It hurt the way your tongue hurts after you accidentally staple it to the wall. Exactly like that, in fact. What  I’d been thinking about, buying flavored staples, was beyond me, but there I was in OfficeMax, and I saw this box.  “NEW!” it said. “A revolution in paper collation!” it called. “Fruit Flavored Staples!” it pracitcally screamed to me. I had never tasted a staple, but I could only imagine that they tasted something like paper clips – you know, slightly metallic, bad for the teeth, pointy and painful if not placed correctly inside the mouth. And here was this product purporting to have changed at least the taste (I couldn’t imagine that they could change the pointiness or the hardness without making them, well, less staple-y, but I thought “baby steps,” and decided right then and there to buy them.

I grabbed a box marked “Luscious Lemon” and headed up to the counter. The clerk was totally  uninterested in anything, bored, slack-jawed, and drooling. But when he saw the flavored staples, his eyes lit up like the phone banks at a radio station right after the host says something controversial. “Whoa, dude. Those look totally cool. Have you ever had one?” He had the vocal intonations of Sean Penn in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, but without the intelligence or insight into the human condition.

“No, can’t say I have. But who could resist?” I mean, I couldn’t, so who indeed?

“Not me, man. You gonna eat them now?”

“After I pay for them, I may try one on the way to work.”

“Dude, screw that. Let’s start snarfing!” I was thinking that he could just walk back to the display and get some of his own, but apparently that thought was beyond his capabilities. He was just tearing open the box, anyway, so at this point I just went with it. I didn’t have anything important to staple that morning, so it wasn’t really an inconvenience.

My new friend did have some manners, at least, and offered me the first taste. I broke off one staple and sniffed it – nothing, but I wasn’t sure that meant anything, so I put it in my mouth. Still nothing. Well, it was sharp and pointy, and not easy to chew, but no lemon. I took it out of my mouth and explained what I was tasting. He didn’t believe me, and just stuck a whole bunch in his mouth. His overwhelming brainpower didn’t stop him from almost choking on a staple, but he agreed – no lemon.

At this point, I was baffled, and just about to give up, when I heard a soft voice behind me say “Excuse me, but are those flavored staples?”

I turned around, and standing there was the most beautiful woman in the world, looking up at me with great big brown eyes filled with her unanswered question. In her hand she was holding a box, and something about it compelled me to look more closely. Maybe it was because she was holding the box between her breasts, or maybe it was the label on the box – “Flavored Staple Activating Staple Gun. For use with standard flavored staples”.

“I got this as a gift from someone, but I don’t have any flavored staples. Frankly, I didn’t know there was such a thing, but then I came here and found you.” She paused, obviously captivated by me, and unsure of how to continue. “Would…could you try to put your staples in my staple gun and see if it works?”

“But of course.” I gently pried a strip of staples away from Cletus the clerk and handed them to her as she opened her box. Her staple gun was bright yellow, the perfect color for lemon flavored staples. A spark jumped between us as she handed the staple gun over to me, and I think that, more than anything, led to the silliness that ensued.

I excitedly loaded the staple gun, and as I closed it up, I thought I could smell the faint scent of lemons. I
held the gun over the counter and gently pulled back on the release handle to shoot out a staple. I picked it up from the counter and quickly put it in my mouth, and, lo and behold! Lemon! The flavor went away quickly, though, but it was special. Each of my companions now wanted to try, so I shot out staples for each of them, and we shared the magic. We all had big smiles on our faces, and I was so distracted by my new discovery and the woman next to me that I didn’t notice that I had backed into the wall or that the clerk was holding the gun, saying something in a loud but unclear voice. When I finally caught it, I heard but didn’t comprehend “Maybe we need to taste these things right after they come out of the gun! Open your mouth!”

I did, almost in surprise, and never noticed his hand coming up with the staple gun. The woman smiled at me, and my head hit the wall just as the clerk brought the staple gun to my mouth. There was a collision, and then all of a sudden, my tongue was stapled to the wall. It hurt a lot, but, ohhh, lemon.