Jerry the Coke guy, the local soft drink delivery man, stepped out of his vehicle. With a sigh, he wiped his brow and walked mechanically to the lone drink vending machine at this stop. Fumbling with his key, he unlocked the worn-down machine to reveal a number of partially empty slots.

He quickly noted which types of drinks were needed and estimated a paltry twelve cases. He smiled at himself as he walked to the truck and unloaded twelve cases of different flavored drinks onto his cart, pulling them uphill through the gravel parking lot.

“I’ll get it right this time for sure,” he quietly mentioned to himself as he began opening the cases and filling the chambers. One case, two, three, four. The machine began filling up. “This will be close,” he thought to himself.

As the cases emptied, the machine filled. Then, to his disappointment, there was one can left over. A mild sadness washed over him. “It was nearly perfect. Just one can. Just one single can,” he lamented quietly to himself. He placed the can on top of the machine to close the door. When he did, he noticed one of the slots seemed different, strange even. He looked closer and saw that one of the cans at the bottom turned slightly, preventing the slot from filling completely.

Quickly, he wriggled the can loose until it fell into position, creating a cascading effect, making the cans adjust downward until there was room for a single can at the top. Excitedly, he placed the can into the slot and filled the slot perfectly. He smiled a wide beaming smile. “Perfect,” he said out loud.

He couldn’t stop smiling. He estimated this one and got it right. It was a perfect fill. With a spring in his step he began closing the machine. The latch seemed to catch on the final panel, so he bumped it to close the panel. When he did, the heard the distinct sound of cans sliding down the slot. Quickly he opened up the door panels again to reveal two slots were now short a few cans at the top.

With a deep sigh, Jerry closed the machine. Pulling his cart behind him, he trudged to his truck, loaded his cart and secured it, then sat in the cab. Making a few notes on his clipboard, he put on his seatbelt and pulled out of the parking lot, headed to his next stop.

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