A/N: My friend and I wrote this together, in one afternoon, in Forest Park, leaning against the wall of the St. Louis Art Museum. Because she had suggested we write a story together, and when I asked "what about?" she said "sentient cereal boxes." I know she hates author's notes, but I thought that said a lot about the story.

The Meaning of Cereal

-By E. A. Weatherfield and Mdme. Callista Rayfield-

In an ordinary cupboard, in an ordinary neighborhood, somewhere in the continental U. S., three ordinary cereal boxes are engaged in an extraordinary occupation.

"They'll pick me today," Count Chocula informs Frosted Flakes in a self-important manner.

"They won't pick you," Cheerios scoffs, "they're on a diet. They want something that will lower their cholesterol, not induce a sugar coma."

"Sugar comas," Frosted Flakes sings, "are more than good…Theeeeyy're life-threatening!"

"What is life?" the bread muses from two shelves down.

"Nobody asked you, Rye!"

"Life is the interval of time between one's emergence into the world and one's exit from this feeble existence," Cheerios condescends to inform the others.

"Life makes my plastic bag—NOW 35 PERCENT BIGGER—hurt," Frosted Flakes complains.

"Life is counting to infinity and back to one again," Count Chocula states, looking satisfied.

"That's inconceivable!" Cheerios protests.

"Chuck Norris can uninconcievableize it," says Frosted Flakes serenely.

"That's not a"—but Count Chocula cuts Cheerios off.

"Perhaps," he proclaims, "Chuck Norris is the meaning of life."

"Chuck Norris can't be the meaning of life!" snaps Cheerios. "That would be completely preposterous!"

"Then what is the meaning of life?" Frosted Flakes wonders.

"Forty-two," replies the popcorn.

"That's plagiarism!" yells Cheerios.

"Guys, I'm serious," Frosted Flakes complains.

"Alright. Seriously," Count Chocula concedes, "life is about how you die."

"So," says Cheerios smugly, "by your reasoning, our life is about having our insides eaten bit by bit and finally – when nothing is left – being thrown in the RECYCLING BIN? REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE!?"

"THAT'S NOT WHAT I SAID!" Count Chocula retorts. "The meaning of one's life is revealed in the way one dies."

"So…to figure out what our life is all about," Frosted Flakes recaps, "We have to…die?"

"According to our lord and master," says Cheerios sarcastically, glaring at the Count insofar as that is possible, "yes."

"That's ironic," the toaster mumbles.

"What's irony?" wonders Frosted Flakes.

"That's what they use to press their shirts," Count Chocula proclaims with a michevious grin.

"Irony," Cheerios proclaims, "Is difference between what one expects and what really happens."

"I want to die being eaten by a stripper." Frosted Flakes muses.

"That might be difficult to achieve, considering no strippers live in this home!" Cheerios snaps in a shocked tone.

"How do you know?" whines Frosted Flakes. "Have you seen that Junior? He might have some connections…"

"You're so flakey," Cheerios attempts to retort.


"Guys," Count Chocula interrupts, "How are we gonna discover the meaning of life?"

"I thought the meaning of life was to die," says a very confused Frosted Flakes.

"No," corrects Count Chocula, "that's how you find the meaning of life."

"So," says Frosted Flakes, sounding awed, "the discoverer of the meaning of life will have to die to find it. What a hero he would be!"

"I'll do it, Frosted Flakes!" Cheerios proclaims boldly. "In the name of science, I will sacrifice my being! Boldly going where no breakfast food has gone before, I shall gladly offer up my"—

"Shh!" whispers Count Chocula, "they're coming!"

A hand reaches up and defiantly grasps Count Chocula, readying to eat the last of his contents.

"Damn it," Cheerios mutters as the hand slides the cupboard closed.

And so ends the first-ever philosophical discussion between entities of cardboard, plastic, and high-fructose corn syrup.