Don’t you have enough books?
Haven’t you gone to see enough movies?
Don’t you have enough books?
Haven’t you gone to see enough movies?
Once there was a baker who was so tired that she mixed all her ingredients up and somehow ended up baking oatmeal raisin cookies that were alive. They didn’t have arms and legs like the little gingerbread boy from the story, so they didn’t get up and run away.
Instead, they sat and watched her with their little raisin eyes, and shrieked in terror if she stood too close. So, she left them to cool and left to make another batch. She was more careful with the second batch, and the cookies were perfectly normal.
She picked one up. No shrieking. She bit into it. There was a lot of screaming, but it was coming from the other side of the room.
The baker put the nice, normal cookie down with a sigh, and turned to face the terrified cookies still cooling on the cookie sheet.
“I’m not going to eat you,” she said. “I don’t eat anything that can ask me not to eat it.”
“Please don’t eat us,” the cookies said at once.
“I won’t. There. See? Everything is fine.” She stepped closer. The cookies watched her, but didn’t yell.
“So you’ll let us go?” one of the cookies asked.
“Go where?” the baker looked around the room. “Where would you go?”
“Someplace safe for cookies,” the cookie said.
The baker thought for a moment. Was there a place like that? “You know, the shelf life for cookies isn’t very good, but I could probably freeze you for up to a year.” She brought the cookies over to the freezer and set them inside. “See?”
“Too cold!” the cookies said.
“Well, then you’ll probably only last a week or so. That’s not long.”
“Can you take us to see the world?” one of the cookies asked.
“The world? In a week?”
And that is why the baker ended up sneaking a briefcase full of cookies into the movie theater. When the lights went out, she opened it on her lap and turned it to face the screen. She shushed the cookies when one of them started to talk, and they soon settled in to watch the film.
She had to close the briefcase a few times when someone passed by, but overall, the movie was a success. The trip to the library was less so. The cookies were completely unimpressed by the shelves of books.
“I don’t hear any stories,” one of the cookies said.
“I don’t see any stories,” another said.
The baker closed the briefcase and left the library. At the art museum, they were checking bags, so she turned and left without the cookies seeing anything at all. When she got back to her car, they were very disappointed, and complained loudly until she closed the briefcase again.
In the park, a dog ran up to the briefcase, barking and wagging his tail. The baker barely managed to close the briefcase before the dog ate any of the cookies. It was a very close call.
“We don’t want to see the world any more,” the cookies decided. “Let’s go back to the movies.”
The baker took a week off, and spent most of it at the movies with a briefcase full of living oatmeal raisin cookies. The cookies had many interesting questions about the movies they watched. They didn’t really understand the idea of fiction, and believed that every story they watched was completely true.
And so, after a film about a magical world, the cookies had many questions about magic. “Can we do magic?” one asked.
“Maybe,” the baker said. “Talking cookies already sounds kind of magical to me.”
The cookies began to whisper. They muttered to each other through the next two movies, but refused to tell her what they were talking about. The baker was a little nervous.
Everything seemed well when she covered them with a tea towel and left them on the counter that evening. She checked the movie schedule for the next day, and made a plan for what to see. The cookies probably only had a few good days left.
She paused to wonder what the effects of mold would be on the poor cookies. Would it make them lose their memories, or would they suddenly be angry or act like zombies? What would zombie cookies act like?
She never found out. The cookies were gone in the morning. Had they been eaten? Had they figured out magic and used it to transport themselves somewhere else? Maybe they started to mold a little early, and mold made talking cookies disappear?
The baker missed the cookies, but was rather relieved that she didn’t have to deal with zombie cookies. She really didn’t want to know what happened to someone bit by a zombie cookie.
After the cookies left, the baker was much more careful when she cooked, especially when she was tired. She also started watching more movies on her days off. And she never ate another oatmeal raisin cookie again. Even if they didn’t talk, it still felt like the raisins were watching her.
“Guess what?” Charlie said at dinner.
“You lost a tooth?” Isaac guessed.
“You did well on the math test?” Marianne guessed.
