Friday, March 26, 2010

The Great Vanderbilt Cookie Heist

It all began on a cold, rain soaked evening. Evaluating the “frizziness” potential that my hair was contemplating, I tied the mess into uneven braids and furrowed my brow in the mirror. What was I to make myself for late dinner … or lunch … or midnight snack.. whatever it was called when I opened my lunch box at 1:30 am?

Oh the possibilities …

After much deliberating, I settled on a frozen Stoffers’ lasagna, fresh blueberries, a kiwi, Pringles, and soft homemade – like Publix cookies – three of them to be exact. I exhaled a sigh of relief as I zipped up my green lunch box. The hardest decision that I will have made all evening had been settled. I could now go to work in peace.

With thoughts of babies, co-workers, and possibly getting a free cone from Ben and Jerry’s, I wandered through the halls of the children’s hospital, making my way to the back elevator.

Success! Someone had seen me coming and held the elevator door open. This trims one minute off my journey so I can sit on the couch in the break room and daydream until I must put my brain to work.

Once again smiling, I made my way around the corner of the break room. I stop and evaluate my seating potential as my smile slowly fades. Two people have made home on the couch. Oh well. I choose a chair in the middle of the room and settle myself to wait until 6:40.

The ice cream cones do look good! I find myself staring at someone’s ice cream. They give me a funny look and I quickly look away. Maybe Ben and Jerry's will have "Half-baked" downstairs.

A voice startles me from my thoughts.

“Jenny, are these your blue berries?” A girl holds up a bag of blue berries in front of me.

How did my co-worker know I brought blue berries? Are my lunches that predictable?

I perform a quick assessment of my lunch bag which was unfortunately open.

“Yes, I suppose so. Thank you for finding them.”

She nods and sits down.

I looked through my lunch box again. I had been fortunate, it appeared as if the rest of the contents were still in their proper places. Then my stomach drops.

The cookies. My most favorite part of my meal. So important that I eat only two cookies at lunch, and save the last glorious morsel until my 5 am snack.

“Crap. Has anyone seen my cookies?” I speak out loud. A few people laugh. I explain my unfortunate predicament. Someone reminds me that at least I have most of my lunch. A month previous I had dropped my entire lunch outside of my house and I didn’t notice until the break room.

I have to give them that. “True,” I respond.

Three people walk past the fridge, and one has heard my dilemma.

“Hey Jenny, I saw some chocolate cookies on the floor in the hallway before you turn to go to the back elevators on the 2nd floor.”

My spirits lift. These must be my cookies! They are on the exact path that I took to get to the break room. I move to get up and someone asks me if I am really going to get the cookies.

“Of course. They are part of my lunch. If they are still in the bag they are quite fine.” I straighten myself up and get a few well wishes. I am going to get my cookies back.

As I leave the break room, I pass some new comers.

“Have you seen my chocolate cookies?” I ask.

“Yep!” They all respond. They described the same spot as my co-worker had earlier, and one mentioned that they had been tempted to pick them up.

“I am glad you didn’t,” I laughed. “Those are some pretty good cookies!”

If only I had known the outcome of my search, I might have chosen my words more carefully.

I jump into the first elevator and my pulse quickens. I would be reunited with my cookies!

I exit the elevators on the 2nd floor. More co-workers are coming up the hall. I ask them if my cookies are still around the corner.

They laugh.

“Are those your cookies? They are just right around the corner.” Another points down the hall.

Just a few more steps. My pace evolves into a jog. As a reach the corner, I peer down the new hall.

I frantically search the floor.

They aren’t there!

I take a few more steps to the main hall of Children’s Hospital, “Main Street” and appraise both ways.

I must have only been a few seconds behind the culprit’s heist. Assuming that it was probably a child, I looked for a little one enjoying my cookies.

That’s when I see it. A man in a janitor’s jumpsuit is meandering down the hall, with his hand in my cookie bag!

I manage a weak “hey!” until my mind gets better of me and I decide that I don’t want my cookies after his hand has tainted them.

Mopey and defeated, I lean against the wall watching the passerbys. Those cookies had been so soft. I had even been planning to warm them in the microwave to achieve absolute perfection.

Through the fog have memories that had been, I see a friend walking toward me and she smiles.

That is when I remember the free ice cream! With a jump to my step I walk toward her and ask her if she wants to get ice cream with me.

A little confused, she agrees. I explain that a man that had accidentally stolen my cookies had offered to pay for my ice cream in exchange.

We walk up to the line and she points out the sign.

“But Jenny, it says that anyone can get a free cone today.”

“I know, but I can dream, right?”

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