Camilla Katrina Camarillo was an impulse buyer, but more importantly she was obsessed with infomercials.
Camilla was a thirty-five year old woman with jet black wavy hair and a thin figure. She had two large bright brown eyes, which shone with an intensity of self-confidence. She had every reason to be confident. She was beautiful. She owned her own house on Park Court, which was painted a lovely ocean blue (a color she had chosen). She had a respectable job as a translator at her local elementary school. Plus, she was dating the man of her dreams, Dominic Ramirez.
Yes, life was going her way.
On the quiet Sunday morning, our story begins, Camilla was mindlessly flicking through her TV. She was bored, and as per usual there was nothing interesting to watch on a drab day like Sunday.
Camilla hated Sundays.
She was just considering snuggling up on her couch to read a book when she remembered the infomercial channels she had discovered last month.
Camilla had been sick with the flu a month ago, and had spent two weeks stuck in bed watching TV. It was then she had discovered that her cable service had entire channels devoted to infomercials, and she had gotten sucked in. In just a week she had ordered: a perfect egg maker, three different types of extendable scrubbers, a hybrid vacuum and mop, two sets of indestructible snack containers, a robotic umbrella that could talk, a purse that was able to become three different styles when turned inside out, two automated sprinklers that created designs with the water, and three fast healing ointment plants that apparently came from Taiwan.
Dominic had been horrified as all the packages began to arrive, but she reassured him she would pay off the credit card debt. He had made her promise to wait a bit before ordering anything else, he knew how she was with shopping.
Camilla sat there for a moment contemplating with the remote in her hand. Then, with a sly smile, she clicked over to the channels.
She flicked through infomercials about special grills and air fryers, with mild interest, and then she heard,
“That’s right folks! It allows you to bottle self confidence!”
Camilla leaned in with curiosity.
“It’s called Aplomb! I’m George Henderson and this is how you stock up confidence with Aplomb.”
George Henderson was a wide beefy man with black hair and a handlebar mustache. He was wearing a tank top, and he looked like a body builder. George was standing behind a counter in a immaculately clean kitchen, and upon the counter was a bright green machine that resembled that of a juicer. On the top of the machine was a long white tube that wrapped around the side, and upon the end was a large suction cup.
“It’s quite simple,” George was saying as he unwound the tube from the side. “All you need is a healthy supply of pure self confidence flowing inside your mind. Then you take the siphon.” He held up the suction cup so the viewers could clearly see it. “And place it on your temple.” He stuck it on the side of his face, and with a quick pop it stuck securely to his skin. “Monks in China had already discovered this particular fountain of energy, as they call it, and now with Aplomb we can harvest it. It’s completely painless, all you can feel is a slight sucking.” A bright green liquid had begun to flow from his head and was carried back to the machine where it was deposited in a clear container.
“Now, I know what you are thinking,” George said as he unhooked the siphon from his head. “How can this be safe? What about germs? What about diseases passed through bodily fluids?” George moved down the table to a dissembled Aplomb machine. He picked up a round complex mechanism. “This is the Cleanser-X, a scientist engineered filter designed to safely remove any germs and bacteria. It works perfectly to remove any harmful substances as you harvest your own self confidence. Now you can share that confidence with your friends who feel useless, or a significant other who doesn’t think they are worth your time. Plus, Aplomb is only $19.99,” an automated voice added, plus shipping and handling, but Camilla never paid attention to that.
“But order in the next ten minutes,” George continued, “And we will drop the price to just $9.99! That’s right folks, just $9.99! And we will throw in the portable Aplomb for free, for self-confidence booster emergencies!”
Camilla had her cell phone in hand in less than a second and was dialing the number.
Three days later her Aplomb arrived in a bright green box.
Dominic was not amused as she unboxed it in the kitchen. He read the box suspiciously. “There is no way this works,” he said, frustrated. “I don’t understand why you buy this useless stuff!”
Camilla shushed him as she placed her Aplomb upon the counter and laid out the instruction manual. It came fully assembled, just as the box excitingly proclaimed.
“You wasted your money,” Dominic said, annoyed at being shushed.
“I have plenty of self-confidence,” Camilla said after reading the surprisingly easy instructions. “If it’s going to work on anyone it will be me!”
Dominic couldn’t argue there. He had fallen in love with her because of her confidence. Now, after eight years of being together, he realized it was a blind confidence. If she believed this machine worked there was no stopping her, even after it proved it didn’t.
Camilla picked up the siphon, cleared her mind, and focused on the one thing that made her most confident: shopping. Then she placed the suction cup to her temple, and pressed the secure button. With a pop it was on, and soon a bright green liquid was being sucked into the clear container in her machine.
“That’s disgusting,” Dominic said leaning closer to get a better look. “What are you going to do with it?”
Camilla hadn’t thought about that, and for a moment there was a disrupt in the flow of confidence. Then it hit her.
Camilla had attempted for the last two years to perfect her baking. The results were disastrous. She finally opted for boxed bake goods, and her main focus had been brownies.
The container was full. She removed the suction cup from her face and explained excitedly, “I’m going to put them in my brownies!”
“What?” Dominic cried horrified. “You can’t put that in people’s food!”
