• Jeff South

Cincinnati Chili: Pattern

Grover stepped into a room that looked as if it had been ordered direct from the Science Fiction Top Secret Lab Catalog. Microscopes, flasks, test tubes, and beakers adorned tall counters. He walked along a bank of laptops sitting on desks. The wall above them was a giant whiteboard covered with equations, scribbles, and diagrams. None of it made sense to Grover. The opposite wall was also a dry erase with a string of numbers and letters scrawled on it:

5, q, a, 9, 16, 17, v, 24, 43, e

He stared at the alphanumeric collection for several seconds under the delusion he could determine its meaning or decipher a pattern. This was the moment he realized he should’ve worked harder in school. A sense of defeat washed over his entire being. Why was he doing this? Even Charlamagne tha God couldn’t help him now. His mind wandered to the other Charlemagne, who was also useless in this moment.

Grover hung his head. Had his whole life been leading to this one humiliating moment of futility? Why did Gwen give him the Rube Goldberg Protocols if he couldn’t even find what he was looking for? He needed a sign. He threw his arms up in the air and released an audible sigh of frustration.

That is when he saw the sign. It was on the door of a refrigerator in the corner. A single sheet of paper with a message printed in Comic Sans font adored the front:


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