Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Flash Fiction: "Scummy Butterscotch"

Happy Tuesday! As I rewrite my old stories and come up with ideas for new ones, I'd like to keep testing the waters now and then to see what you think. This one's silly, I know, but it's supposed to be. If you didn't know me better, Reader, you might think this was a standard blog post rant for me. But I actually wrote this little story years ago, long before I even knew what a blog was. And certain elements of the story, which is written in first person, do not in fact describe me personally (I'm specifically referring to the last phrase in the third paragraph). Anyway, I hope you enjoy it. As always, I welcome your comments and/or suggestions....


There are three things I love to hate – mummy movies, crummy people, and scummy butterscotch – and not necessarily in that order.

You may think I'm a little peculiar, but I would beg to differ. In fact, I am a lot peculiar. 

I'm picky when it comes to cars (I prefer foreign), food (I prefer spicy), and women (I prefer foreign and spicy).

I have to set my radio at precisely the right volume – not too low, but not too loud either. Driving safely requires my undivided attention.

I won't work out at the gym on Mondays; that's when the buffest guys and ladies show up to pump iron. I don't need that kind of insecurity.

But on these three things in particular I am the most vehemently opinionated.

First of all, I don't see the point of mummy movies. Who in their right minds, or even in their insanely twisted minds, would be horrified at the sight of a man-like creature wrapped in full-body Band-Aids? Seriously, no matter how loud it growls and snarls at me, I can't help thinking, Okay, bandages mean injuries, injuries denote weakness, and weakness means I'm definitely getting out of this alive. Where's the fear factor in that?

And even if I can convince myself that beneath all that wrapping lies a truly frightening being and I can rationalize running from the creature, what are the odds that it can even come close to catching me? I mean, one little snag and that sucker's a snowball rolling uphill. Am I right?

Secondly, you've got your crummy people. Before there's any misunderstanding, let me give you my definition of "crummy" just so we're on the same page here. "Crummy" is an adjective used to describe a specific type of behavior in which a person responds unreasonably in comparison to the way they are being treated.

Case in point. I toil away my days at a retail gift shop. Now when I'm doing my job I don't always feel cheery, and sometimes when we're swamped with business, I don't have time to put on my happy face. But one thing I always strive for is to do whatever it takes to make the customer happy.

So when the little blue-haired lady wants me to locate a medium-sized jewel box with blue flowers painted on top, I'm going to do my best to find her that box, or something close enough to it that she goes home happy. But if I don't happen to stock a medium-sized jewel box with blue flowers painted on top, and I can't find anything remotely akin to it, I'll apologize for being unable to help her and politely suggest another store nearby where she might try to locate one.

Then the little blue-haired lady can react in one of two ways. She can be a sweetheart and reply, "Well, thank you for checking, dear, I'll certainly try someplace else." Or she can be crummy and say, "A fat lot of good that does me! I'll bet you've got a dozen or more of 'em in the back room, and you just don't want to sell me one! I want to speak to your manager – NOW!"

Sad but true, crummy people walk among us every day. And while they may not strike fear into the hearts of moviegoers like mummies inexplicably do, they certainly have the power to hurt people, which makes them just as much of a menace as any monster Hollywood could create.

I've saved the worst for last. Scummy butterscotch.

There's nothing I hate more than unwrapping a scrumptious-looking piece of butterscotch and popping it into my mouth, only to find that it's old, scummy, and nasty-tasting.

You can never tell about butterscotch until you actually try it; and once you've done so and discovered you have a bad piece, it totally ruins your butterscotch craving.

It should be a federal law that all pieces of butterscotch should have a freshness date stamped in edible ink on the candy itself. It should also be a crime – preferably punishable by death or dismemberment – for anyone to sell out-of-date (and therefore scummy) butterscotch.

Please understand that I am making a specific distinction here. Chocolate candy is entirely different. You can eat a piece of old chocolate candy long after it goes out of date and never know any better. I once ate a chocolate Easter bunny that had been sitting in the bottom of my refrigerator for five years, and I couldn't tell the difference between it and a chocolate bar I bought yesterday.

But butterscotch is no laughing matter.

I generally put up with the things I despise, because I don't have the resources to implement the necessary changes. But together we can make a difference. 

If we boycott mummy movies, they'll eventually stop making them and the only thing we'll have to fear will be fear itself.

If we imprison crummy people, then everyone we interact with each day will be nice to us. We'll live in harmony with all people, we'll teach the world to sing, and all that other hippie-dippie stuff.

And if we outlaw scummy butterscotch, we'll never have to weather a sweet-tooth craving unfulfilled. We'll all be fat and happy. And what a wonderful world that will be.

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