmets and goggles - at least they looked like space suits - and they were working in complete silence. Watching them, Charlie experienced a queer sense of danger. There was something dangerous about this whole business, and the Oompa-Loompas knew it. There was no chattering or singing among them here, and they moved about over the huge black camera slowly and carefully in their scarlet space suits.
At the other end of the room, about fifty paces away from the camera, a single Oompa-Loompa (also wearing a space suit) was sitting at a black table gazing at the screen of a very large television set.
'Here we go!' cried Mr Wonka, hopping up and down with excitement. 'This is the Testing Room for my very latest and greatest invention - Television Chocolate!'
'But what is Television Chocolate?' asked Mike Teavee.
'Good heavens, child, stop interrupting me!' said Mr Wonka. 'It works by television. I don't like television myself. I suppose it's all right in small doses, but children never seem to be able to take it in small doses. They want to sit there all day long staring and staring at the screen...'
'That's me!' said Mike Teavee.
'Shut up!' said Mr Teavee.
'Thank you,' said Mr Wonka. T shall now tell you how this amazing television set of mine works. But first of all, do you know how ordinary television works? It is very simple. At one end, where the picture is being taken, you have a large cine camera and you start photographing something. The photographs are then split up into millions of tiny little pieces which are so small that you can't see them, and these little pieces are shot out into the sky by electricity. In the sky, they go whizzing around all over the place until suddenly they hit the antenna on the roof of somebody's house. They then go flashing down the wire that leads right into the back of the television set, and in there they get jiggled and joggled around until at last every single one of those millions of tiny pieces is fitted back into its right place (just like a jigsaw puzzle), and presto! - the photograph appears on the screen...'
'That isn't exactly how it works,' Mike Teavee said.
'I am a little deaf in my left ear,' Mr Wonka said. 'You must forgive me if I don't hear everything you say.'
'I said, that isn't exactly how it works!' shouted Mike Teavee.
'You're a nice boy,' Mr Wonka said, 'but you talk too much. Now then! The very first time I saw ordinary television working, I was struck by a tremendous idea. "Look here!" I shouted. "If these people can break up a photograph into millions of pieces and send the pieces whizzing through the air and then put them together again at the other end, why can't I do the same thing with a bar of chocolate? Why can't I send a real bar of chocolate whizzing through the air in tiny pieces and then put the pieces together at the other end, all ready to be eaten?" '
'Impossible!' said Mike Teavee.
'You think so?' cried Mr Wonka. 'Well, watch this! I shall now send a bar of my very best chocolate from one end of this room to the other by television! Get ready, there! Bring in the chocolate!'
Immediately, six Oompa-Loompas marched forward carrying on their shoulders the most enormous bar of chocolate Charlie had ever seen. It was about the size of the mattress he slept on at home.
'It has to be big,' Mr Wonka explained, 'because whenever you send something by television, it always comes out much smaller than it was when it went in. Even with ordinary television, when you photograph a big man, he never comes out on your screen any taller than a pencil, does he? Here we go, then! Get ready! No, no! Stop! Hold everything! You there! Mike Teavee! Stand back! You're too close to the camera! There are dangerous rays coming out of that thing! They could break you up into a million tiny pieces in one second! That's why the Oompa-Loompas are wearing space suits! The suits protect them! All right! That's better! Now, then! Switch on!'
One of the Oompa-Loompas caught hold of a large switch and pulled it down.
There was a blinding flash.
'The chocolate's gone!' shouted Grandpa Joe, waving his arms.
He was quite right! The whole enormous bar of chocolate had disappeared completely into thin air!
'It's on its way!' cried Mr Wonka. 'It is now rushing through the air above our heads in a million tiny pieces. Quick! Come over here!' He dashed over to the other end of the room where the large television set was standing, and the others followed him. 'Watch the screen!' he cried. 'Here it comes! Look!'
The screen flickered and lit up. Then suddenly, a small bar of chocolate appeared in the middle of the screen.
'Take it!' shouted Mr Wonka, growing more and more excited.
'How can you take it?' asked Mike Teavee, laughing. 'It's just a picture on a television screen!'
'Charlie Bucket!' cried Mr Wonka. 'You take it! Reach out and grab it!'
Charlie put out his hand and touched the screen, and suddenly, miraculously, the bar of chocolate came away in his fingers. He was so surprised he nearly dropped it.
'Eat it!' shouted Mr Wonka. 'Go on and eat it! It'll be delicious! It's the same bar! It's got smaller on the journey, that's all!'
