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Day 25: Halloween

Nebraska is an interesting state. We celebrate normal holidays. Then we add Husker games. Halloween night 2014 was my first holiday experience outside of the usual football extravaganza.

I came into the store at 6:15. I was early. Good thing, too. The MOD (Manager On Duty) clocked me in as soon as she saw me and got me rolling on my first delivery. I got the deliciousness in my car and went through the checklist.

  1. Pizza: Check.
  2. Correct pizza: Check check.
  3. Clipboard: Check again.
  4. Princess hairpin on clipboard: All sparkles.
  5. Child detecting radar system: Ready to rock.

That last piece of equipment comes standard issue to new dads. They insert it somewhere behind your right ear while passed out on the couch at the hospital between diaper changes.

Good thing, too. The kids were thick in the first delivery’s neighborhood.

Cars were packed into every square foot of parking available. Minivans circled each block like buzzards. Kids were flying from house to house. Cold parents waited on the sidewalk; some chatted, some shoveled candy into their mouths.

Then something strange happened. I found convenient parking behind a Burton truck. You know, the one with the life-size dude waving? Creepy. I guess it wasn’t so strange this spot was open. He peers into your soul and waves to your deepest thoughts.Capture

I exited my car and bounded across the street during a lull in the ghoul-traffic. My customer was seated outside. She was ready to hand out goodies. She was also happy to see me. She took the food, signed the receipt and commented on how much she enjoys what we offer. She gave me pretzels from her plastic cauldron. I thanked her.

Two deliveries later, I was at a bottom-floor duplex. A large dog answered the door. I heard him before I saw him. He didn’t have thumbs, so he had to wait for a slave to open the drawbridge to his kingdom. He was huge. His owner gave me a tip. Another man asked if I’d like some candy. I thanked them and took a Whopper.

These are delicious. They are a chocolate covered ball of malt powder. The packages that are handed out over Halloween have three balls in them. They are handy. If you close your teeth behind the first one in the line and tug, the seam at the end will separate, depositing the malt ball on your tongue. NOM NOM.

Or at least it should be nom-tastic. I bit the wrapper, slipped out the first nugget and chewed. I anticipated the malt center. But there was no malt center. It was a nothing center. Hollow. Void. And the outside didn’t taste like chocolate. It tasted like a skittle. It tasted like a skittle that had sat behind that spring below your seat for a couple seasons. You know you’ve tried one, too. DON’T PRETEND YOU HAVEN’T.

I tried to stomach it. I chewed. I tasted. I dug deep, searching with my taste buds for some reason to be wrong about the filth. I didn’t find one. I was right. It was terrible.

I rolled down my window. I spit the vile filthy-skittle chocolate emptiness out as best as I could.  I’m a Gardner. That didn’t go well. It fell between the inside door panel and the felt that guides the glass. At this point I’m driving. I knew it hadn’t left the car all the way. Again, I’m a Gardner. Rather than leave my window up and check later, I start rolling my window up and down to see if there are streaks on the glass. No streaks. I was safe.

The other two were delicious. They were a welcome relief from what had just happened. YUCKY. ( I did get it fished out later.)

I talked with Merc and Scotch later. I asked if they had gotten any candy. (Scotch is our full-blood Scottish delivery driver.) Both said no.

I said that I had been given two treats so far.

“That’s because you look like a little boy,” Scotch said.

It sounded like, “Thot’s becooz yeh luke like a lettle buoy.”

Love that guy.

Went back to the Project on another delivery. Different family this time. They had a meal of pizza with a side of pizza type stuff.

The pizza type stuff was made for ninjas. It hid in the bag and jumped out. It caught me by surprise, as most ninja paraphernalia should.

The sound of cardboard hitting a solid floor is harsh. It is almost akin to the sound of cell phones hitting the floor.

“Oh no, our sugar-laden carb treat!” the customer said.

I looked down. It had landed on the lid.

“We might be ok. Let’s check it, let’s check it,” I said. I retrieved the box with care and turned it right-side up. I opened the lid. The customer’s gave the green light. We were good to go. Crisis averted.

All in all, it was a HOPPING holiday. I did a LOT of deliveries. My tips were above average. They were also below expectations. $53. Every cent I earn is one less cent owed. Rock on. Debt is going to DIE.



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