Camilla opened the instruction to the section on the Cleanser-X and handed him the booklet. He read it suspiciously.
Camilla wasted no time in whipping up a fresh batch of brownies, and before popping it in the oven she added her fresh self-confidence.
Over the next six months Camilla made brownies constantly.
They were a hit!
She made them for her coworkers at school and they were eaten up before lunchtime. Even women like Jessica Wilson, who never talked to Camilla, were coming into the office to rave about how delicious they were.
She brought them to any and every doctors appointments, and when she arrived the receptionists would say with excitement, “We saw you were on the schedule! Did you bring us brownies?” Then she would smile and respond by handing them a heaping plate.
Camilla forced Dominic to take some to his work, and a week later he was taking them every Sunday. His co-workers even confessed that they switched shifts, just so they could have brownies.
Then one day, a year later, as Camilla was taking four freshly baked pans out of the oven, her doorbell rang.
Dominic answered it.
“Dominic,” came a high shrill voice from the living room, “How have you been? I was just popping in to see how Camilla’s doing, and if she has any more of those tasty brownies.”
Camilla came out of the kitchen to find Jessica Wilson standing in her entryway.
“The nerve of that woman,” Camilla thought. “She never wants to talk to me and now she is here at my house for brownies.” Camilla had no idea Jessica knew where she lived.
“Camilla!” Jessica screamed as she saw her. “Do you have anymore brownies?”
Camilla was just considering telling the horrid woman off, when suddenly another woman came through the door. Dominic was pushed out of the way as he was in the process of closing the door. It was Patricia Hall, a fourth grade teacher, and following closely behind her were more people. In fact it was the school’s entire staff. Even Mandy Cook, the principal, was there.
“What are you all doing here?” Camilla went to ask, but they were all advancing towards her.
“Do you have anymore brownies?” they all were asking.
More people were still coming inside. The receptionist from her doctors offices were trooping in together, still wearing their work clothes.
Dominic had moved away from the door, and was looking out the front window.
“My boss is coming up the driveway!” he cried, “And all my co-workers!”
At this point the house was too full and people were stuck outside.
Camilla had been pushed all the way back to the kitchen. She took a stance as her back hit the door.
“Now listen here!” she cried. “I’ll bring you all brownies, but you have to wait out here!”
The crowd shoved forward in protest. Camilla enthusiastically pushed against Jessica moving the line back, but there were too many of them. So, instead, in one quick motion, she dashed through the kitchen door, shutting it just in time. With haste, she barricaded the door as best she could.
Even in her fright, Camilla couldn’t help but feel somewhat flattered. It was almost like being famous. She ignored the hammering upon the kitchen door and turned her attention to the freshly baked brownies. She set to work and cut them smaller in order to feed so many people. She also placed four new batches into the oven.
Once the brownies were all laid out nicely upon two large trays, she removed the barricades and opened the door.
What followed was a stampede of human beings.
The door was completely ripped from its hinges. There was a roar of angry voices, like an army charging into battle, and they advanced on Camilla brutally. Everything in the kitchen was deemed in the way. The kitchen table was tipped over, the chairs flung aside until they were broken to bits. Cabinets were torn open and their contents dumped all over the floor in a desperate search for brownies.
Camilla, who had scrambled for dear life upon the sink counter, had dropped the two trays and was now attempting to climb up to the top of her refrigerator.
The two trays were soon found, and even though the brownies were trampled upon, the people who discovered them flung themselves upon the floor, and began to stuff as much chocolate as they could into their mouths.
As soon as people realized that brownies had been found they began to fight each other for them. Punches were thrown, hair was pulled, faces and arms were scratched, and soon blood was mixed into the rich chocolate.
“They are tearing apart the house!” Dominic yelled from the living room. Camilla could barely hear him over the screams. As soon as he had said this there was a loud crash as the front windows were shattered. There came the sound of loud footsteps upon the roof, and a constant banging as though someone where hitting the roof with a shovel.
From her vantage point upon the fridge, Camilla could see out into the backyard. There were people scaling the fence. They dashed madly to the sliding back door and leaped through the glass into the kitchen to join the row.
Once the trays were devoured, the people sniffed out the brownies in the oven, like animals. They tore open the door, and careless of the hot pans, they ripped them greedily out of the oven. These brownies were nothing more than chocolate syrup but they ate it nonetheless. The sticky hot liquid ran down their faces scorching their skin and fingers, but still they kept eating.
The kitchen was full of the smells of burning flesh and chocolate.
The people started eating it off each other, biting ravenously into flesh. They wanted every last drop.
Then it was all gone.
The other six boxes of brownie mix that Camilla had bought lay discarded upon the floor, uneaten. They lacked the siphoned self-confidence that the people were craving. Now that they had gorged themselves upon self-confidence their noses had become in-tuned to what they wanted. They stopped fighting and began to sniff around the kitchen.
Their noses led them to Camilla who, from on top of the refrigerator, stared down at them in horror. She was the source. In another screaming fight they got her down. It took them less than five minutes, and they had eaten her bones and all.
Article #32 of the instruction manual of Aplomb.
Be careful how you distribute your self confidence. Too much to one person is not pure self-confidence, but praise. Praise is not fulfilling and can be highly addictive.
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