There once was a lowly Cheerio…

by admin on August 18, 2014

There once was a lowly Cheerio of the lowest caste in the box. Most people know nothing of the rigid caste society of the Cheerios, so I'll take some time to explain.

At the top of the box there's the ruling class, consisting of the Royal Family. These lucky Cheerios spend all their time in the warm daylight, frolicking about and enjoying the sun's rich energy.

Next, right under the royal family, is the Aristocrats. Sure, they have the weight of the Royal Family on top of them, but more than enough sunlight filters through and they have a pretty easy life. They even get invited up to enjoy lavish dinner parties with the Royal Family fairly often, and no one has any complaints about their way of life.

Under the Aristocrats, we have the members of the Clergy, the religious leaders of Cheerio society. The Clergy are a humble people, who feel they are greatly blessed by even the little tickle of sunlight they receive from their god through the, quite honestly, fat Aristocrat Cheerios. Despite all the weight they must carry from the well-fed Cheerios above, these good Cheerios manage to fill their days helping the needy Cheerios in the lower levels, advising Aristocrats and the Royal Family in their affairs, and of course worshiping their god.

Weighed down by the Royal Family, the Aristocrats, and the Clergy are the Merchants. The wealth of Merchant Cheerios varies greatly, but none are poor by any means. Sure, the weight of all those Cheerios above them can be a struggle, and it's usually fairly dark with no fully rays of sunshine reaching their level, but their complaints are mostly just for show and they enjoy their lives very much. They have servants from the lower levels to do most of their work, and have a lot of free time to socialize and enjoy life.

And let's not forget about the Artisans, who give rich life and culture to the Cheerio's box. While not the richest of the Cheerios, the Artisans are greatly respected for their handiwork. They are a very happy group of people, spending their days doing their craft, what they love. Some are bakers, some are carpenters, some even hand sew the Royal garments to be sent up to the first level. Everyone has a talent and everyone "fits" somewhere. Despite the darkness, it's quite a lovely class to be in.

Second to last, we have the Working class. The Workers are employed by the Merchants to run their shops, do their accounting, and work as servants in their households. It's almost pitch black down there, and all the other Cheerios are so heavy, so life can be a bit of a struggle. The greedy Merchants don't pay the Workers nearly enough, and most are lucky if they can make ends meat. Life is tough, but they somehow manage to get through it. This is the true heart of the Cheerio box. These Workers are stubborn and can band together to get through anything. This results in a very close-knit class where everyone knows each other's name and life history. For the few hours a day they're not working, they spend their time making the best of life. There's always dancing and great music all throughout the level to keep the spirits up.

And finally, in the deepest, darkest part of the box live the surfs. These poor Cheerios live in absolute darkness, never seeing a shred of light in their entire lives. They slave all day and all night with no rest, working in the fields and gathering resources for all the other classes. They have a miserable existence, and due to their harsh working conditions and the weight of all the other Cheerios on top of them they die at a very young age. Life is hopeless for them, and most eagerly await the day they collapse and never get back up, finally free from their life of toil.

But there was this one Cheerio from the Surf caste, who was a bit different from the others. He had hopes. He had dreams. "One day, I'm gonna make it to the top of the Cheerio box. One day, I'm gonna bask in the glorious sunlight." They all thought he was crazy. Everyone knows no Cheerio ever leaves his caste, not one. Eventually the other Cheerios avoided him. They refused to speak to him or even acknowledge his existence. His words were poison.

One day, the lowly Cheerio had it. Today was the day. He was gonna go to the top of the box. He tried and tried to push his way through, and eventually he noticed things weren't quite so pitch black. He was at the Working class level. Some other Cheerios gave him funny looks, as he was very dirty and mostly starved, but things had gotten so bad lately with the Merchants becoming more and more greedy that most took him as a sign of the times, life simply getting worse for the working class.

