6: Sudden Death
She was here.
She had to be here, Wonka thought with a twinge of desperation. He'd been looking all over the factory for the past hour or so, and an hour in the great glass elevator was enough to unsettle even his iron stomach.
The search was hampered by the fact that pint-sized help seemed to be in short supply. Everywhere he called for assistance from Oompa-Loompas, only a few stragglers unlucky enough to be in sight obeyed. The rest claimed to be busy-not that he didn't believe them, but it seemed an odd coincidence that-
Something was breathing. Wonka tensed, stopped in the middle of the chocolate room to listen. But it was gone now, just as if he'd imagined it. He saved this room for last, thinking it would be the hardest to search. He had no idea how right he was. With the lights off, the confectionary Garden of Eden became an underworld of countless sloping hills and shadowed plants to hide behind, with the slow rush of the chocolate river to hide many idle sounds someone might make. Why were the lights off? He had some vague pretense of surprising her, but this seemed less likely the longer he was in there.
It was funny, he thought. He saw Violet when she swiped a candy apple from Charlie and ate it that morning. The similarity to Adam and Eve was impossible to miss—and if Violet was Eve then he was God, the creator of this garden, with every right to punish her as he saw fit. But either this girl could hide much better than her predecessor, or he was not as all-knowing as he assumed, not so powerful, just an aging figurehead of an industry that demanded the fresh and new, and...
"Hi, Mr. Wonka!"
He squeaked with fright and whirled around. Violet was standing on the hill behind him.
She beamed. "Looks like we're in overtime, huh?"
"And how, may I ask, did you get in here?"
She shrugged. "Oh, no big deal. The Oompa-Loompas helped me."
He felt a chill. "Nuh-uh. The Oompa Loompas are on my side, you dumb, foolish little girl. I rescued them from Loompaland. I gave them caocao beans."
"You probably broke the law to get them here. Then you locked them up in a factory where you won't even pay them real money. That's what Mike said. I think they'll like me better."
"I bet you're wrong."
"I bet I'm right."
"I bet you're double wrong."
"How do you think I got down the river?" Violet retorted.
Wonka paused. "Um…champion swimmer?"
"Actually I am. But if I swam here, my clothes would be all brown and wet, instead of white." She taunted him. "I just gave them some gum and offered to help them row. They liked me after that. Do you ever help them row?"
"That's not my job, Violet. I run this factory."
The smile disappeared from her face. "Do you really? I think this factory runs you. I think you're a crazy person who doesn't come up with half the things he puts out. And you shouldn't be selling stuff to kids if you don't like them."
"And who don't I like? Your little friends? They were naughty children, Violet. They deserved to be punished."
"Not any more than you," Violet said firmly. "You're not any less mean than we are. In fact, you're meaner. So this time, I get to punish you."
She bolted for the river in a flash of blue and white.
"Hey!" Wonka protested feebly. Now he had to run. When was the last time he had to run through his own factory? It was so dark he lost his footing a few times, and he was wheezing by the time he reached the riverbank.
She was already floating off on that ghastly pink seahorse boat, further into the depths of the factory—and she hadn't lied. A crowd of Oompa-Loompas was rowing with her.
"See you in the Nut Room, Mr. Wonka! Unless you're afraid the squirrels are on my side too."
"Hey! Stop! How can you do this to me?! I can be more like her! I can chew gum and lose the hat!" he called after them. It was no use; they vanished around the corner.
Wonka felt a sense of doom. Still breathing hard and holding his side, he ran for the elevator.
"Don't worry about me, guys. I can handle him," Violet whispered affectionately. The Oompa-Loompas nodded and retreated to the side exits. That was how it had to be, one-on-one—just like the last time, but with a different outcome.
It didn't take long. He came staggering through the door in minutes, stopping at the gate to see her waiting on the nut-sorting floor.
"Hey!" she waved casually. "Come on in and let's talk. The squirrels are on break as you can see."
Wonka's shadow stretched across half the room. He jingled his keys, trying to find the right one for the gate.
"Just climb over it!" Violet yelled again, losing her patience. "You could have done that before! And tried harder to get Augustus out of the river. And shut down the machines before Mike got shrunk. The newspapers are going to hear all about that, you know. Children getting hurt in our factory and you not doing anything."
Wonka put away the keys and followed her advice, climbing timidly over the three-foot-high fence. "It's my factory, Violet."
"Not anymore. It belongs to the Oompa-Loompas. And me. I know what the real prize was. And I'm the one kid left at the end, just like I said I would be."
"No," he protested weakly.
"You should be honored. You're the first visitor to Violet Beauregarde's Chocolate Factory," she pulled out a brand new piece of gum and began to chew. It tasted wonderful. "Can I show you our new line of gum, sir?"
Wonka's face twisted in revulsion. He howled and made a mad dash at her down the stairs, raising his cane.
Violet let herself fall to the floor and spun, sweeping his left leg out from under him as he turned. "Hah!" Wonka staggered. She kept hold of the leg as she rose and kicked the other one out from underneath him. "Yah!" He crashed to the floor, his cane clattering out of reach.
Black belt in kickboxing, age 11.
"That was for my mother," Violet said.
She blew a whistle and stepped aside. Slowly the squirrels filed out of their tiny doors. It was time to return to work. It didn't take them long to see something on their floor that shouldn't be there.
"And this is for me."
Wonka looked up and gasped, seeing dozens of beady eyes and chattering mouths coming for him. And now Violet suspected another reason why he wouldn't come down here earlier: he was afraid of them too. These squirrels had been well trained and could sniff out anyone who was a bad nut—even their owner.
One of them jumped upon his chest, rapped his forehead and came to an easy decision. Wonka flailed around uselessly as they scampered all over him, around him and then under him, taking him to the chute in the center of the floor.
Violet beamed with triumph as she stood over him. Her smile was brilliant, blinding, promising destruction.
Best Promise Keeper Award, kindergarten.
"I win." She said.
He screeched like a girl as they cast him into the pit.
Violet gave the Oompa-Loompas no orders regarding the furnace. Maybe finding Veruca and her father in the trash reminded them of their laxity, and they had already lit the incinerator. But maybe not.
Wonka deserved the same odds as the rest of them.
Her mother had all the blueberry juice squeezed out of her and soon returned to normal. After the little men apologized for singing about Violet's mother (all the songs were at Wonka's behest, they claimed), they got along swimmingly. After ensuring that there would be a new line of Wonka chewing gum, Violet handed over the factory to Charlie and his family. She cared about the victory more than the prize.
There would be many other games to play, other trophies to win. But her 264th would always be her favorite.
"The 4 accidents that await the 4 supposedly bad kids are quite similar to the Wilder version. But this time, there is some notable hypocrisy. The truth is, in this version, Willy Wonka is no better than the 4 kids who have a nasty accident."
-Bradley Headstone on Amazondotcom
Author's Note: Ahhh, the remake. That movie really was kind of weak when you think about it. I mean, it looked good, but it didn't make any sense. That script? We could have written it and maybe done better. But the biggest letdown for me was Johnny Depp's Wonka. He's impossible to identify with. He's just weird for the sake of being weird; not even his childhood (terrible subplot BTW) explains his behavior.
I really wanted to throw a wrench into things and give this super-creepy character his just desserts, and since Violet was my favorite kid in both of the movie versions, I picked her to be the wrench. The 2005 Violet is driven, mature, and very human-everything her adversary is not. All she needed was some smarts and extra motivation to become Wonka's worst nightmare.
Please review! I hope you all enjoyed this.