'Just imagine,' cried Mr Wonka, 'when I start using this across the country... you'll be sitting at home watching television and suddenly a commercial will flash on to the screen and a voice will say, "EAT WONKA'S CHOCOLATES! THEY'RE THE BEST IN THE WORLD! IF YOU DON'T BELIEVE US, TRY ONE FOR YOURSELF - NOW!" And you simply reach out and take one! How about that, eh?'
'Terrific!' cried Grandpa Joe. 'It will change the world!'
Mike Teavee is Sent by Television
Mike Teavee was even more excited than Grandpa Joe at seeing a bar of chocolate being sent by television. 'But Mr Wonka,' he shouted, 'can you send other things through the air in the same way? Breakfast cereal, for instance?'
'Oh, my sainted aunt!' cried Mr Wonka. 'Don't mention that disgusting stuff in front of me! Do you know what breakfast cereal is made of? It's made of all those little curly wooden shavings you find in pencil sharpeners!'
'But could you send it by television if you wanted to, as you do chocolate?' asked Mike Teavee.
'Of course I could!'
'And what about people?' asked Mike Teavee. 'Could you send a real live person from one place to another in the same way?'
'A person!' cried Mr Wonka. 'Are you off your rocker?'
'But could it be done?'
'Good heavens, child, I really don't know... I suppose it could... yes. I'm pretty sure it could... of course it could... I wouldn't like to risk it, though... it might have some very nasty results...'
But Mike Teavee was already off and running. The moment he heard Mr Wonka saying, 'I'm pretty sure it could... of course it could,' he turned away and started running as fast as he could towards the other end of the room where the great camera was standing. 'Look at me!' he shouted as he ran. 'I'm going to be the first person in the world to be sent by television!'
'No, no, no, no!' cried Mr Wonka.
'Mike!' screamed Mrs Teavee. 'Stop! Come back! You'll be turned into a million tiny pieces!'
But there was no stopping Mike Teavee now. The crazy boy rushed on, and when he reached the enormous camera, he jumped straight for the switch, scattering Oompa-Loompas right and left as he went.
'See you later, alligator!' he shouted, and he pulled down the switch, and as he did so, he leaped out into the full glare of the mighty lens.
There was a blinding flash.
Then there was silence.
Then Mrs Teavee ran forward... but she stopped dead in the middle of the room... and she stood there... she stood staring at the place where her son had been... and her great red mouth opened wide and she screamed, 'He's gone! He's gone!'
'Great heavens, he has gone!' shouted Mr Teavee.
Mr Wonka hurried forward and placed a hand gently on Mrs Teavee's shoulder. 'We shall have to hope for the best,' he said. 'We must pray that your little boy will come out unharmed at the other end.'
'Mike!' screamed Mrs Teavee, clasping her head in her hands. 'Where are you?'
'I'll tell you where he is,' said Mr Teavee, 'he's whizzing around above our heads in a million tiny pieces!'
'Don't talk about it!' wailed Mrs Teavee.
'We must watch the television set,' said Mr Wonka. 'He may come through any moment.'
Mr and Mrs Teavee and Grandpa Joe and little Charlie and Mr Wonka all gathered round the television and stared tensely at the screen. The screen was quite blank.
'He's taking a heck of a long time to come across,' said Mr Teavee, wiping his brow.
'Oh dear, oh dear,' said Mr Wonka, 'I do hope that no part of him gets left behind.'
'What on earth do you mean?' asked Mr Teavee sharply.
'I don't wish to alarm you,' said Mr Wonka, 'but it does sometimes happen that only about half the little pieces find their way into the television set. It happened last week. I don't know why, but the result was that only half a bar of chocolate came through.'
Mrs Teavee let out a scream of horror. 'You mean only a half of Mike is coming back to us?' she cried.
'Let's hope it's the top half,' said Mr Teavee.
'Hold everything!' said Mr Wonka. 'Watch the screen! Something's happening!'
The screen had suddenly begun to flicker.
Then some wavy lines appeared.
Mr Wonka adjusted one of the knobs and the wavy lines went away.
And now, very slowly, the screen began to get brighter and brighter.
'Here he comes!' yelled Mr Wonka. 'Yes, that's him all right!'
'Is he all in one piece?' cried Mrs Teavee.
'I'm not sure,' said Mr Wonka. 'It's too early to tell.'
Faintly at first, but becoming clearer and clearer every second, the picture of Mike Teavee appeared on the screen. He was standing up and waving at the audience and grinning from ear to ear.
'But he's a midget!' shouted Mr Teavee.
'Mike,' cried Mrs Teavee, 'are you all right? Are there any bits of you missing?'
