Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I Want Candy

Last time you read my entry into the fifth grade Advanced Reading Class's playwriting competition. This time? You get to read one of the winners! Because not only did I save my own abominably written plays, I also saved my classmate's. I'm a minimalist's worst nightmare.

Melisa's Problem
was penned by one of my fellow advanced readers—who will remain anonymous here, as I haven't seen her since 1992 and don't exactly have her permission to publish this (shhh!). The following Very Special Blog Entry is what happens when you combine the viewing of one too many after-school specials with a fifth grader's knowledge about what it's like to take drugs. In other words, UNADULTERATED AWESOME.

Melisa's Problem

Setting is in Melisa's room doing homework

Oh, the fifth grader's narrator. Known in some circles as "Captain Obvious."

Now what's the history of-

Wait, I'm really hungry, would you like a snack, maybe candy?

Well, I guess you could say we're hungry. We've been studying for hours. Why, I'd love some candy.

I guess you could say it's candy. Well, except for the part where it's DRUGS.

Good, because this candy is especially for us.


Never mind.

Yeah, it's caaandy, Melony. Totally candy. Definitely not drugs. Candy candy candy. JUST EAT IT ALREADY.

Mmm... druglicious.

Narrator- Melony is not looking at the candy she's eating and puts it in her mouth while asking Melisa a question.

Melony- Umm. This candy is good. Can I have some more?

You can tell that drugs are powerful because you become addicted the instant they touch your tongue. Taste buds LOVE THE DRUGS.

Melisa- Why sure. There's plenty from where it came from.

Whoo boy, Melisa has got candy drugs galore! She's the Willy Wonka of pharmaceuticals. Or the Willy Wonka of candy. (But wait, wouldn't that make her, like, the regular Willy Wonka? Man, this play is complex!

"Dude. This candy will give you pure imagination. Seriously!"

Melony- What's the history of Abraham Lincoln's life?

Melisa- (chewing candy) Well, he was the 16th president of the United States from 1861 through 1865.

Melony- Let's stop for now. I think you know lots of it.

Yes, excellent summary of Abe's life. You girls are gonna to ace that test! All thanks to drugs!

Melisa- Here's your drugs candy you asked for.

Melony- Thanks. What kind of candy is this anyway?

The kind of candy that gets you so excited, so excited, and so... SCARED.

Melisa- Ur, um...let's get back to the homework, I think we need to study more.

Melony- Just tell me what kind it is because I'd like some of my own.

Melisa- They're, ...Boppers.

Melony- I've never tasted this kind of candy before. What flavor is it?

Melisa- It's...lemon-lime!

Melony- What?

Yeah. Drugs pretty much taste like Sprite. I can't believe you guys didn't know that.

Melisa- It's out at very few stores now. I recently got mine.

Well, where did you get yours?

The drugstore? Ba dum bum!

Melisa- I got mine at, at, um, I don't remember.

(still eating bits of candy)- That's okay.
Let's get back to our homework.

(Narrator- The next day, Melony wanted the candy she couldn't resist. So she went over to Melisa's house to see if she had more.)

By this time tomorrow Melony is going to be hanging out with Bubbles, stealing copper plumbing off the back of a truck.

Mother- Oh, hi Melony. Come in. Melisa will be down shortly.

Melisa- Hi Melony.

Melony- Hi Melisa, I need to talk to you upstairs.

Melony: Just hand over the Boppers, Melisa, and no one gets hurt.

Melisa- Come on up.

(Narrator- Melony and Melissa walk upstairs to the bedroom and all of a sudden, Melony faints. Melisa is in shock, wondering what to do.)

Holy what! Actually, this is kind of like what happened on Dawson's Creek when Andie took Ecstasy at that, ahem, "rave." Perhaps we are to assume the Candecstasy is interacting with Melony's antidepressants?

Melisa- Mom! Come quick! Melony fainted.

Mother(while running up the stairs)- What??

Melisa- Melony just fainted like that!

Mother- Oh my! (breathing heavily) I'll call a doctor, an ambulance.

Melisa(crying)- Oh what have I done, Melony please say something, please!



(Narrator- After the terrible news is told to her parents, Melony is sent to the emergency room, in shock.)

Yeah, first they tracked down her parents and THEN they sent her to the ER.

Melisa- Doctor? How is...

Male nurse dressed in white-
Sorry, but I'm not your doctor.

