Disclaimer: Willy Wonka and his wonderful world (including any and all Buckets) do not belong to me!

Fishing

-Catspook

Charlie inhaled deeply, letting the wondrous scent of the chocolate room fill his nose and mouth. Like he did every morning, Charlie thanked his lucky stars that his family's little, ramshackle house had been moved from the deserted field at the end of the lane to the center of Willy Wonka's spectacular chocolate factory.

Charlie poked his head out of the hole in the roof above his bed (even though Willy had caught him doing it once and told him that he liked like a groundhog) in order to determine how early it was. The ceiling of the chocolate room mimicked the sky outside, and Charlie could tell by the weak, gray light that it was just about dawn. Charlie was about to lie back down and grab a couple more hours of sleep, when he noticed Willy sitting on the bridge, his swinging legs dangling 30 ft above the chocolate river. Excited to see what Willy could be up to this early on a Saturday morning, Charlie quickly threw on some clothes and crept out of the house, careful not to wake his parents or grandparents.

As he approached the chocolatier, Charlie noticed something odd about his mentor. Not to say that Willy Wonka wasn't always a little odd (or a lot odd, depending on how open-minded one was about such things), but today Willy seemed odder than usual. For one thing, Willy wasn't wearing any shoes or socks. His trousers were rolled up to mid-calf and his shirt sleeves to his elbows, and Charlie could clearly see that the man's arms and legs were just as pale as his face (Charlie could only assume that Wonka's hands were equally as pale, but he was, predictably, still wearing his purple, latex gloves). Additionally, instead of his regular top-hat, Willy was wearing what looked like a straw had, except it was bright red and Charlie would swear it was woven out of cherry licorice. Finally, he was holding a long red and white striped pole, and Charlie could swear that Willy was fishing with it. Fishing, in his prized chocolate river!

"What are you doing?" Charlie called out, as he jogged up the bridge towards his mentor.

"Fishing!" Willy declared with a brilliant grin.

Charlie finally reached the apex of the bridge and looked down. "There are fish in the chocolate river?"

Willy laughed. "Of course not! I couldn't sell it if there were fish swimming in it! Can you imagine tuna-flavored fudge or salmon-scrumdiddlyumptious bars? Ew!"

"Then what are you fishing for?"

"Why, for chocolate, of course!"

"How do you fish for chocolate?"

"Like this!" Wonka declared proudly, and reeled in his line. Sure enough, a lump of gooey chocolate was hanging off the end. Willy pulled the line closer and removed the lump of chocolate, placing it on a metal try with several other lumps. Charlie recognized the tray as one of the quick-cooling trays from the inventing room, which could solidify melted chocolate at record speeds.

"How do you get the chocolate to clump like that?" Charlie asked.

"With bait of course," Willy replied, smiling enigmatically.

Charlie grinned. "What kind of bait?"

"Worms!"

"Worms?!" Charlie exclaimed. Charlie knew that Wonka had eaten caterpillars during his travels to Loompa-Land, but he could not believe that his fastidiously clean mentor was dipping worms into the chocolate river! Then again, Willy did have the tendency to surprise one, and not always pleasantly.

"Yeah!" Willy replied, "When you go fishing, you have to use worms as bait, everybody knows that. Of course," Willy continued as he reached into the small bucket beside him, "when you fish for chocolate, you need to fish with candy worms." And Willy opened his purple-gloved had to reveal a Goody-Gumdrop Wonka Worm.

Charlie stared as Wonka threaded the worm onto the hook, continuing his lecture. "Now remember, Charlie, when you fish for chocolate, you need to use a bait with a textured surface that the chocolate can stick to, which is why I'm using gumdrop worms instead of regular gummy worms. You cast the line like so," and the gumdrop worm sailed through the air to land in the river with a small 'plop'. "Let it sit for a minute, then reel it in nice and slow. It's important to go slow, because the chocolate will loose its grip on the bait if you do it too quickly, And there is nothing worse than a gumdrop worm covered with not enough chocolate early in the morning," Willy finished, looking at Charlie quite seriously.

Charlie nodded, blushing in embarrassment. He really should have known that Willy would never have dipped real worms into the chocolate river. "Can I have a go at it?"

"Sure," Wonka replied brightly, reeling in his 'catch'. "It's terribly easy. I've cast my line nine times this morning, and caught something every time. Hey look!" Willy grinned, as his worm broke the surface of the river. "I did it again!"

The End