He was so excited. It was so easy! "Well, up to the next level" he giggled. He pushed up through more and more Cheerios, and finally as his eyes adjusted to the brightness he realized he had made it to the Artisan class. Nobody gave him any looks here. Everyone in the Artisan class has a skill or talent, and by his looks he must be some eccentric artist or inventor. Nobody even paid attention to him.

Why hadn't he done this sooner? It just kept getting easier! At this rate he would make it to the sun before it set for sure! Motivation higher than ever, the lowly Cheerio pushed through Cheerios at top speed, dodging and weaving left and right, until it was definitely a lot brighter in there. He looked around, and he was in the Merchant level. As he looked around at the state of the Cheerios here, his heart began to sink. "I'll never pass for a Merchant. They'll catch me and throw me back down to the bottom of the box with the rest of the Surfs." But as he looked around a little more, he noticed the servants from the Working class. The others in the Working class didn't seem to notice, why should these servants? He spend a little time watching their mannerisms and how they acted around the Merchants just to make sure he wouldn't be found out, then proceeded through the Merchant level. He knew if he could remember to bow to every passing Merchant and just stay out of their way, he would make it.

And sure enough, he did. Practically unnoticed, he slowly made it all the way through the level until he felt something strange. Something he had never felt before. He looked up, and it was a tiny ray of sunshine. He couldn't believe it! But with this one small taste, he knew he needed more. Now he couldn't stop, he wouldn't stop. He would bask in the sunlight at the top of the box.

A concerned Clergyman noticed the lowly Cheerio and asked him why he was all the way up there in the Clergy level. The lowly Cheerio explained to the Clergyman about his harsh life and of his dream to be bathed in the sunlight. The Clergyman took pity on the lowly Cheerio and told him a secret. "You will never make it past the Aristocrats," said the Clergyman. "You are a sore to their eyes, you will be sent down to the depths of the box. But there is a way…" The Clergyman explained to the lowly Cheerio that if he went to one of the very corners of the box and climbed up that way, he may escape the eyes of the Aristocrats and be able to skip that level altogether. "You must be very quick," warned the Clergyman.

The lowly Cheerio looked up at the tiny ray of sunshine once more, and he was ready. He was pumped. He would see the sun today! The Clergyman lead him to the nearest corner, blessed him, and sent him on his way. His desire fueling him, the lowly Cheerio ran as fast as he could up the corner of the box. Nothing could slow him down. The sun was calling his name!

Suddenly, the lowly Cheerio was in pain. His head was on fire! He was blinded by such brilliant light that he thought he must have died and gone to heaven. After what seemed like ages he was able to open his eyes, and the tears started to fall.

It was beautiful. The magnificent, glorious sun, shining it's radiance upon the Royal Family and all the upper-level Cheerios that had been invited to their annual Royal Picnic. Here was happiness, here was pure joy. The sun, with all its love and warmth welcomed all who were there, and everyone was enraptured by it. Nobody cared that the lowly Cheerio was dirty. Nobody cared that he was emaciated. The sun was shining in all its glory and all was right with the world.

But almost as good as the sun was the magnificent food! Only the best is presented at the Royal Picnic, and after a lifetime of eating nothing but dust he had to try everything!

But what should he eat first? It was all set up very logically, with one station for each type of food, and a long line of Cheerios formed in front of each one. As he was going to try some of everything anyway, he just chose the closest line. The sign read "Popcorn." Oh, man, he'd heard about popcorn. This was going to be amazing! After a while in line he finally made it to the front and was handed a giant bucket of freshly popped popcorn. It seemed it was all gone within seconds, and it was the best food he had ever eaten.

But he had been in line for a long time, the sun was beating down on him, and he had just scarfed down an entire bucket of popcorn. He was really thirsty. He searched the signs all throughout the level to find something to drink. There was a line for steak, a line for candy, a line for salad, potatoes, soup, bread, lasagna, egg rolls, everything you could imagine except…

There was no punchline.

submitted by like-the-wind
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