“You are reading an ad for Cooxies.”
Miranda blinked. That was the entire copy of the bus ad, along with a modest but appetizing photo of a Cooxie cookie, a simple, shortbread affair with a gingerbread-looking spiral in the center.
Ad campaigns are just tripping over themselves to be clever these days, she thought as she took out her phone and snapped a picture to share on Instagram. She had to admit—it grabbed her attention, so it got the job done.
It was a few days later when Miranda saw the next ad, on the side of the bodega next to her gym. It was that same simple, picture of a Cooxie, but this time the copy read:
“If you tried to think of something else, you’d still be thinking of Cooxies.”
Damn, got her again. It was like not thinking of pink elephants—if a pink elephant was a tasty treat. She snapped another photo and went into the gym.
On her way out an hour later she noticed the sign again. Fresh from her workout and craving sugar, she let herself walk into the bodega and pick up a box to try. The ad campaign was so cute, she kind of wanted to reward them for entertaining her.
The Cooxies people had applied the marketing to the cookie packaging too; The box was covered with similar self-evident or straightforward promotional phrases: “There are Cooxies inside (unless they’ve all been eaten.)” “Cooxies make you happy.” “You bought Cooxies.” “Cooxies are cookies.” “Cooxies loves its customers; we hope it’s mutual!” “Are you trying to make the Cooxies last?” “Keep Cooxies close.” They were so overlapping that some messages were too small or obscured to make out.
Miranda read these phrases over as she noshed, letting the spicy-sweet flavor sink into her tongue. Suddenly, she realized that she had completely finished one of the two sleeves in the box. Damn! She hadn’t even had dinner, and now she wasn’t hungry for it. She closed the box over the second sleeve and left it on the kitchen table.
The very next day, Miranda felt like she had found a secret treasure when she saw another Cooxies ad, this time a small poster stuck up on some scaffold. There were even two cookies on this one; she felt like she had leveled up.
“Only the best people read ads for Cooxies.”
Miranda felt a tingle of satisfaction at that. Sure, she knew anyone walking by could see the ad, but it was nice to hear validation where she could get it. Besides, she thought to herself jokingly, she was a Cooxies customer. They had a special relationship.
Miranda worked out again that day—not her usual habit, but she wanted to justify the treat waiting for her back home. She allowed a private smile at the bodega ad on her way in and out of the gym.
Sure enough, the box of Cooxies was waiting right where she left them, like an old friend meeting her for a date. Miranda chuckled at the thought and tore open the second sleeve, determined to pace herself this time. To entertain herself while she ate, she tried seeking out some of the smaller, almost hidden messages on the box. Some of them seemed to make more sense than others.
“Life is short. Have a Cooxie.” “This was what you wanted.” “More.” “Thank you for buying Cooxies.” “You keep thinking about Cooxies.” “Feel the lightness.” “Another.” But some really seemed sort of blurry or something. Something like “Clay Cooxies?” Miranda giggled. That couldn’t be right.
She reached for another cookie and grabbed at air. She had finished the second sleeve! Those little things were just so edible that it was easy to eat a bunch at once. Miranda laughed at herself, and scooped the crumbs off the table, popping them into her mouth.
Recycling pickup wasn’t for a few days, and her bin was full. Miranda put the empty Cooxies box next to her bed. As she went to sleep, she idly read its messages over and over.
Miranda managed to go without cookies—or the gym—for a week. Eating crap and sweating it off was not a habit she wanted to establish. But eventually she went to get groceries, and found herself wandering over to the snacking aisle, just curious.
There was a modest display of Cooxies, just big enough to get a little sign. Two cookies on this one, and it read “Cooxies are a compulsion.”
Miranda laughed as she grabbed just one box; doing what Cooxies said was now a private little joke. Besides, now with a new box she could throw out the old one she read each night in bed; she didn’t want to hoard garbage for long.
That night, Miranda took three Cooxies out of the box, and closed up the rest before she started, so she wouldn’t overdo it. And it worked! But once she finished, a strange sadness crept up on her. To distract herself, she took a close look at this box; maybe this one had different messages than the first.
It was the same, but looking at the bottom of the box, she noticed something she never had before: a URL. Of course Cooxies had a website! Smiling to herself, she pulled up her phone and typed it in.
The company knew their branding; the website looked a lot like the ads; the homepage simply read “Clicking Here Brings You Further Into The Cooxie Website.” Miranda complied, and she was shown a picture of a cookie. It looked delicious, and she thought of the nearly-full box at her side. She shook her head, and clicked the image.
“Good,” flashed a message, briefly, and Miranda felt a flutter of pleasure. Next, another message popped up.
“Do you love Cooxies?” There were “yes” and “no” options. Miranda didn’t even consider clicking no, not even as a joke.
“You love Cooxies,” it echoed back at her, and showed her a picture of two more. She could almost taste them. She clicked again.
“Have a Cooxie!” It displayed cheerfully. Well, if they insisted! Glad for the excuse, Miranda opened the box and had just one more cookie—OK, two—and then closed the box back up quickly. She clicked the waiting “Yes, I have!”
The word “Good” flashed again, and she could swear it was brighter this time.
Miranda futzed around on the website for awhile—sometimes she saw pictures of cookies, or GIFs with them rotating, the spiral pattern taking on a spinning motion. Miranda giggled and tried to replicate it by twirling one in her hand before taking a bite. There were interactive bits too, like taking a selfie with a custom filter where her eyes were Cooxies. She signed up for the mailing list—why not get a coupon, an occasional marketing quip?
Suddenly, Miranda realized that the box was empty once again. Shit, she had done it again. What was the calorie count on these? Too late to do anything now, Miranda took the empty box to bed. Staring at screens late kept her up, but just looking at the box, she quickly fell asleep.