Charlie smiled. “Well, yes. But that’s not what I was thinking about. Guess again.”
“You’re wearing your lucky socks?”
Charlie shook his head at Isaac’s guess. “Nope. Do you give up?”
Isaac and Marianne nodded.
“I get to write an essay about my favorite movie. I need to watch it again for research. I have a list of things to watch for. Can we watch it together after dinner?”
Marianne smiled. “I can, but your dad has some paperwork he was planning to do.”
“If Charlie needs help with his schoolwork…” Isaac began.
“I think we can handle it,” Marianne said. “Let me know if you need any help.”
After dinner, Marianne and Charlie popped some popcorn and took pens and papers and the list to the living room. Isaac put off the paperwork a little bit longer by doing the last of the dishes. But, when he heard the movie start, he knew he couldn’t put it off any longer.
He trudged over to his desk and sat down. It was his least favorite part of the week. But he’d agreed to be in charge of the paperwork when he and Marianne divided up chores as newlyweds. Allergies prevented him from doing yard work, so Marianne really had the harder list of things to do.
He hummed along with the soundtrack of the movie, imagining the scenes as he worked. Slowly he worked through the bills and such for the week. As long as he regularly kept up on it, it really wasn’t so bad. It was just really, really boring.
He checked income versus expenditures and compared it against their budget. Things were going well. He could even add a little extra to savings. Having a little extra in savings always made him nervous. It seemed to attract trouble.
Marianne thought this was a ridiculous idea. She said that trouble would come, no matter what, and weren’t they lucky that they always seemed to have just enough in savings to cover it? Perhaps Charlie’s lucky socks were more powerful than they guessed?
It looked like he was going to finish up in time to catch the ending of the movie. Isaac filed things away with extra focus. He was so intent on his work, that when he heard a knockg on the sliding glass door near his desk, he jumped.
He turned and looked through the door. There was a kangaroo in the backyard. Isaac blinked.
It was still there. Why was there a kangaroo in the backyard? Did it escape a zoo? And why was it knocking on the back door? Was that normal behavior for kangaroos?
Isaac stood up and walked over to the door. He opened it, but not wide enough for the kangaroo to go inside without permission. “Hello. How can I help you?”
“I was passing through, and I wondered if I can graze in your backyard? The trip home is a bit long, and I only brought a tucker bag.”
The kangaroo held up his paws. “No worries, I can find somewhere else.”
Isaac shook his head. “No, you are welcome to graze here. I just wasn’t expecting you.”
The kangaroo chuckled. “Too right, I’m not your normal kangaroo.”
Isaac raided the vegetable drawer and fruit bowl. The kangaroo stood by the door, telling him which things he’d prefer. Isaac paused at the cupboard. “Would you like a water bottle? Can you open one?”
“I’ve got teeth, don’t I? Who needs thumbs?”
Isaac added the water bottle to the pile of food. The kangaroo tucked it into his bag. “Why are you traveling so far away from home?” Isaac asked.
“Haven’t you ever had something that you just felt like you needed to do?” the kangaroo asked.
Isaac glanced at the desk. “Well, I do have paperwork that I was just working on. It isn’t pleasant but it needs to be done.”
The kangaroo clucked. “I don’t think it’s the same thing.”
Isaac shrugged. “It’s not an adventure into the unknown in order to find myself or the meaning of life, but it is a way for me to take care of the people and things that are important to me. It can be difficult, but it’s worth it to me.”
The kangaroo nodded slowly. “Maybe you do understand.”
Isaac shrugged. “You don’t always have to leave home to learn the important things. The lessons can find you when you’re ready for them.”
The kangaroo nodded again and turned to leave. With a thump, thump, thump he’d bounded away and was gone. Isaac closed the door.
He finished filing away the last few bills and left out the things he would put in the mail on his way to work. The soundtrack to the dinosaur movie got louder and he could hear roaring. He’d finished working just in time to watch his favorite scene. He smiled, turned out the lights and left the room to join Charlie and Marianne in the living room. He hoped they saved him some popcorn.