When the mood strikes (vending machine edition)

The mystery vending machine had become even more mysterious. For years, it had served up cans of obscure, foreign or (at times) discontinued brands of soda to those brave enough to insert a coin into it. No one knew where the money went, who refilled the machine or from whence the outlandish soda cans came, but nevertheless it had been a reliable source of unexpected delights for those in the know. The mystery machine had a small cult following who mostly accepted its gifts in grateful equanimity, keeping a lid on the enigma so as to not overburden their unknown benefactors. A few sought to discover who was behind this elusive dispensary of Eleusinian mysteries, but to no avail; not even the most donut-saturated of stakeouts revealed anything. One time, a vending enthusiast received a bog standard can of Coke, to much concern and consternation among those in the know

All this was accepted as the natural order of things until the mystery intensified. One morn, instead of the usual seemingly random can of pop, something completely different emerged from the unknown interior of the machine. It was, suitably enough, a paradox, something both rectangular and circular, a squared circle of confoundment. What the machine ejected on that morn was nothing else but a CD with mood music from 1997. Subsequent attempts at purchasing a refreshing can resulted in even more mood music CDs, featuring an abundance of pan flutes, wind chimes and no fewer than five different whales. At length, the machine ran out of these blasts from a very specific past, and returned to its usual programming of vaguely Slavic brands, Trocaderos and the occasional crystal Pepsi

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