Sales Order Processing; or, the empty mug of the coffee drunk aforethewhile (part one: to form the constrained, disordered thoughts into coherent text rather than scattered light)

I now turn myself to my mug, my coffee mug, although it is really more of a cup than a mug, and it is not exclusively used to port coffee. Indeed, the cup seems designed for hot chocolate rather than tea or coffee, for it has 'Maltesers(r)' emblazoned on the side. The humble cup is an interesting vehicle for creative expression, closely related to the urns and pots with which the ancient Greek whiled away his time. The circular design of the pot lends itself to linear storytelling, in either a clockwise or widdershins rotation. Furthermore, the cyclic nature of the unbroken ring - punctuated only by the handle - is ideal for portraying recurrent events. And, as students of history would no doubt agree, all events recur, eventually. History itself is not so much a study as an act, an act of recurrence, of repeating the past. An event or thought which is unique cannot be remembered without destroying its uniqueness, for remembrance is repetition. TANGERINE DREAM.

Maltesers are a British chocolate sweet. They are spherical pellets of roughly the bore diameter of a 16 gauge shotgun. They consist of a honeycomb interior covered in a layer of chocolate, and have been around forever and will continue thus. I have no idea if they are actually a British invention, or if they are a successful American import, or whether they are sold outside the United Kingdom, and I do not care to find out. I believe they involve some kind of malt - I have not yet received a satisfactory explanation as to the definition of 'malt' - and might once have been sold as a laxative, hence the name. Many of the sweets and soft drinks which we consume as entertainment nowadays were once sold as an aid to digestion, or as a cure for all kinds of ailments. I conclude this paragraph by speculating that, in the future, people might quaff Benelyn and other cough medicines for recreational purposes, perhaps even morphine and cannabis and so forth. It might happen.

The Malteser mug is also blessed with a drawing of a frog, a drawing of a bear, and a drawing of some Maltesers. Turning the mug counter-clockwise, the frog sits on the 'left', the bear sits on the 'right' (only his head and neck are visible) whilst Maltesers float between the two creatures. Both the frog and the bear have their mouths open, the bear's tongue lolling out; they are both looking at me. The story these pictures tell is ambiguous. It appears as if the frog and the bear have been caught in the act of eating the Maltesers, the frog in particular looking very worried. Alternatively, they could be waiting for me to approve that they eat the Maltesers.

Looked at in another way, it seems as if the bear is cascading Maltesers out of his mouth, into the mouth of the frog, and that they have been interrupted in this intimate exchange. Both bear and frog are sufficiently cartoonish, sufficiently Hana-Barbera-ish, to obviate sexual connotations, although one struggles to imagine how a frog and a bear could have a sexual life in any case. Although the animal kingdom does not generally require the duration or intensity of stimulation with which humankind goes about the business of reproduction - four thrusts, a yelp, and that's it for most creatures - it seems unlikely that the bear and the frog could find happiness together.

Perhaps the Maltesers will make them happy. I do not know why the company behind Maltesers - probably Mars - think that a frog and a bear are likely to instill brand loyalty into the kind of people who take hot drinks. More likely the presence of the frog will remind people of Monty Python's classic 'crunchy frog' sketch, mention of which inevitably, hypnotically leads to mention of lark's vomit, a substance which one could imagine inside Maltesers, and which the creators of Maltesers would no doubt wish to un-imagine from our minds.

When I think of bears I think of bears, nothing else. They bring forth no allusion in my brainitalia. I cease.