Sorry to take so long to upload this. Have had laptop issues and only managed to get back into the file again recently. Here's a little I held in reserve to keep you going until I'm back on track again properly...
Willy opened his eye's slowly. The light of day surrounded him as he slowly became accustomed to the change in his environs. Matte-day was standing next to the bed, and Tamporth was at the window, just jumping down off of the stool he'd obviously been standing on to fix the blinds.
As he looked at his colleagues questioningly Matte-day smiled at him. "James came and fetched us to you last night my friend. He had discovered you staring blankly at the door to the Buckets suite, and brought you along here. Once he had you safely settled he asked us to watch over you. Can you tell me what happened?"
Willy let his mind rove back to where he had been the evening before. "I was with the Buckets." He stated in an almost dreamy manner. Then he stiffened. "The Buckets!" he exclaimed urgently, "Charlie!" He tried to throw the covers off and swing himself out of bed, but Matte-day restrained him, and Tamporth very deliberately sat himself on the side of the bed, holding the covers in place. "Charlie is, rather reluctantly, safely in school. And Mampa is with Ellie, while James is seeing to the needs of the rest of the Buckets. And your first job is to tell us what lead to your being in this state!"
So slowly, haltingly, Willy told the story of the previous evening. He rambled around the subject for a while, and the two employees heard several stories of days gone by that they had never heard before. Many of the emotions that Willy had buried deep with his memories started to come out. Then, as he reached the end of his story Tamporth burst out with "I cannot say that I'm very impressed at that Grandpa Joe! Just seeing our dear friend here to the door in such an obvious state, and he their benefactor as well!"
Matte-day laid a comforting hand on his arm. "But didn't you hear from James, dear boy, that it was Grandpa Joe who lead to him finding our sweet William by the door. For as soon as he closed that door he pressed the intercom and gave our handyman enough basics for him to guess what was needed.
"Be not too harsh on the old man my friend, for he had many responsibilities inside the suite, and had to look to those. He also knew that there were others who could look to him more easily, and who Willy would trust in ways he could not trust his new-old friends. The time may come when they will be trusted as much as we, but for now it is better not. Willy needs to be seen as strong and competent, especially in the eyes of the boy. Which is why we act as we now must."
With sparkling eyes he turned to his employer. "Thank you for sharing that with us, now it strikes me that you will be best served by a turn in the inventing room, while we return to our normal duties. I wouldn't attempt to head to your office – Marplina has taken charge there, and you know what she's like if she thinks you're trying to take on too much!" Matte-day finished with a laugh, while Willy grumbled at him. Really! Some employees took too much on themselves, Willy thought. He wasn't sick, and a day in the office would do him no harm. Then he chuckled. He really shouldn't complain. Here he was being given some freedom from those endless difficulties which belonged to the outside world, and being given free reign to indulge himself in his favourite activities! Though it wasn't his choice, he should simply feel grateful that his staff cared enough about him that they realised that there were some days he needed to have this freedom, and quietly and efficiently saw to it that he was free to do so. As much as Willy Wonka loved candy and chocolate, it was the inventing process which really excited him. That had been the case back when he had known Charlie's family before, and that was the case once again now.
It was as he was changing so he could head off to the inventing room that an idea struck Willy. He had promised Charlie that he would meet up with the important people in Charlie's life. Why didn't he surprise Charlie by meeting up with him at the school? That would give Willy the chance to catch up with the boy and spend a little while with him on the way home.
The very thought put an extra spring in his step, and with a quick word to Tamporth to fetch him in plenty of time to head over to the school to meet Charlie on his way out he quickly got into the wonkavator and pushed the button which would take him to the inventing room. There were so many projects requiring his attention just now, that Willy wasn't too sure where to start.
As his thoughts turned to Charlie again his eyes were drawn to the now relocated fizzy lifting juice. Yes, that would be a good place to start – with the suggestions Charlie had given regarding diluting the solution. That meant that he could continue his work, but also do something which would hopefully make Charlie happy. He also needed to work out what department Charlie should start his apprenticeship in. Maybe he should start by following an idea from its very conception right the way through to its landing on the shelves. He'd get some real notion of the processes the factory went through like that. Though he had to admit that the 'wouldn't it be wonderful if' idea conception room could be a pretty boring department to start in. It was a room which everyone had admittance to, and was used occasionally by everyone who lived in the factory. As thoughts came to mind about things which would make life easier, or just things it would be fun to be able to do they came and wrote them down on a slip of paper...