Yeah, my anonymous classmate (let's just call her Melisony) totally threw in a little dig about making occupational presumptions based on gender. Feminist in the making!

Doctor- Can I see the parents of Melony Sparkle?

Best last name ever.

(Parents pace about in worry)- Yes doctor, what is it?

I portrayed the doctor in our production. I wore some extremely oversized scrubs and got to deliver technical lines such as the following:

Doctor- There has been a finding that you should be concerned about. We tested your daughter's blood and found drugs in her system.

(at the same time)- WHAT!

Parents: What kind of drugs?

Doctor: Lemon-lime flavored. I'm so sorry.

Melony's mother- How could this be?

Melony's father- Our daughter is not like this.

Doctor- Well---

Doctor: Hate to break it to you, but according to the toxicology report, she is totally like this.

Melisa- Wait! I'm the cause of this! I've been giving her the drugs, and lying to her about it.

Melisa's mother- No! No! Not you, this just can't be. I don't believe you! I'm very angry! How could you do this (ending in a cry)

(Narrator- everyone turns to Melissa in surprise, worry, and anger)

Oh, you guys, the emotions are running high! (Get it? HIGH??)

Melony's mother(crying)- How could you do this to your best friend, and my daughter!?

(crying)- Well, this is hard to say but, I wanted someone with me to take the drugs so I wouldn't be frightened, or threatened. I chose my best friend. I wanted her and I to be cool.

Getting high and reading about Abe Lincoln? Super cool! Like, the coolest. Please. You were totally on the track to popularity, Melisa!

Melisa's mother- Taking drugs is a terrible thing to do to your life, and it's NOT cool. Who's been selling them to you?

YOU, all right? I learned it by watching YOU!

Melisa- This kid at school who gave me some candy. I asked him for more, but then he told me to give him my lunch money for more.

First your lunch money—then, next thing you know, you're selling your 10-year-old body on a street corner in exchange for some sweet, sweet Boppers.

Doctor- Mrs. Sparkle, Mr. Sparkle, and Ms. Kendall, your daughters need treatment right away and um, serious help for Melisa.

That was my best line, in which I implied that Melisa needed a large dose brain meds.

Melisa's mother- When Melony gets better, I want you to invite your friends over for dinner and we can have an intervention talk.

Melisa- All right, mom. I'm really sorry(crying and hugging her mother)

Taking drugs at your age can get you more addicted to them, taking away your life earlier. Melissa, I think you should um, I think you should take your mother's advice, that's if you don't want to die at a young age.

But if you DO want to die at a young age? Then bring on the Boppers! Eat up, Melisa!

Sidenote: Why does my character say "um" all the time? Way to make me sound like an idiot, Melisony. I'm a professional, dammit! I have to tell people their kids are hooked on candy drugs EVERY DAY!

Melisa's mother- I'll do the best I can to make sure she doesn't!

Nurse- You can see Melony now. She's doing fine.

Everybody walks in the room not saying a word.

Melony(speaking above a whisper)- Mom, why am I here? (Getting excited
[so excited?] and louder) What's going on here, I want to go home (in a panic)!

Melony's mother- Don't get so excited [I knew it!!!], calm down, you're fine, (rubbing her daugher's head)

And that might be where it ends. Or I may have lost the final page of the manuscript. Does it really matter? Melisa confessed her nefarious get-cool-quick scheme and everyone agreed that she needed, um, serious help unless she wants to end up like River Phoenix. Minus the fame/acting career.

Now you could look at this play as a satirical commentary on how high-fructose corn syrup is actually a drug that we voluntarily let our kids get hooked on, except... no you can't. It's pretty much just about candy crack.

Disturbingly, the drugs-masquerading-as-candy scenario might not even be that far-fetched, as some meth manufacturers have apparently cooked up something that resembles fruit-flavored Pop Rocks.

Real-ass candy drugs. They do look kind of yummy.

Hmm, I wonder what my old classmate is up to these days...

NEXT TIME: A story about pen pals whose favorite foods are chocolate cigars and Korean chicken balls. Really.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Secrets, secrets are no fun

Our elementary school's Gifted & Talented program had a red-headed stepchild called Mrs. Donnelly's Advanced Reading Class. Actually, in Mrs. Donnelly's case, it was more of a dyed-blond-and-set-at-the-beauty-parlor-every-week stepchild, and it reeked of perfume. Oh man, did it ever reek of perfume. This was especially unfortunate because the Advanced Reading Class was held in a windowless room that was definitely meant to be a supply closet.

