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.
Narrator- Setting is in Melisa's room doing homework
Oh, the fifth grader's narrator. Known in some circles as "Captain Obvious."
Melony- Now what's the history of-
Melisa- Wait, I'm really hungry, would you like a snack, maybe candy?
Melony- 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.
Melisa- Good, because this candy is especially for us.
Melisa- Never mind.
Yeah, it's caaandy, Melony. Totally candy. Definitely not drugs. Candy candy candy. JUST EAT IT ALREADY.
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!)
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
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?
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.
Melony- Well, where did you get yours?
The drugstore? Ba dum bum!
Melisa- I got mine at, at, um, I don't remember.
Melony-(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!
END OF PART 1
(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.
Parent's(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: 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!?
Melisa(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 a
Melisa- All right, mom. I'm really sorry(crying and hugging her mother)
Doctor- 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.
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.