Title: Nothing Lasts Forever?

Summary: How do you perfect a seemingly perfect candy? Why, you eat it.

Rated: K or G, whichever system you prefer.

Disclaimer: I do not own Rhoad Dahl's work Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, nor do I own either interpretation of the book, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, directed by Mel Stuart in association with Paramount and Warner Home Video or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, directed by Tim Burton in association with Warner Brothers.

Author's Notes: This ditty just popped into my head—how does he perfect everything? Where does he get the ideas? From the candy! It's a total oneshot, so there won't be any sequels or deep plot. It's just a light-hearted character study. The timeframe is pre-Golden Tickets. I would say it's book canon, but I have only read the tale once (shameful, I know) amd there is a mention of something that's movie canon, so I will have to label it Burton's. I just wanted to use the phrase "mom and dad things."

Mr. Willy Wonka sucked on his seventy-fifth jawbreaker, staring hard at absolutely nothing. His cane tapped out a random tune as he sat cross-legged on the floor, top hat slightly askew, his elaborate robe puddling about him. His face was a complete mask of utter consternation.

He was currently brainstorming for new ideas, and found that eating copious amounts of the same candy was quite helpful—it stimulated him enough to figure out exactly what was wrong with said candy and improve it. He'd eaten six gallons of chocolate ice cream when he realized that the last few bites were just too soft and runny for his liking, hence the ice cream that never melted. He'd chewed his way through twelve packets of bubblegum before figuring out that the reason he'd chewed so much was because it lost its flavor, and those twelve packs had been particularly productive, because he'd also lamented that he couldn't get very big bubbles unless he chewed four pieces at once. He'd downed sixteen bags of sugarcoated gummy worms, frogs, and other assorted gummy animals and then came to the conclusion that, unless they actually moved, they weren't much fun. He had sucked down seven cans of whipped cream and realized that it simply wasn't whipped, that was the problem. And he could not remember how much chocolate he had devoured before figuring out the minute imperfections that needed to be changed to create his perfect blend that now flowed constantly in his river.

He knew that, if he ate enough of it, he could figure out exactly what was wrong with a candy and fix it.

The jawbreakers, however, were giving him tremendous trouble. They were seemingly flawless. The range of flavors was incredible and stayed on the tongue for a while after a person had eaten it. He'd designed them so people couldn't chew through them—he simply would not allow people to get impatient and rush them. He felt that jawbreakers needed to make a person savor their flavor, and he did enjoy a candy that made him listen to it, and he was certainly listening to the jawbreakers. But they weren't talking as much as he would have liked. He knew there was something to improve, because unless he'd already fixed it, no candy was perfect. His jawbreakers couldn't be perfect…he'd never gotten it perfect on the first try.

He swirled the round candy in his mouth, furrowing his brow as it began to slowly switch flavors yet again. He couldn't complain about monotony in his jawbreakers—he made them big enough and each layer just thin enough so he could include many different flavors, guaranteeing that no package had the same two candies. He had often considered offering a prize to someone who could find two jawbreakers that were alike, he was that confident of their variety. He couldn't complain about the flavors being too short, either, because he'd made sure that, while each layer was thin enough to guarantee ten flavors, each layer was thick enough to last through the next.

The public liked them—they were selling like mad, and outdid every single other jawbreaker out on the market. No other company could guarantee the same variety of flavors or duration. Yet…something had to be off, otherwise he wouldn't be sitting in the middle of the Inventing Room, going through a steadily shrinking pile of them in a box before him. He knew something was wrong when he started eating it, and there had to be something wrong with these, considering he was about to start number seventy-six.

He reached into his mouth and pulled out the shrunken remainder, staring hard at it. It was still perfectly shiny and perfectly round—a feat that no other jawbreaker had ever achieved. It was green and caramel apple flavored, even though it had started out red and raspberry flavored. He glared at it, hoping to cow it into telling him just what he was missing. Of course, it said nothing. The troublesome candies never did.

Somewhat sullenly, he popped the remainder back into his mouth and continued to work it down to the last flavor. What was missing? Not another flavor, ten was the perfect number. No need to thicken or thin a layer, he'd experimented enough to figure out that perfect width to ensure they weren't too big to fit into hungry mouths. Did he need to maybe brighten their color? No, he didn't.

Swallowing, he harrumphed and squeaked his gloves irritably. He glanced up, aware that several Oompas were watching him. They always watched him, because they knew they had to be ready to start immediately on his new idea—he never liked to write it down and wait until later. No, no, unless you started on the idea immediately, it left and you'd never get it right—that, or some despicable person would steal the idea from you and make it before you could.

He reached into the box and pulled yet another jawbreaker from his dwindling supply. Peering inside, he saw he only had four left—eighty jawbreakers, twenty packages. He always thought to put four jawbreakers to a package and ensure that they were fairly cheap. He understood that some children were denied money by their mom and dad things almost as much as he'd been denied candy, and since his jawbreakers were guaranteed to last longer than the competition's, it was always nice to have more than one. Made the enjoyment last even longer.

