October 24, 2020

Trick or Treat

posted on: Thursday November 5, 2015

by David Martineau ’18

Portfolio Staff

Halloween was over, but Liam Johnson’s excitement had only just begun. Sitting on the rug in his living room, still wearing his Darth Vader costume, seven-year-old Liam was rifling through his massive bag of Halloween candy, painstakingly gathered over the course of two dozen houses. There were chocolate bars, gummy bears, licorice, and even candy canes (from those who liked to start Christmas early). Liam had poured out the entire bag on the rug, making a pile that stood chest high when he sat next to it. It was like a mountain torn right out of Candyland, a brightly colored smorgasbord of sugary sweetness just waiting to be devoured.

Liam examined the pile closely, carefully choosing which piece of candy he was going to consume first. There were so many choices—sweet and sour, crunchy and chewy, coconut and caramel and lollipops and bubble gum. It was almost too much…almost.

Reaching deep into the pile like a pirate in search of treasure, Liam grabbed the first piece of candy he laid his fingers on, which turned out to be a miniature chocolate bar filled with caramel and nougat. Ripping off the wrapping paper, he stuffed the chocolate into his mouth and chewed greedily, sighing happily as the taste of sugar filled his mouth.

Nearby, his mother was watching with a smile.  “Only a few, Liam,” she said,“You don’t want to run out on the first night.”

Liam nodded, though he wasn’t listening, and soon after he had wolfed down four more pieces of candy. His mother walked over and began putting away the rest, grabbing handfuls and putting them back in his Halloween bag. “That’s enough for tonight,” she said, “You can have a few more tomorrow.”

“Aw, c’mon mom, just one more,” Liam pleaded, “It’s still Halloween.”

She smiled briefly, letting him have one more piece. “But that’s it for tonight,” she warned.

Grumbling unhappily, Liam quickly removed his costume. After watching a little TV, he brushed his teeth, jogged up the stairs, and went to bed. That night, all he dreamt about was candy. Chocolate and caramel danced through his head like sugar plums at Christmas. When he woke up the next morning he could almost feel his mouth watering.

He was playing his video games when his mother stuck her head into his room. “Liam, honey,” she said, “I have to go run some errands. I’ll be back soon.”

“Okay,” he said, not taking his eyes off the screen.

“Don’t eat too much candy while I’m gone,” she said, nodding towards the bag beside Liam’s bed before she left. Liam waited until he heard the door close behind her. Then his eyes drifted over to the bag of candy. Well, he thought, One isn’t that many.

The first piece he ate was a snack-sized Butterfinger. It tasted so delicious as it went down that he quickly grabbed another. After that one, he reached for a third, and then a fourth. Numbers five and six followed. Soon he had reached 10, and then 20. He felt a pleasant buzzing in the back of his head as he tossed piece after piece of candy into his mouth. His lips became smeared with sugar and chocolate as he consumed more and more candy. He was in heaven. Why on Earth did his mother think eating candy was such a bad idea? If he could, Liam would eat three meals a day of candy for the rest of his life.

When he reached 50 pieces of candy, Liam began to feel…odd. He ignored it at first, thinking that he might be eating slightly too fast. Slowing down, he turned
back to his video games, but kept sticking his hand into the bag and popping candy into his mouth. A pile of open wrappers accumulated on the floor beside him, growing and growing as he ate more and more. Now his stomach was starting to feel a little queasy. He didn’t know why. He had slowed down his eating enough, hadn’t he? Maybe he should stop. But the candy was just too good, so he didn’t.

When his mother came back from her errands, she walked into Liam’s room to check on him. She found him lying on his bed, chocolate smeared all over his cheeks, wrappers strewn on the blankets all around him. Shaking her head, she said, “Now what do we have here?”

A groan escaped Liam’s lips and he turned his head to look at her. “Oh, mom,” he said softly, “I feel terrible. I should have listened to you.”

Chuckling, his mother began to pick up the wrappers lying around her son. “I guess now you know what ‘trick or treat’ really means,” she said.

Liam nodded. “I’m never gonna eat another piece of candy again,” he said.

His mother shook her head. “Somehow,” she said, “I highly doubt that…”

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