One of our extremely advanced reading class assignments was to write a play. Mrs. Donnelly selected two of the plays to be performed by us at a lunchtime assembly. One involved a Sherlock Holmes type—portrayed by my one true love, Sig—who solved a mystery. (My friend Becca was cast as a maid in this one, and Mrs. Donnelly quickly offered up an outfit—apparently the Donnellys had a cache of maid uniforms at home for the purpose of attiring the hired help at their many soirees. We found this revelation appalling.) The other play involved girls who got hooked on some amazingly tasty candy that was—surprise, kids!—DRUGS.

I think I mentioned all of this during the discussion of Gymnastics Camp, but I've since realized that I was getting my plays confused. The play I actually entered in our class-wide competition was not about obnoxious young back-flippers, but about fifth graders involved in spreading the world's most uninteresting gossip. I'm not being modest when I say it displays neither giftedness nor talent.

No, the secret is not that Nancy (on the left) was born without a forehead, neck, or shoulders. Everyone knows that! Nor is the secret that Cara (on the right) is stepping on Nancy's foot. That's totally obvs! But, you guys, whatever the secret is, it must be REALLY, REALLY JUICY, right? Because Cara looks shocked! Absolutely shocked!

Title: The Big Secret

Cast of Characters:

Setting (Time and Place): Outside the school.

Narrator: Nancy has a big secret. She wasn't going to tell anyone, but she feels like she has to.

Nancy: (coming over to Cara, Adam, Jodie, and Ben) Listen. Cara, I have something to tell you. It's a big secret, so come over here.
(Nancy and Cara walk away) My mom is going to have triplets!

Wait, WHAT? Why on earth does Cara find triplets so alarming? Could it be because Nancy, who has no arms of her own, likes to gnaw on baby limbs? (I mean, that's what's going on in that illustration, right?)

Cara: Nancy, that's great! Wait'll I tell Jodie. She'll never believe it!

Nancy: No, Cara! It's a secret. My mom wants it to be a surprise. She told me not to tell anybody, but I had to tell somebody.

How do you surprise people with triplets? "Oh, what, you guys thought I was having ONE baby? Well, I totally had THREE! BOOYAH, suckers!"

Cara: O.K. I swear I won't tell anybody. (Walk back over to the group)

Jodie: What did Nancy want?

Cara: Come here. (Walk away with Jodie) You'll never believe it! Nancy's mom is going to have triplets!

Jodie: "But doesn't Nancy like to eat babies?"
Cara: "Yeah, that's probably why they're having so many."

Wow, Cara let the cat out of the bag AND lost her socks in a total of 5 seconds. And now she's... uh... impersonating Popeye??

Jodie: You're kidding! How cool! I have to tell Adam and Ben.

I think I eased up on the illustrations when I realized I would soon have to depict Adam and Ben. I was allergic to drawing boys.

Cara: No, Jodie. You can't. I swore I wouldn't tell anyone. Nancy will kill me if she finds out I told you.

Yes, PLEASE tell me there's going to be a murder in this play!

Jodie: Don't worry, Cara. Adam can keep a secret. I just won't tell Ben.

Cara: O.K. Just make sure Ben doesn't find out. Then the whole school will know. (Walks over to Adam and Ben) Adam, Jodie wants you.

Adam: (walks over to Jodie) What?

Jodie: Can you keep a secret?

Adam: Yeah.

Jodie: Nancy's mom is going to have triplets!

Adam: Awesome! My sister had twins.

Jodie: Two is nothing compared to three.

I love how Jodie says this like she has been there. Also, were triplets really this exciting in fifth grade, or had Ann M. Martin seriously warped my brain? Wouldn't the more likely reaction be something like: "My house is going to be filled with three crying babies instead of one? I hate you, mom and dad! I'm running away!"

Oh yes, running away would definitely improve this play. As would some sweet, sweet candy drugs—which might just induce a homicidal rage! Nancy would then, of course, have to hide the corpses in her secret passage. Now THAT would be a big secret. I am so rewriting this.

On a side note, I just Googled "Pike triplets" (yes, yes I did) and I found this article about some real-life Pike triplets who have "almond-shaped eyes." I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP. Article was clearly written by one of the BSC's ghostwriters.

Adam: I have to tell Ben.

Because nothing is more exciting to a 10-year-old boy than finding out his classmate's mom is going to pop out three little ones!

