It started as an accident. In an industrial
area near Mile Square Park, we had discovered
a wholesaler that sold, among other things,
candy at deeply discounted prices. We would
pool the little money we had and buy as much
as we could in bulk: Mike and Ikes, Good &
Plenty, Boston Baked Beans—things like that.
We brought them to school as a substitute for
lunch. One day, Dave Simper offered to buy a
box of Lemonheads for a quarter. After the
transaction, we computed our profit. We were
paying eight cents a box for our candy from the
wholesaler, even after tax. We saw the
possibilities right away.
There was considerable discussion over the
name. Mark wanted to call it Possum Candy for
some reason I’m still unsure of. I think it had
something to do with country singer George
Jones. I wanted Academy Candy Exporters so
our ads would read “ACE.” We sketched out and
presented our logos, cordially dismissing one
another’s ideas. In the end, we went with our
first initials and christened our new company MJ
Candy. I thought my initial should go first,
since it appeared first alphabetically, but I
conceded that JM Candy didn’t quite have the
same ring to it.
Soon, business was booming. We were dealing
out of our backpacks and lockers, in hallways
and in the classroom. Our packs sagged with
the weight of sacksful of change. Even though
our fundraiser wasn’t affiliated with any club or
sport, no authority ever questioned us. In fact,
some of our teachers even bought our candy.
But our best customer was Kyle Bannerman.
We both hated Kyle, even though we had all
been friends in elementary school. Mark and I
had each spent the night at his house at
various and separate times. Kyle came from a
very devout Christian family, very friendly but
austere to the point of near Victorianism. I’m
not sure where or when our falling out occurred,
but when it did, it was complete. We reached a
certain age when there was more of a feeling
than knowledge that Mark and I were different
from Kyle and some of the others. We had been
outclassed and ostracized without being told.
Kyle was on the inside, smug and sure of
himself, throwing his head back in a haughty
laugh as we watched from the sidelines.
Unfortunately for Kyle, he had become addicted
to Mike and Ike, the soft, little fruit-flavored
We didn’t mean to shove the Mike and Ikes up
our asses. It just happened naturally, the way
things sometimes do. It started with run-of-the-
mill business corruption: we skimmed candy off
the top. These were the days before tamper-
proof containers, so it was easy to eat a few
pieces of candy out of each box. Before long,
the packages we were selling had been relieved
of about half their contents.
One day as we were sitting in Mark’s bedroom
preparing our wares for the next day’s sale, we
got to talking about Kyle and what a dick he
was. We knew he loved Mike and Ike, so I
picked up a box that we had already pilfered,
and I told Mark, “I’m going to make Kyle a
special order.” I took a yellow one out, stuck it
under my shirt, rubbed it on my bare armpit
and stuck it back in the box.
Mark’s eyes shone with delight. “That’s a good
idea. Here, give me the box.”
He poured the feeble contents onto his unmade
bed, picked up a red one and stuck it in his
nose. When he released his finger, it fell back
into the pile. “He’s gonna like that one.”
I laughed and stuck one down my pants. I
rubbed it around under my balls, then threw it
in with the others.
Then Mark’s eyes gleamed. I knew what he was
thinking; it was inevitable. He grabbed a piece
of candy from the pile on the bed, got down on
his knees, pulled his pants down around his
thighs, and while bracing himself with one hand
on the bed, bent over and ceremoniously
turned a Mike and Ike into a tiny, green
I gasped with astonishment, shaking with
laughter. Mark solemnly removed the candy
and placed it back into the box.
“Let me do one,” I said. I found another green
one and gave it the rectal treatment. I put that
one back into the box as well.
He then picked up the others from the
bedspread, carefully removing cat hairs before
replacing those, too, into the box.
We sat there in silent reverie until I finally
asked, “How will we know which box it is?”
Mark thought for a second. “Here.” He tore a
little corner off the box top to mark it. “It’s this
The next day in Miss Freeman’s class, I saw the
transaction take place. Kyle sat behind Mark on
the far side of the classroom from my seat—
Mark and I were always separated in any class
we took together; we just couldn’t behave. As
Miss Freeman wrote on the board, I saw the
quarter change hands. I saw Mark double check
to make sure he got the right box to Kyle. I
saw him pass the box over. I saw Kyle place the
box stealthily into the unzipped backpack on his
desk, where he could sneak the candy from box
to mouth without getting caught. Kyle never
got caught doing anything wrong.
Mark gave me a conspiratorial look from across
the room. I could hardly contain my glee, but a
part of me was nervous, too. What if we got
caught somehow? What if Kyle figured out
something was wrong and they tested the
candy for fecal matter? What was the penalty
for shoving a Mike and Ike up your ass and
selling it to someone? I went back to looking at
Miss Freeman’s tits.
