It was time for old Charlie to pick the next child to take over the chocolate factory just as Willy Wonka had done with him. Here we go, he thought, putting on his orange pants, his purple jacket, and his 3 foot tall top hat. Charlie hadn’t been spotted publicly in decades. 

I’ll do it the same as ol’ Willy did it for us, reviewed Charlie in his head, about to walk out the front door of the factory. I’ll pretend I need this here cane, walk to the gate with a horrible limp, accidentally drop the cane, start falling forward, almost land on my face, and then at the last moment I’ll turn the fall into a perfect somersault. The crowd’ll go wild, and everyone will realize I’m a spry and clever trickster of an old man. 

Charlie opened the creaky purple door and stepped out into the daylight. As he began to walk with his fake limp, his fake hunch, and his fake cane, the large crowd of chattering onlookers quickly fell silent.

    Heheh, thought Charlie, walking at a painfully slow speed towards the gate. They really think I’m a decrepit rickety old man.

    After two minutes of slowly limping forward, Charlie reached the spot where he would “accidentally” drop his cane. 

    Charlie let go of the walking stick and took two quick steps forward without it. He stopped in his tracks and cartoonishly looked around as if to confirm with his eyes that he really had lost his cane. Charlie shot his eyes towards the crowd with an exaggerated look of horror, and then he started to tip himself forward, leaning into the staged fall. 

    I’ve got to time this juuuust right, thought Charlie. He couldn’t help but crack the tiniest smile as the audience started gasping in panic. Charlie counted out the timing in his head. One wonka bar. Two wonka bar. Charlie fell closer and closer to the ground, ready to roll into the somersault in an instant. Three wonka bar. Four wonka bar. Charlie fell face first into the pavement, completely missing the somersault.

    “OWW!” he shouted, writhing on the ground. “OW! OH GOD! OWW!” Charlie’s teeth were everywhere. “Don’t look, kids! Look away!”

    Unsure of how to react, most of the audience remained silent, but some offered confused applause, assuming this was part of a pre-planned Wonka-esque gag.  

    “I need help,” said Charlie. “I can’t, agh. Yeah, agh, I definitely can’t stand. I think I messed up my spine.”

    Charlie rolled over onto his back so he was lying upwards facing the sky.

    “Where’s the five kids with the gold tickets?” asked Charlie. “I can’t move. Send them here. Come here. Gather around my body.”

    The five lucky children approached Charlie. 

    “Mr. Bucket,” eeked out Harry Twixt, a scrappy orphan boy who found his golden ticket in a trash can. “I just want to say that I love this factory and your candy more than anything else in the whole wide–”

    “Shut up. Just shut up, ok? Agh. I’m in so much pain right now, kids. Just be quiet for a second.” Charlie took a few minutes to breathe while the children silently watched him. “Okay. Yeah, I can’t–I can’t do this chocolate factory tour, folks. It’s Harry. The orphan kid. The rest of you should go home. Harry, call me an ambulance. Here’s the keys to the factory. It’s yours.”