Wonka eyed the candy being held between his gloved forefinger and thumb—this one was a violent pink, and he already knew that the flavor would be Easter Marshmallows, which were vastly different from regular marshmallows, because Easter Marshmallows were just that much Eastery. Placing the innocent candy in his palm, he tested the weight, along with its capacity to be a marble as it rolled from his wrist to his fingertips. It spun perfectly along the spotless floor, and had only the slightest bounce when dropped on the ground, and refused to crack when thrown.

He gave a warbling cry of aggravation, making almost every single Oompa in the room glance up from his work and stare intently. "I knew you'd do all of that, now what won't you do?!" he hollered uselessly at the thing. It stared back, a perfect sphere of frustrating and tantalizing imperfection. He snatched it up and, vindictively, stuffed it into his mouth and folded his arms, scowling and squinting as the taste assaulted him.

Then, just like all ideas did, it came to him.

"I' dosthn' las' frever!" he cried, his voice horribly muffled by the large candy that was currently impeding his speech. However, the Oompas knew that tone—he'd gotten it, so he was now ready to start work. Those Oompas that could stopped their work and made their way hurriedly to their eccentric employer, who was currently juggling the remaining four jawbreakers in his delight while dancing some kind of jig. He continued to chant his muffled phrase "I' dosthn' las' frever" until the Oompas had properly assembled in front of him, arms dutifully at their sides, expressions quite solemn.

Wonka whirled and promptly dropped all of his jawbreakers upon seeing his workers—it seemed that, no matter how many times they assembled at his cry of triumph, he was always shocked to see them there. He spat his jawbreaker out (which was still hot pink, although it had faded slightly and was giving way to vicious vermilion), careful not to drop it—he hated wasting candy.

"I have eaten seventy-five of these jawbreakers for one reason! Because they don't last forever! They are perfect in nearly every single way except that! They may last a long time, but they don't last, like my gum flavors do! Findiberalous, I finally hit it!" he exclaimed rapidly, gesturing wildly to the Oompas standing before him. They smiled and nodded to one another, always pleased to see their generous employer so utterly overjoyed. Wonka, in the mean time, had stuffed the jawbreaker back into his mouth and was pacing back and forth, cane tapping out a staccato pattern.

"Naw, uh nameth's importhan'—can' be 'awbrea'ersth, 'hose don' lasth' frever," he slurred uselessly. The Oompas waited patiently—he often spoke with his mouth full, so they were used to it. He'd get to the point eventually. And, as always, they were right—he stopped in mid-stride after several minutes of burbling out a bunch of nonsense that nobody in their right mind could ever understand even if he was speaking properly, swung his cane around, and once again pulled the jawbreaker from his mouth, eyes gleaming and smiling quite widely. The Oompas knew he was about to be clever.

"They are everlasting, and they keep you from talking properly. They stop your gob! Everlasting Gobstoppers!" he practically shrieked. The Oompas applauded, and he giggled inanely. Spinning around on one heel before doing a back flip for no reason other than pure amusement, he wrapped the jawbreaker in his hanky before gathering up the remaining four pieces of candy from their resting places on the floor. He glanced up at the Oompas still standing before him, waiting for their orders.

"Off we go! These four will be the experimental models! We'll need the basis formula to be the everlasting gum flavor, but we'll also need other things—what lasts forever? Cockroaches, but those are highly unappealing and we don't have any. Diamonds? Yes, those last forever, and the dust will be good for increasing even more hardness, since these'll need to be even harder than these jawbreakers here, we'll be needing broken clocks, too, and lots of new flavors, because they'll still need to cycle through but they can't shrink!" he listed rapidly, and the Oompas dispersed, each one doing something separate as he gave random instructions, ingredients, orders, and advice. He barely stopped to take a breath before continuing his rapid, almost incomprehensible monologue.

"Do we still have the vat of Peep eyes, I have a feeling those will come in handy because those can survive anything, and if we don't we can just substitute in some of the candies that didn't work, since I can't seem to get rid of them at all, maybe figure out how to put in an itch you can't scratch and oh, why didn't I think of it earlier, bad pennies, get me bad pennies! And I suppose we'll need to build a whole new machine for testing them, and it'll need to be fun, of course, but still doing its job, oh, definitely some kind of water tank, so they can swim around and just try and dissolve, because everybody knows that candy likes to be challenged, just look at my jawbreakers, and speaking of, and I need to finish my seventh-sixth jawbreaker! It deserves to be eaten, since it was the lucky one that gave me such a splendiferous idea!"

And with that, he unwrapped the now-purple ball of sweetness and stuffed it back into his still jabbering mouth.

Thank you for reading, please tell me what was good and what was bad.