Jodie: No way. I told Cara I wouldn't tell Ben. He has such a big mouth.

Adam: None of my friends have big mouths, except for you and Cara. (Walks over to Ben and Cara) Come on, Ben. (Walks away with Ben)

Cara: (runs over to Jodie) What are they saying?

Jodie: How should I know?

Not only are they gossip mongers, they're also idiots.

Adam: Ben, I'm telling you this because Jodie said you have a big mouth.

Ben: I do not!

Adam: Exactly. That's why I'm telling you.

That Adam, he's a man boy of principles.

Ben: Telling me what?

Adam: That Nancy's mom is having triplets.

Ben: Right now?

Adam: I guess.

Ben: Well, come how Nancy's at school?

Adam: I don't know. Why don't you ask her?

Ben: O.K. I will. (Walks over to Nancy) Hi, Nancy.

Nancy: Hi, Ben.

Ben: Why are you at school if you're mom's at the hospital.

Nancy: My mom's not sick.

Ben: I know.

Nancy: Then why would she be at the hospital?

Ben: I thought she was having triplets.

Nancy: (screams) CARA!

Kill, Nancy! KILL! KILL!

Cara: (runs over) What?

Nancy: (walks away with Cara) Why did you tell Ben about my mom.

Cara: I didn't. I would never tell Ben. He has such a big mouth.

Um, Cara? You might not want to throw stones when you're living in a loose-lipped house of your own there.

Nancy: Who did you tell?

Cara: Well...

Nancy: WHO?!?

Cara: Jodie.

Nancy: (Runs over to Jodie) Why did you tell Ben about my mom.

Jodie: What's wrong with your mom?

Nancy: You know.

Jodie: What?

Way too play it cool, Jodie. She'll never suspect!

Nancy: Come on, Jodie. Cara told me she told you.

Jodie: O.K. She did.

Nancy: Why did you tell Ben?

Jodie: Ben? Big-mouth Ben? No way. I told Adam. I bet he told Ben. Even after I told him not to.

OMG, because who would do THAT?

Nancy: (Runs over to Adam) Why did you tell Ben about my mom?

Adam: How come you're here if your mom is having babies.

Nancy: She isn't. Why did you tell Ben?

Adam: Because he's my friend. Besides, Jodie said he had a big mouth.

Nancy: That's no reason.

(Bell rings. Everyone goes inside.)

DUN DUN DUUUUUUNNNN! What a cliffhanger!

Scene II

Setting: Nancy's house

Narrator: Nancy decides to tell her mom why the whole school knows she's having triplets.

That's right, the entire elementary school is abuzz with the baby news. They can't WAIT! The computer club is probably printing up an ΓΌber-pixelated "WELCOME TRIPLETS" banner on a roll of perforated paper AS WE SPEAK.

Nancy: (walks into the room) Hi, mom.

Mom: Hi, Nancy. How was school?

Nancy: Well, mom. You know how you told me about the triplets?

Mom: Yes. I know I can trust you.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Oh, sorry.

Nancy: Maybe you can't.

Mom: What do you mean?

Nancy: I couldn't keep a secret, Mom. I told my friend, Cara.

Mom: One person can't hurt.

"I can still shock everyone else with my amazing ability to procreate! BOW BEFORE MY FERTILE AND SPACIOUS WOMB! BOOOOOOOW!"

Nancy: Yeah, but then Cara told Jodie and Jodie told Adam and Adam told Ben and Ben told the rest of the school.

Mom: I guess it won't be a surprise.

Because the elementary school population was definitely the prime target from which to keep this secret.

Nancy: You're not mad.

Mom: No, I think you've learned your lesson. Next time you'll know better. I still trust you, Nance.

What lesson? That it's totally cool to break someone's trust as long as you only tell ONE person (and that one person isn't Big-Mouth Ben)?

Nancy: You're the best mom in the world.

Narrator: The end.

Then, because you'd obviously want to know more about the literary genius who came up with this ground-breaking plot:

About the Author

Sada is 11½ years old and in the fifth grade at Fairfax Elementary School. She likes to read, write and draw. Sada also enjoys ice skating and swimming. She likes arts and crafts as well. She lives with her mother, her father, sister, brother, turtle, Jaws, and the guinea pigs, Baby, Rosie, and Peachy.

The turtle's name was Jaws. I did not live with the island-terrorizing great white shark.

NEXT TIME: If I can find it, the CANDY CRACK play! If not, something else.