It was around eleven at night and two of us editors were coming back from some function, I forget what now. We didn't feel like going straight home so, of course, we had to "do something." After we argued back and forth, my financial situation decided our course of action. I had no money in my wallet and only had some change in the change bucket of my car. We decided that it was our mission to spend the change! I assigned my mathematically-inclined partner the duty of counting up the coins, which were mostly dimes, nickels and many pennies.

I looked out at the unseasonably cool May night, smiled, and issued my challenge. I asked my partner to go into the Speedway gas station and spend all the money, which he had assessed to be around 95 cents. He reluctantly got out of the car and trudged into the gas station. He bobbed around the candy isle stooping and then perching himself on his toes to see the merchandise. He then made a sweep of the snack isle which contains mostly cookies and crackers. He moved through the aisles several times, all the while being eyeballed by the unfriendly female clerk, who grimaced at him while she watched (though actually, the editors disagree on whether she was friendly or not).

After some time he emerged from the store and got into the car letting in some cold. "So did you accomplish your mission?" I asked. It seemed like he had. He'd done quite well in fact. He had a package of Oreos and a package of ReeseSticks in his possession. Then he opened his hand. In it was a dime and three pennies. "Nooooo!!!!! The mission was to spend ALL the money!" I shouted to the moonroof dramatizing the situation. I sent him back out into the store to spend the last of the change.

He moved through the aisles several times, all the while being eyeballed by the unfriendly female clerk, who grimaced at him while she watched


He looked at me as if to ask if I was serious. My look in return must have done it because he opened the door, again letting in some cold, and crawled to the door of the gas station. His grin this time was even more classic. If I had a camera I would have captured it for posterity. His head bobbed around, his eyes sweeping the shelves for cheap merchandise. I saw him talk to the unfriendly (or friendly) clerk who by this time was probably at her wits end. A minute later he was back in the car with the thirteen cents. "No luck, huh?" I asked. He shrugged and we pulled out of the Speedway.

At that point he probably thought this experiment or adventure was over that is until I informed him that we had to spend the thirteen cents. Determined as ever, I headed for the bastion of late night lurkers, the grand 7-11. This time we were both in the store facing yet another unfriendly clerk (again, accounts vary). We found some possibilities-Blowpops, caramel apple suckers, and other lollipops. When I inquired about the price the clerk balked and then gave the gruff reply that they were fifteen cents. At that point I figured all hope was lost. I saw some Now and Later packages, some other lollipops, each time asking the clerk how much it cost. Then, as if some miracle had suddenly placed my eyes in the right direction, there it was! A brown and white box with individual Tootsie Rolls, and remarkably a price right on the box-five cents each!

Without even thinking, I scooped two up, showed my partner the prize and made my way to the cashier who rang me up without even looking at me. "Ten cents" he said. I handed him the dime and put the three pennies in the take-a-penny-leave-a-penny tray. Our adventure was over. When I got in the car, my partner-in-flippancy chastised me for giving away perfectly good pennies. He complained that if we wanted to do this right we should have spent the last of our liquid assets at Meijer, taking three rides on the mechanical horsey. Nonetheless, I drove home satisfied. I was rid of my change. Who knows how much I had spent in gas, but I had something to show for it.

EPILOGUE

Before I left my collegues's home, we shared the spoils of our efforts. I proceeded to dip one of the ReeseSticks in my hot chocolate (I told you it was cold) and offered him the tasty treat. He refused - violently, at that - imploring me not to make him explain his behavior. This, of course, piqued my interest and I had to know why he would refuse a melted chocolate and wafer snack. A discussion ensued and I wish I had answers for you. Perhaps we'll never know the reason he refused it. Perhaps it was a trauma he had as a child. Perhaps melted chocolate reminds him of well you know. Perhaps he wakes up in a sweat just having dreamt about crispy peanut buttery wafers. Later, I found he'd also not eaten the Oreos I'd proffered. He remains, as always, a strange duck. Someday though someone will figure him out. Otherwise we remain thankful that he adds his obtuse view of life to Lunchip.


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