People Will Eat Anything. (I have proof)

One thing my friends and family know about me is this: Even when I’ve got a chance to relax and just not do anything, I end up working on something else.  I think it’s one of the reasons I’m never bored.  There’s ALWAYS something else to write, film, read, etc…  It’s a big world filled with lots of cool crap.  I just want to add to that…crap pile?

That came out wrong.

Anyway, currently I’m working on a whole mess of things.  I was given the opportunity to write 3 more Jake Maddox books for Stone Arch.  One of the best parts about doing work for them is they give me a topic and I get to come up with an idea.  The Jake Maddox books are fiction books revolving around sports.  Pretty much it’s: “Thomas, write a book about BMX bikes…go!”  From there, I get to whip together a 5,000 (or so) word tale about a kid going on a BMX bike adventure.

So…I get to write up some synopses about the ideas I have for the proposed themes.  I sit back and wait to see if they give my ideas the thumbs up or if it’s back to the drawing board.  I JUST turned all three of them in on Sunday night.   Here it is Tuesday night and I’m jonesin’ to work on something else.

Like I said: ALWAYS something else, right?

I’ve got a Middle Grade book in the works, too.  It’s a semi-autobiographical book loosely based about my brother and I when we were littler guys one summer.  The title is LITTLE BROKEN WINGS.  It’s about how my brother was on a crusade to save the injured birds that crashed into our picture window at my parent’s house.  It’s been fun to write and I’m hoping to finish it by the time fall ends.  We’ll see!

Also…I’ve been toying with a YA book called NOTHING MUCH.  It’s still in the planning stages, but I think I have a pretty good grasp about what’s going to happen.  I want to write something dark, funny and different than what’s out there now.  No small feat, right?  I’m hoping to bring some humor to the main character and find that nice balance between making him a guy you like, but don’t necessarily completely trust.  Too many characters in too many books are sort of cut n’ dry.  I need my protagonist to be a bit more real.  I think that’s why I’m sort of letting this one simmer in the brain a bit.

Anyway…the whole point is, in thinking about NOTHING MUCH, I was reminded of a high school-y shenanigan a friend of mine and I pulled back in the day.


Back when I was in 9th grade, my friend J and I were walking toward the Apache Plaza shopping mall.  The bowling alley there had video games there and since we didn’t have the cool home consoles that exist now, this was our only alternative.  As we walked, we saw a white bag sitting along the side of the road.  As we got closer, I noticed that there were small, square brown pieces scattered all over the grit and sand along the gutters.  This is what a lot of the Minnesota streets look like in Spring after the snow melts…a big litter box.  Sand everywhere.  Anyway, it turned out the squares were pieces of chocolate and the rectangular box inside the bag was from Fanny Farmer, a candy store that still existed at the time.

Someone had decided to fire the box o’ chocolates out the window, letting the savory delights scatter to the road.

J and I were known to be troublemakers at times, and that night was no different.  I had an idea and together, we quickly grabbed as many of the chocolates as we could and put them in the little ruffly paper things and stuck them back in the box.  We didn’t bother wiping them off or anything.  When we were done, the box was almost complete.  There were 3 or 4 spots that were empty.  I’m guessing the person who chucked the chocolate decided to give ’em a taste (or 4) before jettisoning the confections.

As it turned out, we were near the house of a girl from our class, who I’ll call M for the purposes of this story.  I just happened to know that M liked a guy in our class, named R.  The plan that I was forming was too perfect.  With a pen, I scratched out a message on the box.

M, please enjoy these chocolates.  You know I’ve always loved you.  Love, R  – P.S. Sorry I ate some.

J and I were laughing like we were about to pull the biggest and best prank ever.  We snuck over to M’s house, set the white bag and box on her doorstep, and rang the doorbell.  As soon as the first chime sounded, we ran like there was a serial killer on our heels.  As we rounded the corner and resumed our trek to the mall for video game satisfaction, we both laughed.  There was no way M would believe that R left her some chocolates.  It just wasn’t possible.

Still, we imagined how confusing and hilarious it would be for her.  I would’ve given anything to see her face.  About an hour later, we forgot all about it.

At school the next morning , J and I went into homeroom.  There were a crowd of people around one of the desks, making a commotion.  We went over to see what was up and saw that M was sitting at her desk with a rectangular box.  The kids in the class were chewing on something.  Even our teacher, Mr. P was chomping on something.

Horror and hilarity mixed as I realized what was happening.

They were eating the roadside chocolates.  To make it even more hilarious?  R was cramming two or three into his mouth at a time.

“What’s going on?”  I asked.  I was a drama geek, so I knew I could pull off a straight face when necessary.

“M got a box of candy,” R mumbled between bites of chocolate.  “She thought it was from me.”

“It wasn’t?”  I conjured up the best confused face I had in my arsenal.

“Nope,” R said and shrugged.

M confirmed the story.  “Yeah, someone left these on my doorstep, so I figured I’d bring them and see if anyone would fess up to it.”

I could see that a part of M was disappointed.  She WISHED that R had given them to her, but now alas…it wasn’t to be.

M looked at J and I.  “You guys want some?”

I shook my head.  “No, I’m good.”  Un-truer words were never spoken.  I wasn’t good.  Not at all.

In a matter of minutes, the box was emptied and tossed in the trash.  From my desk, I could still see the horribly over-done message I’d scrawled on the box.  As I sat there, I wondered how many people bit into a piece of gravel and wondered where it came from.  I guess no one gave it a second thought.

That must be the power of chocolate.