Willy had used the technique as long as he could remember – he remembered Joe's brother Jack putting in the suggestion for ice cream which didn't melt. Everyone had watched in fascination as he put the idea into the pot of ideas, certain that he was teasing them when he said that's what his idea was, and that he was serious about suggesting it. Then when it was transferred through the strange liquid to Willy's room they retreated. This was also testing the system which had been newly installed – much to the confusion of the assembled staff.
Three minutes later Willy had come dancing out of his room, bit of paper clutched in his hand. "Never melting Ice Cream!" he had exclaimed "What a Wondering idea. Well done Jackaholic!" And his employee, who wasn't too sure how Willy had guessed that it had come from him, had mentioned it coming from his brother who was in the army and often went to hot places. In his last letter home he had complained about how quickly ice cream melted, so Jack had thought it something his employer might be interested in trying to solve this problem, seeing how much he loved wacky ideas of the kind.
It had taken them months to get the idea perfected and a way of protecting the confection from the heat of the sun, but eventually they had managed. To put the icing on the cake for Jackaholic, his brother, soon to become known as Joe-Jackaby to Willy, had got home in time for the launching of the product, and he brought him into the shop the day they had it planned to meet Willy. Willy had insisted that he be their taste tester, and gave him the first official cone. That day had been a party for them all, as they sold their icecream without requiring cold cabinets of any description, despite the heat of the sun.
As they relaxed in the meadow, the staff flopped each in their own wee hollow, resting now the work was done, Willy had asked Joe if their results were good enough, and Joe had replied with a laugh that it ought to last long enough for them to realise they were eating icecream at least. A weary chuckle was raised by this remark, and the friends had enjoyed the last of the sun together before each making their way home. Days like that were great fun, but more exhausting than normal. Everyone was simply pleased that the next day was Sunday, so they could all relax. More than one person suspected that Willy would want an inventing day before too long though. This idea was soon confirmed as Joe had spotted some children playing with small bouncy balls. "wouldn't it be fun to have candy one was able to bounce around like that? Market it as a game – bounce it off the table or the ground and see if you can catch it in your mouth?"
Ellie had immediately protested at the idea of deliberately throwing food on the ground if you planned on then eating it. "My dear Ellie-Belly, remember the ten second rule!" Willy had commented with a lazy smile, before bounding to his feet. "Must be off! Thank you for the wonderful idea Joe-Jackaby, I must look into this. Maybe the next time you're home we'll be having a celebration day at the skate park to have fun with the bouncing candy balls. See everyone bright and early on Monday!"
With that he'd run off towards the shop in leaps and bounds. "See you Joe Bucket!" Ellie had commented, frustrated. "He'll be cancelling our second day off now because of you! Couldn't you have given us a weeks break at least!?" she asked him. "We've only just got the last wacky idea off our hands – I was hoping for a few weeks peace before we had invention mania man with us again. And everything else a new idea brings with it! He's like the flipping Duracell Bunny!" she exclaimed, referring to one of the new battery advert campaigns they had seen recently. Samey-Janey had sighed tiredly "I think they got the idea for the Duracell Bunny from observing Willy!" she retorted quickly, before shaking herself and jumping lightly to her feet "I'd best get off – he'll want his note taker beside him for the start of this job!" Ellie watched her move quickly towards Wonka, who was standing waiting at the gate of the park for Jane to join him. She smiled at the way Wonka held out his hand and began to walk somewhat quietly alongside her, no doubt talking excitedly about all the possibilities. Then, quite suddenly she changed tack and became brisk again. "Oh well then. I'm off home now. If this is all the quiet time we're going to get before he's in the throes of producing a new kind of sweet I'm going to spend it all at home!" And off she had gone, with Joe's son following her, obviously very taken with the young woman.
Willy pulled himself out of his reminiscences, as he realised he really needed to focus today. He could think of the past once again at another point in time. First he needed to spend some time playing in the inventing room, and then he had to go meet Charlie at the school. With a chirpy laugh Willy turned to confer with his employees on the continuing experiments, internally wondering exactly what reaction he would get from Charlie and the people in general when he turned up at the school.