By Frank F. Arson
“There is a fifth dimension, beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition. It lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination.” It is an area which we call: The Schweickert Zone.
In the small town of Mansfield, Washington at the corner of Treeside Ln and Lancaster Ave, 8-year-old Charlie Bronson quickly ran home to make his curfew. He reached the door and stopped for a second to catch his breath, taking in the cool breeze of the fall air sweeping over him; he quickly sped in through the living room to sit down at the dining table. Charlie’s mom cheerily walked into the dining room with a shiny silver platter that veiled the dinner for the night. A sudden rush of excitement swept through Charlie. Charlie called his family down to eat, as he sat trying to hold in the impulse to grab his meal and scarf it down. Coming sluggishly down the stairs, they sat down for dinner.
As Charlie sat eagerly for tonight’s feast to be uncovered, his family discussed plans for the next day with minimal intention to eat. Finally, the time had come, Charlie’s mom passed around the plates and reached to reveal the meal for the night. Charlie’s mom slowly raised the platter to uncover 4 bowls of toothpaste. Charlie gasped in shock, “toothpaste?” he questioned. His family ignored his question as they scrambled to grab the bowls and began to fork the toothpaste into their mouths. Hesitantly, Charlie grabbed the bowl and inspected it to make sure that it wasn’t actual food. His family ferociously gobbled up their bowls of toothpaste, ignoring Charlie’s requests for answers. As the family continued their meal, dinner continued as normal. Charlie continued to ask “toothpaste? for dinner?” The more he asked, the louder his family conversed. Charlie, feeling overlooked, abruptly got up from the table and stomped to the pantry. He swung open the door in search of real food; after the door creaked open, he discovered a shelf lined with rows and rows of toothpaste from floor to ceiling.
Charlie, now confused with what was going on, finally yelped “WHAT IS THIS MADNESS?” This time, he got his family’s attention. His family quickly stopped their conversation and turned their attention to Charlie. His family sat in shock, “What is it Charlie?” his mom kindly asked. “Wh- what is it? Why are we eating toothpaste, why is there only toothpaste in the pantry,” Charlie exclaimed. Charlie’s family looked at each other, then looked back at Charlie– “Why Charlie, we’ve had toothpaste for dinner every day since the military made it the rations 4 years ago? Did your forget son?” Charlie’s dad asked. “I must be going mad, is this some joke?” Charlie began to question why this was happening, for just yesterday he had a tv dinner with his family. “N-no, this must be a dream, there is no way we eat toothpaste for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. That’s madness.” This time his family’s concern turned into anger when his older brother abruptly stood up and said, “We eat toothpaste, we have to, you got a problem with it, bub?”
The truth is Charlie was quite the glutton, he always divulged in all the foods he had and only accepted the best foods. Now, that had all been taken away and been replaced with the bare minimum, it seems as if the tables have turned for him. He refused his dinner in hopes tomorrow would bring a real meal, it didn’t. The longer he went without food the quicker he spiraled into a manic state. He refused to eat and slowly but surely starved. As he refused to eat, his family grew more and more concerned. Eventually, they gave it one last attempt to have him eat, his refusal only led the family to force-feed him. Charlie decided not to ever eat toothpaste again after that experience.