I wanted a Rice Krispies Treat and nothing more. All the other first graders bought snacks at lunchtime. I never did.
Buying a Rice Krispies Treat would not have made me very much less alienated (if we're going to be so angsty) from my classmates. It would not have stopped me from telling everyone that I had superpowers, nor would it have stopped me from being the only girl who got her name written on the board almost every day. Still, it would have been something.
The problem was that being "normal" never came quite as easily for me. I wasn't allowed to buy snacks. Once, I'd secreted the necessary fifty cents in my sock, yet somehow, I'd actually managed to get caught.
What I needed was a plan that would not fail. I should have known there was no such thing. Unfortunately, my ignorance led me down the path of stupidity which eventually led to my demise.
I shall now relate these dramatic and hideous events as they happened.
The system by which my lunches were paid for was simple. Every five days, my mother would buy a "lunch ticket" because first graders, I suppose, weren't responsible enough to pay every single day. A new ticket did not begin every Monday because for every day the student was absent or brought lunch, a day would be added to the next week. However, these tickets could only be purchased on Mondays. My mother had a calendar to avoid confusion.
One day, she told me she wasn't sure whether or not I had a day left on my lunch ticket. I guess that calendar wasn't so great after all because she had lost count. I actually wasn't confused, and I knew I had yet another dollar and eighty-five cents on my current ticket.
The opportunity arose, and a plan began formulating in my head. It was a Thursday night. If I actually had run out of money, my mom would definitely need to give me a dollar and eighty-five cents as she could not yet purchase a new ticket.
I told her I surely did not have a pre-paid day left even though I did.
She put the money in an envelope marked, "Laura's Lunch Money, $1.85." She then sealed both the envelope and my dark fate.
The next day at lunchtime, I bought rubber chicken nuggets using my silly ticket. I also extracted fifty cents from the envelope, and let it be known that on that day, I, Laura Eff, bought a Rice Krispies Treat.
The lady who always collected the lunch money was astounded. She must've known something was up. Sadly, though, she was the only one. No one else noticed, and no one else cared. Being "normal" for a day would've been a complete waste of time had it not been such a good Rice Krispies Treat.
Buying a snack against my mother's will also felt like the most rebellious thing I'd ever done. Overall, it was a good feeling.
Unfortunately, the artificial glow quickly faded. Paranoia followed, and with my paranoia has always come great stupidity.
After I bought the snack, I still had one dollar and thirty-five cents in a marked envelope. If anyone found it, I'd be foiled for sure!
Not quite knowing what to do, I hid the envelope of death in my atrociously messy desk.
Another two weeks and two "lunch tickets" soon passed. I don't know why I didn't simply buy more snacks with that dollar and thirty-five cents. However, that was only part of my extreme first grade stupidity.
Then arrived the day when my mother had to come into the classroom due to the state of my desk. I had to stay after school while she watched me clean out all the shredded papers. I never really understood how my desk ever got so messed up; I swear I tried to keep it neat. It was as if whenever I put something in there, it would be sucked to the back of the space, become dusty, and disintegrate. How, I wondered, could this small desk cause so much destruction?
My mother never took her eyes off me. I'd never felt so anxious in my short, six-year-old life, for I knew that somewhere in those depths of worksheets I hadn't turned in, lay a lunch money envelope.
I must've come up with fifty-thousand elaborate plans to get myself out of that situation. They proved useless because all I really did was reach into the dusty blackness and pull the envelope into my sleeve. My mother looked away at last, and I managed to put it in the pocket of my purple jacket. Until we returned home, it remained there. All that time, my mother kept giving me weird looks. Any moment, I knew I'd hear, "What's that in your pocket, Laura?" and there'd be no possible lie I could tell.
Luckily, no such words crossed her lips. The lunch money made it to the dreadful bottom of my sock drawer. Where else could it have gone? However, even there, I knew it would eventually be discovered.
Now, let's take a break and review the progressive stupidity of my actions. They were, after all, idiotic, no matter how much thought went into them. First, I should've just spent the money within the days following my first snack-buying escapade. However, since I didn't do that for some odd reason, why didn't I just take the money out of the envelope? I had plenty of other money I could've put it with, and no one would've ever noticed!
I didn't do that, and for quite some time, I didn't believe it necessary. It wasn't every single day that my mother searched my sock drawer.
Then, three months later, it happened. I was downstairs watching something terribly freakish on the television. I don't recall exactly what it was, but I know it couldn't have been Nickelodeon because I didn't start watching that channel until I turned ten. Some childish character with a large head was speaking about something pointless when I heard the ominous screech from my bedroom.
"LAURA!" my mother yelled. I cringed."GET OVER HERE RIGHT NOW!"
Shaking with fear and regret, I turned off the television and tried my best to leave the room and walk upstairs. Every step led me closer to my imminent doom. It was over. I'd been caught. I would soon have to face the consequences of my actions.
Just as I'd figured, my mother was sitting in front of my sock drawer holding the envelope.
"What is the meaning of this?" she demanded. "Why do you have a lunch money envelope?"
The torment began.
I tried to explain to her that she'd made a mistake three months ago, and that she'd given me extra money which I'd used to buy a snack. I soon discovered that she wouldn't have minded it so much, had she believed that was the real situation.
However, she refused to accept the fact that she'd made a mistake. After all, she had a calendar of lunch tickets, she told me! She was convinced that on the day she'd given me the money in that envelope, I had eaten only a Rice Krispies Treat for lunch. This was unacceptable; this was unhealthy! Wait…this had never happened! That didn't matter; she wouldn't trust the word of an irresponsible six-year-old!
By that point in time, I was drowning in not only my own stupidity but my mother's as well. Things did not get better when she called my dad at work and he lectured me for one hour over the phone!
"Laura, you can't do this," he ranted multiple times, "because you have to eat a real lunch!"
Through my screaming and crying and protesting over the fact that I had withstood several hours of lecturing and was now banned from television for a month, I actually learned a very important lesson: I should never do something hideous in order to fit in.
That may sound like a very happy ending, as most happy endings in stories involve horrible things happening, thus causing the main character to "learn a lesson" and not commit the same act of idiocy in the future. My case is different for two reasons. First, I continue to do stupid things to this day; I just don't do them in order to fit in. Second, even though I am now thirteen years of age, my parents still won't believe they made a mistake seven years ago! Due to these deplorable circumstances, I carry my ridiculous stupidity to this day.
You may think this tale is farcical; alas, that's the point! I think it's asinine too, and I can't believe I actually went through all that trouble to get a Rice Krispies Treat. Now I can eat them whenever I want, so it doesn't even matter. However, I'm just really mad about the whole situation!
Although what's over is over, I will unfortunately bear this anger and stupidity for all eternity. We can only hope that I will not become a cereal---I mean, serial---killer or something due to this inane instance.