Ben eyes

Charles Edward Eastridge came to us a disgruntled, shameful excuse for a man. The year was 1995. He’d been using our woodpile as a crude home apparently sustaining himself off of the things he found in his long unkempt mane. His, recently divorced, wife and children had been viciously murdered by ruff and tumble, all around bad guy, the Black Skull a few years back and ever since he had been unable to put his life back together (mostly due to bureaucratic mumbo jumbo). Unable to prove that the little pieces of deformed carcass splattered on his mudroom floor were in fact the remains of his family (before their bodies were hauled off to the recycling center to be made into compost) he has been forever cursed to pay child support for his kids that aren’t even alive. When we found him he’d been pulling doubles at the Continental Bakery™ outlet but was still forced out of his house due to the child support bills, and his incessant gambling problems, that didn’t help either. Then Interstate Bakery Co.™ came to town and bought out the outlet factory store. They said they were going to “rearrange” things to make the company “more efficient”. They just so happened to “rearrange” poor Charlie right out of a job. The reason given on his pink slip read that his hair was “out of control” and he should really “do something about it”. His severance package was nothing more then a vitamin enriched loaf of Wonder™ bread with a blue tag on it marking that it was made on Monday. Blue Monday.

It was about that time that some pretty spooky stuff started happening down at the Interstate Baker Co.™ outlet.

Desperate, cold, hungry, alone, abused, debt pilling up, and not an iota of self-respect left in his meager body is how we found him, which of course made him A grade material for the job. Well, a job that is. Willing to do just about anything for a buck or a warm meal we’d make him roll around on hot coals with ping pong balls strapped to him. Boy would that make us laugh as they’d pop and leave the most fascinating scars. Baxter Black used to find especially cruel and unusual acts of self mutilation for Mr. Eastridge and still to this day they find new and fascinating ways to hate each other. At some point in time he was promoted to just barely out-rank the foosball table. Devoid of emotion, and almost incapable of feeling pain anymore, he made for a great human shield. It was also about this time that everyone started calling him Chico, although no one can really remember why. Maybe it had something to do with that song “Rico Suavé”, who knows.

Through all of this he kept that loaf of bread. He’d sometimes turn to you and say, with a kind of glazed over expression, “You know they put more than just Wonder™ in that bread, don’t you?”

Because he had an amazing ability to not die, unlike many of our employees, he gradually started to climb the ranks. It was around 2002 when Jim Rage himself showed interest in Chico’s web design hobby he’d taken up recently that he really began to get noticed. Employing some ninth graders from the Blue Springs Academy to write the content, a pretty nifty website was whipped up in no time at all. After finding an abandoned top hat at a particularly tragic senior prom we’d been called to Chico was given the nickname “The Mad Hatter”, due to his often manic, uncoordinated nature. The Mad Hatter has a sort of blunt way of dealing with things and it is no small surprise that his tool of choice is the sledge hammer.

The day the call came in, it was as if he had been expecting it.

In 2004 The Interstate Bakery Co.™ had inexplicably become infested with a strange variant of zombie. Their calcium enriched bones made them strong as oxen and their bodies were so stuffed with preservatives that there was no noticeable decay. When we arrived on the scene we immediately began disposing of the infestation per usual. Rye Crofter made a joke about how disappointed he was that they didn’t come pre-sliced as he dismembered a zombie with his sharp knife. Everyone thought that was pretty funny. The Mad Hatter was more stoic however. He demanded that he be the only one inside the factory. Claiming that he was the only one who knew the layout inside and the more cryptic “I’ve seen things in there that would make a sane man cry for mercy. You’d have to be mad to go in there.” Sometime later we were cleaning up. Rye Crofter made a joke about how we should feed them to pigeons. That made everybody chuckle. Suddenly the factory store became engulfed in a giant, orange, fireball. The Mad Hatter emerged from the wreckage unwilling to divulge much of how he had escaped or what had happened inside other than a few off hand remarks about how flammable Twinkies™ are. This act of reckless property destruction brought him into the fold of the inner circle of management. Although the name “The Mad Hatter” isn’t really used in conversation much and often times he looses the hat for months at a time, the moniker just seems to fit, like a hat on his head.

In more recent history The Mad Hatter has done something about his hair and is still tracking down that son of a bitch who killed his wife and family so that he can stop paying child support.