Miss Freeman had wonderful tits. They were
huge, and they compensated for the fact that
she was a little on the heavy side. She must
have been in her thirties, never married. Miss
Freeman had been our sixth grade teacher, and
had been moved up to high school to teach
history. That’s how it is in a small, private
school. She was always very kind to us, but
now I couldn’t stop looking at her tits. I never
learned a thing in her class.
Miss Freeman was addressing the class about
something she had written on the board. Kyle
bided his time. When she turned around again,
I saw him make his move. Mark must have
sensed it, because he stiffened in his chair. I
could see Kyle fumbling around in his backpack
while keeping his eyes on the board. He was
apparently trying to get the flap open with one
hand. Now he had something, a piece of candy
between his thumb and index finger. He looked
at it. Was it green? I was too far away. Those
ones would be in the bottom of the box
anyway. He stuck it in his mouth with a
Mark looked solemn and turned his head slowly,
mechanically toward me.
I nodded as if to say, Yes, yes. It is happening.
Mark turned his head back toward the front of
the room. That’s when he began to fall apart. It
started as a barely perceptible movement of his
head. The movement spread to his shoulders,
his stomach, his legs, until his whole body was
convulsing. It wasn’t until he made a choking
sound that Miss Freeman knew something was
“Mark are you okay?” she asked.
Mark tried to compose himself, but he was too
far gone. He just put his head down on the
desk. For my part, I was too nervous now to
find amusement with anything. I sat there
quietly. I saw Kyle surreptitiously move his box
of candy deeper into his backpack with one
“Are you laughing or crying, Mark?”
Mark lifted his head, and though his eyes were
watery, it was evident he hadn’t been crying.
Miss Freeman’s face darkened. “Go stand
outside please, and wait for me after class.”
Mark complied immediately, making the silent
walk in front of his peers. I winced as he shut
the door a little too hard behind him. Miss
Freeman shot me a look before continuing.
As the lesson wore on, I watched Kyle eat his
Mike and Ikes one at a time, savoring each one
for a few seconds before chomping into it. The
box had been greatly diminished by its vendors,
so he was able to finish it before the end of
class. I know because I saw him throw the
depleted container into the trash can by Mark’s
So he had eaten the tainted candy, but there
was no joy in it now for me. My partner had
been banished, and the real satisfaction in
revenge is being able to share it with someone.
The bell finally rang and the class shuffled out.
I sat and waited on the steps outside the door
to be with Mark until he had to face Miss
Freeman. It would probably be another
detention. She finally came out with a grim
expression on her face. Mark and I both stood
up, and I turned to go.
“Wait, Jim. I want you to hear this, too,” she
I turned around, surprised. “Me? How come?”
“I’ve been meaning to talk to you two for quite
some time now,” she continued. “You know, the
Lord has a plan for each and every one of us.”
She put her hands on our shoulders. I felt a
mixture of dread and a strange excitement. Did
she know about the candy? Her right breast
was grazing my arm.
“I see all of you kids growing up every day,”
she said. “Some of you are going to do great
things in life. You’re going to make us all
There was a tingling in my groin. This wasn’t so
bad after all. Then she hit us with it.
“But you two aren’t going anywhere.” We both
“That’s right. You don’t take anything seriously.
You have been handed the world on a platter,
and you waste every chance you get. You are
going nowhere in life and you never will.”
“But I—” I was stunned and ready to distance
myself from Mark.
“I don’t want to hear it, Jim. You may not have
gotten caught this time, but you are just as
guilty as Mark always is. I see nothing but pain
and suffering in the future for both of you, and
that’s what you deserve. You reap what you
I could no longer speak. I tried to fight them
back, but tears were filling my eyes. Mark just
looked straight ahead, stoically. He had heard
this one before, and he wasn’t going to give her
“Will you boys pray with me?”
What choice did we have?
We bowed our heads. I looked at the concrete
stairs. I have no idea what she said in her
prayer. I’m not sure what was going through
Mark’s mind, but all I remember thinking was
how strange it was. I had absolutely no guilt
over what we had done to Kyle. And now, with
our heads bowed, this teacher I had loved—
lusted after at times, sure, but I had genuinely
loved her, too—she had told me and my best
friend that we were no good.
It felt like guilt, but it wasn’t; it was some new
emotion welling up inside of me that I would
recognize later as a growing resentment,
though against what or whom I couldn’t name.
Ken Elliott is a high school English teacher who grew up in
Orange County, California. He is a veteran of the U.S. Army and
author of a children's book entitled The Wish, published by
Adamo Press. He currently resides in Huntington Beach with his
wife and two yapping Pomeranians.