A Moral Victory

Story #03 for the Story A Day Challenge May 2016
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03 A Moral Victory s

A Moral Victory

They’re everywhere, Tina thought, picking up a package of Circus Peanuts. (She calls them all Circus Peanuts even though more than one company makes the candies and names them differently.) She squished one through the bag. Oh, it’s so soft and fresh. They practically melt in your mouth, all that sugar and orange-y food coloring.

It’s just not fair, Tina sighs. I can avoid them by not going down the candy aisle in the grocery store, but in these other places, they are right near the registers. Why do all these other stores carry them? Tractor Supply, really? I can’t even buy bird seed without being tempted with candy? Cabela’s, too? What do Circus Peanuts have to do with farming and hunting? It’s even worse at Jo-Ann’s Fabrics and Crafts. That big long checkout lane where you have to wait for the next cashier. They make me linger with the candy right there at fingertip level. If I could speed past it, I’d be fine, but that is never the case.

Maybe if stores had a checkout stand just for diabetics, Tina thought, or people on restricted diets, or people with no willpower (I’m talking to you, little gray-haired old lady in the mirror), that’d be great. They could stock those shelves with non-sugary stuff, like, oh, maybe cute little notebooks and pens, key chains, camouflaged letter openers, or battery-heated socks. Something, anything other than candy.

Tina moved up in line, Circus Peanuts in hand. I’ll buy this bag and just eat a few. Sure, I can throw the rest away.

Tina is lying to herself, and she knows it.

In the car, she fastens her seat belt and opens the bag of Circus Peanuts, pops one in her mouth before driving out of the parking lot. Oh, oh, so soft. Good thing I got the small bag.

One by one, on the short drive home, the Circus Peanuts disappear from the bag into her mouth. She tries to make them last, saying, “Only one until I pass the big oak tree on the corner. Can’t have the next one until I’m past the STOP sign.”

By the time she arrives at her house, Tina is sick with the sugar overload. But that doesn’t stop her from eating them, no. She puts away the groceries and the bird seed and finally decides enough is enough. She takes the bag and goes outside to throw the remaining candy into the compost pile. She looks down at the bag, reeling from too much sugar, but still tempted. Walking towards the compost pile, she sneaks another candy peanut into her mouth.

She walks faster. Eats another candy. Starts trotting. Pops another one in. Her increased speed is matched by the speed of eating the candy. The faster she nears the compost pile, the faster she stuffs the candy into her mouth. For the last little bit, she sprints, clutching a candy in her hand as a reward for arriving at her destination so quickly.

Finally she reaches the mound and flings the remaining two candies away from her. And that, she announces silently to herself, is what you call a moral victory. I said I wouldn’t eat the whole bag and I didn’t. 

Turning back towards the house, Tina sees a squirrel near the bird feeder, watching her.

“What are you looking at?” Tina asks, her words unintelligible, muffled by a mouth full of candy. “I left you some. Don’t complain.

[Note: This also works with potato chips and those baked cheese fish-shaped thingies. The squirrel loves them, too.]

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