Choose style:

Author Topic: A Lost Chapter of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory  (Read 3506 times)

VoxClamantis

  • Guest
A Lost Chapter of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
« on: October 18, 2006, 09:04:am »

From the Times Online (London), via the wonderful Mirabilis blog... Note the date -- but it's new to me!:
 
 

 

The secret ordeal of Miranda Piker
July 23, 2005

 

Before Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was published in 1964 Roald Dahl pared down his cast of characters. Last to go was Miranda Piker and her chapter has appeared only once — in mirror script. Here, for the first time, we publish her comeuppance the right way round

 
 
 
“THIS STUFF,” SAID MR WONKA, “IS GOING to cause chaos in schools all over the world when I get it in the shops.”
 
The room they now entered had rows and rows of pipes coming straight up out of the floor. The pipes were bent over at the top and they looked like large walking sticks. Out of every pipe there trickled a stream of white crystals. Hundreds of Oompa-Loompas were running to and fro, catching the crystals in little golden boxes and stacking the boxes against the walls.
 
“Spotty Powder!” exclaimed Mr Wonka, beaming at the company. “There it is! That’s it! Fantastic stuff!” “It looks like sugar,” said Miranda Piker.
 
“It’s meant to look like sugar,” Mr Wonka said. “And it tastes like sugar. But it isn’t sugar. Oh, dear me, no.”
 
“Then what is it?” asked Miranda Piker, speaking rather rudely.
 
“That door over there,” said Mr Wonka, turning away from Miranda and pointing to a small red door at the far end of the room, “leads directly down to the machine that makes the powder. Twice a day, I go down there myself to feed it. But I'm the only one. Nobody ever comes with me.”
 
They all stared at the little door on which it said MOST SECRET — KEEP OUT.
 
The hum and throb of powerful machinery could be heard coming up from the depths below, and the floor itself was vibrating all the time. The children could feel it through the soles of their shoes.
 
Miranda Piker now pushed forward and stood in front of Mr Wonka. She was a nasty-looking girl with a smug face and a smirk on her mouth, and whenever she spoke it was always with a voice that seemed to be saying: “Everybody is a fool except me.”
 
“OK,” Miranda Piker said, smirking at Mr Wonka. “So what’s the big news? What’s this stuff meant to do when you eat it?” “Ah-ha,” said Mr Wonka, his eyes sparkling with glee. “You’d never guess that, not in a million years. Now listen. All you have to do is sprinkle it over your cereal at breakfast-time, pretending it’s sugar. Then you eat it. And then, exactly five seconds after that, you come out in bright red spots all over your face and neck.”
 
“What sort of a silly ass wants spots on his face at breakfast-time?” said Miranda Piker.
 
“Let me finish,” said Mr Wonka. “So then your mother looks at you across the table and says, ‘My poor child. You must have chickenpox. You can’t possibly go to school today.’ So you stay at home. But by lunch-time, the spots have all disappeared.”
 
“Terrific!” shouted Charlie. “That’s just what I want for the day we have exams!” “That is the ideal time to use it,” said Mr Wonka. “But you mustn’t do it too often or it’ll give the game away. Keep it for the really nasty days.”
 
“Father!” cried Miranda Piker. “Did you hear what this stuff does? It’s shocking! It mustn’t be allowed!” Mr Piker, Miranda’s father, stepped forward and faced Mr Wonka. He had a smooth white face like a boiled onion.
 
“Now see here, Wonka,” he said. “I happen to be the headmaster of a large school, and I won’t allow you to sell this rubbish to the children! It’s . . . criminal! Why, you’ll ruin the school system of the entire country!” “I hope so,” said Mr Wonka.
 
“It’s got to be stopped!” shouted Mr Piker, waving his cane.
“Who’s going to stop it?” asked Mr Wonka. “In my factory, I make things to please children. I don’t care about grown-ups.”
 
“I am top of my form,” Miranda Piker said, smirking at Mr Wonka. “And I’ve never missed a day’s school in my life.”
 
“Then it’s time you did,” Mr Wonka said.
 
“How dare you!” said Mr Piker.
 
“All holidays and vacations should be stopped!” cried Miranda. “Children are meant to work, not play.”
 
“Quite right, my girl,” cried Mr Piker, patting Miranda on the top of the head. “All work and no play has made you what you are today.”
 
“Isn’t she wonderful?” said Mrs Piker, beaming at her daughter.
 
“Come on then, Father!” cried Miranda. “Let’s go down into the cellar and smash the machine that makes this dreadful stuff!” “Forward!” shouted Mr Piker, brandishing his cane and making a dash for the little red door on which it said MOST SECRET — KEEP OUT.
 
“Stop!” said Mr Wonka. “Don’t go in there! It’s terribly secret!” “Let’s see you stop us, you old goat!” shouted Miranda.
 
“We’ll smash it to smithereens!” yelled Mr Piker. And a few seconds later the two of them had disappeared through the door.
 
There was a moment’s silence. Then, far off in the distance, from somewhere deep underground, there came a fearful scream.
 
“That’s my husband!” cried Mrs Piker, going blue in the face. There was another scream.
 
“And that’s Miranda!” yelled Mrs Piker, beginning to hop around in circles. “What’s happening to them? What have you got down there, you dreadful beast?” “Oh, nothing much,” Mr Wonka answered. “Just a lot of cogs and wheels and chains and things like that, all going round and round and round.”
 
“You villain!” she screamed. “I know your tricks! You’re grinding them into powder! In two minutes my darling Miranda will come pouring out of one of those dreadful pipes, and so will my husband!” “Of course,” said Mr Wonka. “That’s part of the recipe.”
 
“It’s what!” “We’ve got to use one or two schoolmasters occasionally or it wouldn’t work.”
 
“Did you hear him?” shrieked Mrs Piker, turning to the others. “He admits it! He’s nothing but a cold-blooded murderer!” Mr Wonka smiled and patted Mrs Piker gently on the arm. “Dear lady,” he said, “I was only joking.”
 
“Then why did they scream?” snapped Mrs Piker. “I distinctly heard them scream!” “Those weren’t screams,” Mr Wonka said. “They were laughs.”
 
“My husband never laughs,” said Mrs Piker.
 
Mr Wonka flicked his fingers, and up came an Oompa-Loompa.
 
“Kindly escort Mrs Piker to the boiler room,” Mr Wonka said. “Don’t fret, dear lady,” he went on, shaking Mrs Piker warmly by the hand. “They’ll all come out in the wash. There’s nothing to worry about. Off you go. Thank you for coming. Farewell! Goodbye! A pleasure to meet you!”
 
“Listen, Charlie!” said Grandpa Joe. “The Oompa-Loompas are starting to sing again!”
 
“Oh, Miranda Mary Piker!” sang the five Oompa-Loompas dancing about and laughing and beating madly on their tiny drums.
 
“Oh, Miranda Mary Piker,
How could anybody like her,
Such a priggish and revolting little kid.
So we said, ‘Why don't we fix her
In the Spotty-Powder mixer
Then we’re bound to like her better than we did.’
Soon this child who is so vicious
Will have gotten quite delicious,
And her classmates will have surely understood
That instead of saying, ‘Miranda!
Oh, the beast! We cannot stand her!’
They'll be saying, ‘Oh, how useful and how good!’ ”