The very next day, on the street she saw three small circles in the distance, and her breath caught. She knew, as she approached, just what they were.
The Cooxies delivery truck, more of a large van, really, with a photo of three cookies blazing the side. The text said, “This is where Cooxies come from.”
Miranda’s heart jumped in her throat. What were the odds! She walked around the truck, looking for hidden messages like the box had. The other side read, “This is where Cooxies go.”
She reached the double doors in the back, and above them it said simply:
Miranda stood at the back of the truck for a second, feeling rather foolish. After a moment, she laughed, and continued on her way. She couldn’t just ask some deliveryperson for a hit of their merchandise. She went and made a detour to buy a fresh box of snacks. She was an adult, and she could buy cookies whenever she wanted.
That evening, Miranda threw herself on the couch with a box of Cooxies and the website opened in front of her on her laptop so she could have a bigger screen. The website had the simple, click-through process, but she kept catching little easter eggs on the monitor, hidden messages, like on the box. She was getting better at finding them! What she thought had said “Clay Cooxies” had said “Obey Cooxies” and she laughed at the corny joke and clicked the secret text. She uploaded more selfies, played more games, ate more cookies.
When her box of Cooxies was empty, Miranda felt empty as well, despite being full of snacks. It seemed to resonate throughout her, not just her stomach. She briefly considered going out for more, but when she clicked “I am out of Cooxies” on the website it forgave her.
“Good,” it flashed, and Miranda felt better.
“There are other ways to feel good,” it continued.
Miranda played through the next phase of the website, a little game where she had to drop Cooxies into an open mouth, and words of encouragement flashed on the screen. Miranda realized the mouth was hers; she had taken an open-mouthed photo for the “Cooxie-eater challenge.” She laughed. New technology made even advertisements fun!
She had been doing so well at the game, but now her score was slipping; she was distracted. Suddenly, Miranda realized that she had a hand in her panties, she was touching herself. At this she laughed again. How absentminded!
She paused the game, and a message flashed, “You can finish now.”
I guess they forgot I already finished the box! Miranda thought as she came, and continued clicking through the website.
The next day, Miranda sat down with a fresh box of Cooxies and opened her laptop, still open to the website. This time, however, the first message was “No Cooxies.”
What? What did they mean no Cooxies?
“Get up and do ten jumping jacks.”
Curious, Miranda did so, and sat back down to click the waiting “I did!” button.
“Good. Have a Cooxie!”
Miranda smiled and popped one into her mouth. It was like the other games, so easy. She clicked through.
“One selfie=One Cooxie.”
Miranda frowned. For the last challenge, she could have cheated, just claimed she did as she was told. This time she’d have to at least take a picture of something. But she had taken dozens of selfies on the Cooxie website by now, what was one more?
Her webcam already enabled, she smiled and clicked the little photo icon.
“Good. Enjoy your Cooxie!”
She did, moaning a little bit as she tried to savor it.
Miranda had unlocked the next level of the website, a game where she completed tasks to eat more Cooxies. She had been a little worried about her sugar intake, so she liked having an outside force to help her pace herself. The tasks were simple—add more personal information to their client database, take pictures of a Cooxie box throughout her apartment, do something to make herself “feel good.” OK, so she masturbated at that one, but they didn’t need to know that! At a certain point, she didn’t really think about the tasks, though she did notice that she needed to do more to earn a Cooxie. She only had so many with her, after all, it was fair. Maybe she should start buying more boxes in one go.
Over the next few weeks, Miranda established a new routine: Walk around for a while and hit up all the spots with ads she knew, taking time to really take them in. Then, buy two boxes of Cooxies (that’s what she was allowed to buy at once now), go home to sit with her computer, and complete tasks to work her way through the Cooxies. The first time the game told her to take a shirtless selfie she laughed. It was as though they knew she was already naked! At night, she still fell asleep staring at that original box. She hadn’t been imagining getting better at reading the messages; more became clear every day: “You need Cooxies.” “You’d do anything for a Cooxie.” “Be good.” “Get pleasure, give pleasure.” “You don’t need to be smart to enjoy Cooxies.” “You’re delicious.”
One day, Miranda was playing a part of the game that was really easy. She just read the messages and clicked through, and every hundred clicks or so she got to eat a Cooxie. The answers were obvious.
“Do you love Cooxies?” Yes.
“Would you do anything for Cooxies?” Yes.
“Do Cooxies give you pleasure?” Yes.
“Do Cooxies turn you on?” Yes.
“Do you feel pretty dumb right now?” Yes (and “Good Girl” flash on the screen; she had registered as female on the website, after all).
“Do you want a Cooxie really, really badly?” Yes.
“Masturbate.” Finally, something constructive to do! Miranda got herself off quickly, and after a few minutes, panting, clicked through that she had.
“Good girl.” Then, a wall of text, longer than she usually saw, about obeying Cooxies, about the many kinds of pleasure, about not needing to think “extra thoughts,” blah blah blah. Miranda dutifully read the whole thing, several times as it kept reappearing with every subsequent click.
“Cum now,” said the screen instead, with no warning, and Miranda did, instantly. For that, she earned a Cooxie.
Miranda wasn’t sure why she was outside the next day. It was beautiful out but she grumpily thought she would rather be at home; she had a whole unopened box. And then, she saw it again: The Cooxie truck.
Like an explorer discovering El Dorado, she approached the white van with reverence and let her fingers brush the cookies on its side. She walked around to read its messages: “This is Where Cooxies Come From,” “This is where Cooxies Go,” and finally, the back, back to the decal that said “Wait here.”
This time, she waited. It was nearly an hour until there was no one else on the street, and that’s when the doors opened.
Without thinking, she stepped inside.