The Hidden Sin Behind Candy Corn
by Michael K. Reynolds
This became clear to me as a fifth grader many years ago. I loved candy corns. I would eat them one at a time, starting by biting off the white tip, then the orange center and finally chasing it down with the yellow base. I was convinced each color had its own distinct flavor.
One day when Mom took me to the grocery store, I was bored and wandered off alone to the candy aisle to window shop the sweet life.
When I arrived at the candy corn shelf, with each of those bags stacked so voluptuously, I wondered if it would really matter if I took just a few of those beauties to taste. It wouldn’t hurt anybody. Nobody would know.
After ensuring there was no one watching, I pierced a corner of one of the plastic bags with my fingers, grabbed a few pieces and then got out of Dodge as if the warm breath of the blood hounds could be felt on the nape of my neck.
As it happens with any crime of passion, this initial breach of integrity amplified and continued for several months, as I got bolder and took larger handfuls. Sometimes I would sample from several bags. Nothing tasted better than those sumptuous pyramids and the addictive adrenalin rush of my pilfering erased the boredom of shopping for groceries.
When you have the mind of a criminal, you believe it’s not stealing if you don’t get caught.
That reasoning came to a halt one day when I looked up after my usual sleight of hand to see an assistant manager wearing a grocer’s apron round the aisle and come storming toward me.
To this day I’m not sure how he apprehended such a cunning larcener. This was before video cameras, close circuit television and DNA evidence. Perhaps they had my photograph pinned on the office cork board with the words, “Candy Corn Bandit” written across it. I suppose just like any repeat offender, you get overconfident, you get sloppy and you make a mistake.
He told me he should call the police, but he chose crueler punishment. He said, “Where’s your mother?”
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