Well, we are getting close to the release of Life is a Roller Derby Run by a Sphinx and so this week I wanted to give you a quick taste of what is to come. So for your reading pleasure, ripped directly from the pages of my next book, is Chapter 27: Cookie Monster.
27. Cookie Monster
Some children are lovely little gifts from heaven. Other kids are more like trials sent to test parents’ perseverance, cunning and ability to get crayon off of a variety of surfaces.
I was more of the latter; I pretended to be a dinosaur during church, thought I was a Power Ranger and World Wrestling Federation wrestler all rolled into one (that poor furniture) and built very elaborate spaceships from everyday items and sometimes essential machine parts.
Not only was I handful, I was a rather clever one. I had learned to read at an early age and by the time I turned four I already had most of the Nancy Drew, The Boxcar Children and The Hardy Boys under my literary belt. Add in the fact that I watched as many episodes of Murder, She Wrote and Matlock as I could find, and I was a regular criminal mastermind in the making. I gobbled up mystery stories faster than the newest Lone Ranger movie bombed and was forgotten.
Of course, with my rambunctious little brain, I began to wonder if I could pull of a caper that not even Nancy Drew or Jessica Fletcher could solve!
I plotted, I planned, I drew schematics, I built models of vaults and banks out of Legos.
Now keep in mind, at four years old you really don’t have to have an exact goal in mind. I wasn’t out to steal the Hope Diamond or ransack a museum for priceless art. I was just plotting crime in general.
My parents, knowing I lacked the income and resources to pull off a liquor store robbery, much less a fantastical heist, weren’t too concerned about my little ‘flights of fancy’ into the heinous world of crime.
I knew that my plans could succeed, as a Brain without a Pinky could, if only I had a goal to focus them on.
Then came the day my mother made her wonderfully delicious peanut-butter-chocolate-chip cookies. These cookies are melt-in-your-mouth good. If we could give these cookies out to every world leader simultaneously, there would be World Peace, because it’s impossible to feel aggressive or angry while eating one.
She baked an entire batch in the afternoon, and I had been granted one cookie. The rest, she informed me, would have to wait until after dinner. I tried to reason with her, dinner was a full two hours away. My pleas went unanswered. I watched sorrowfully as my mom put every remaining cookie into the giant strawberry shaped cookie jar far back on the kitchen counter and wandered off to do something else.
I stood in the kitchen staring daggers at that cookie jar, reveling in how unfair the situation was. I could still smell the cookies, and still had the taste of peanut butter and chocolate in my mouth.
Suddenly, it hit me like a Mac truck hits a sleeping armadillo, this is what I had been scheming for! This was my crime of the century! Well… at least crime of the day… let’s be real here.
I ran back to my room digging through my catapult designs, ideas for a mind-control laser and blueprints of someone else’s house that I had found while playing outside one day. None of it seemed to help my cookie situation.
I snuck back towards the kitchen to do some reconnaissance. Crawling, army-style on my belly, I crept down the hallway, listening intently for any adults. No one was about. I stood up and wandered towards the kitchen counter, realizing that I was far shorter than it was and the cookie jar was all the way back on the counter near the wall.nMy thoughts turned to the kitchen chairs, which could be drug over, but I needed to determine where my mom was first, in case the noise would alert her.
I found my mom in the living room folding clothing. I nonchalantly wandered in, “Hi mom, you don’t have any reason to go to the kitchen anytime soon do you?”
My mother’s eyes narrowed, “Why?”
“No reason,” I said as I darted away, congratulating myself on not making her suspicious at all.
Back in the kitchen, I planned my route of entry. The chair would be too loud to drag, but if I opened the drawers like stairs, I could probably climb up relatively easily.
I wandered back down towards my mother, who, still folding clothes, was now surely listening intently for something to explode. Again, as casually as I could, I asked, “Hey mom, you don’t have a reason to be in the kitchen, right?”
My mom blinked at me a couple of times, “Is there something on fire in the kitchen? Should I be in the kitchen right now?”
“Nope! Was just wondering!” I said, skipping back down the hallway, again impressed with my own dramatic non-mom-worrying skills.
I checked to make sure the coast was clear, and then I opened the first drawer. I looked around; no one seemed to be rushing down the hall. I slid open the second drawer, nothing. I flung the remaining drawers open with wild abandon and stepped up onto the counter.
There it was, the strawberry cookie jar, in all its red glory.
I lifted the lid and found a veritable dragon’s hoard of amazing luscious little treats inside.
I’ve never been a dainty person. The cookie carnage I unleashed would have made the Cookie Monster seem civilized by comparison. I stuffed, I crammed, I smeared. I had chocolate on my face, cookie crumbs in my hair and peanut butter residue on every piece of clothing I was wearing. The spoils of my crime were sweet, soft and delicious.
I was about halfway through enjoying cookie number seven when I heard it, “Allison, what are you doing on the counter?”
Turning, my mouth absolutely stuffed with cookie, I blinked at my mother. How had she caught me? I had made sure to fool her into thinking that nothing was wrong in the kitchen! Why was she here!? There was still thirty minutes until dinner!
She stood, hands on hips, surveying the disastrous scene, “Allison, did you eat cookies out of the cookie jar?”
I blinked. Interrogation was not something that Nancy Drew, Jessica Fletcher or any of the others had ever prepared me for. Mostly they just caught the criminal, the criminal confessed and then they would get a sad, disappointed look from Angela Lansbury. I knew my mother’s punishment wouldn’t be a sad, sympathetic, yet also disappointed look. So I came up with the best Hail-Mary answer I could think up.
“No!” bits of cookie spraying from my mouth, “No! It wasn’t me!”
My mother let out a tiny snort, then collected herself again and said, “Now,” small amount of laughter, followed by a throat clearing, “I’m going to ask you again. Did you eat the cookies?”
Don’t ask me why, even at the age of four I knew there was no logical escape, and yet, I found myself answering, “Nope! Wasn’t me!”
My mother instructed me to come down off the counter and stand there for a minute, she would be right back. I obediently, for once, climbed off of the counter and stood, waiting for my punishment as my mom took long strides towards the hallway.
I realize that she was trying to hide the fact that she was laughing, but I could still hear her. To this day, I will never forget her pained attempts to be a seriously upset parent as she snorted out from behind the wall, “Go,” chuckle, “to your room! Bahahahahahaha!”
So what crumbs of knowledge can be extracted from the cookie jar of experience?
1. Laughter may delay punishment, but the punishment is still forthcoming.
2. If your child is planning heists at the age of four, you might want to pay closer attention to her behavior.
3. Sometimes the best-laid plans end with cookies and grounding.