'Isn't he going to get any bigger?' shouted Mr Teavee.
'Talk to me, Mike!' cried Mrs Teavee. 'Say something! Tell me you're all right!'
A tiny little voice, no louder than the squeaking of a mouse, came out of the television set. 'Hi, Mum!' it said. 'Hi, Pop! Look at me! I'm the first person ever to be sent by television!'
'Grab him!' ordered Mr Wonka. 'Quick!'
Mrs Teavee shot out a hand and picked the tiny figure of Mike Teavee out of the screen.
'Hooray!' cried Mr Wonka. 'He's all in one piece! He's completely unharmed!'
'You call that unharmed?' snapped Mrs Teavee, peering at the little speck of a boy who was now running to and fro across the palm of her hand, waving his pistols in the air.
He was certainly not more than an inch tall.
'He's shrunk!' said Mr Teavee.
'Of course he's shrunk,' said Mr Wonka. 'What did you expect?'
'This is terrible!' wailed Mrs Teavee. 'What are we going to do?'
And Mr Teavee said, 'We can't send him back to school like this! He'll get trodden on! He'll get squashed!'
'He won't be able to do anything!' cried Mrs Teavee.
'Oh, yes I will!' squeaked the tiny voice of Mike Teavee. 'I'll still be able to watch television!'
'Never again!' shouted Mr Teavee. 'I'm throwing the television set right out the window the moment we get home. I've had enough of television!'
When he heard this, Mike Teavee flew into a terrible tantrum. He started jumping up and down on the palm of his mother's hand, screaming and yelling and trying to bite her fingers. 'I want to watch television!' he squeaked. 'I want to watch television! I want to watch television! I want to watch television!'
'Here! Give him to me!' said Mr Teavee, and he took the tiny boy and shoved him into the breast pocket of his jacket and stuffed a handkerchief on top. Squeals and yells came from inside the pocket, and the pocket shook as the furious little prisoner fought to get out.
'Oh, Mr Wonka,' wailed Mrs Teavee, 'how can we make him grow?'
'Well,' said Mr Wonka, stroking his beard and gazing thoughtfully at the ceiling, T must say that's a wee bit tricky. But small boys are extremely springy and elastic. They stretch like mad. So what we'll do, we'll put him in a special machine I have for testing the stretchiness of chewing-gum! Maybe that will bring him back to what he was.'
'Oh, thank you!' said Mrs Teavee.
'Don't mention it, dear lady.'
'How far d'you think he'll stretch?' asked Mr Teavee.
'Maybe miles,' said Mr Wonka. 'Who knows? But he's going to be awfully thin. Everything gets thinner when you stretch it.'
'You mean like chewing-gum?' asked Mr Teavee.
'How thin will he be?' asked Mrs Teavee anxiously.
'I haven't the foggiest idea,' said Mr Wonka. 'And it doesn't really matter, anyway, because we'll soon fatten him up again. All we'll have to do is give him a triple overdose of my wonderful Supervitamin Chocolate. Supervitamin C
'And what will that do to him?' asked Mr Teavee anxiously.
'It'll make his toes grow out until they're as long as his fingers...'
'Oh, no!' cried Mrs Teavee.
'Don't be silly,' said Mr Wonka. 'It's most useful. He'll be able to play the piano with his feet.'
'But Mr Wonka...'
'No arguments, please!' said Mr Wonka. He turned away and clicked his fingers three times in the air. An Oompa-Loompa appeared immediately and stood beside him. 'Follow these orders,' said
Mr Wonka, handing the Oompa-Loompa a piece of paper on which he had written full instructions. 'And you'll find the boy in his father's pocket. Off you go! Good-bye, Mr Teavee! Good-bye, Mrs Teavee! And please don't look so worried! They all come out in the wash, you know; every one of them...'
At the end of the room, the Oompa-Loompas around the giant camera were already beating their tiny drums and beginning to jog up and down to the rhythm.
'There they go again!' said Mr Wonka. 'I'm afraid you can't stop them singing.'
Little Charlie caught Grandpa Joe's hand, and the two of them stood beside Mr Wonka in the middle of the long bright room, listening to the Oompa-Loompas. And this is what they sang: ' The most important thing we've learned,
So far as children are concerned,
Is never,NEVER, NEVER let
Them near your television set -
Or better still, just don't install
The idiotic thing at all.
In almost every house we've been,
We've watched them gaping at the screen.
They loll and slop and lounge about,
And stare until their eyes pop out.
(Last week in someone's place we saw
A dozen eyeballs on the floor.)
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl / Young Adult / Fantasy / History & Fiction have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on32 votes