There’s No Such Thing As Free Popcorn

Zoe and Esmerelda loved going to the movies. They loved sitting in the dim, yawning theater, waiting for the show to start. They loved watching the giant people on the screen. And they loved, loved, loved stuffing their bellies full of popcorn.

One Saturday afternoon while at the movies, as the lights started to dim, a bucket full of their crunchy favorite caught their eye. It was sitting all alone at the foot of the seat next to them, and they couldn’t resist snatching a bite.

First, the girls looked both ways to make sure the bucket’s owner wasn’t making way to claim it. Then Zoe slumped down in her seat and let her hand dangle slyly into the bucket. She felt the popcorn brush her eager fingers, scooped a generous handful, and stuffed the bundle into her mouth.

Crunch, crunch, crunch. Zoe closed her eyes and let the taste of salt and butter spread through her. She passed a handful to Esmerelda. Mmmmm.

All through the movie their hands kept moving from that bucket to their mouths. And as the movie ended, Zoe found the last three kernels at the very bottom of the bucket. A perfect end to a perfect day.

The lights came on in the theater, and the audience filed out as the cleaning crew came in. Zoe and Esmerelda sat back, waiting for the crowd to clear, and watched the workers clean quickly, sweeping each aisle. The girls noticed something that caught their attention.

Each dusty popcorn pile that the crew collected was swept into a dustpan and emptied into a big bucket. And that bucket looked just like the one they had swiped all that popcorn from just moments ago.

Zoe and Esmerelda looked at each other. Their eyes grew wide as a worker walked past them and put the slop bucket down at the foot of the seat next to them. They peered into it and saw hundreds of tiny buttery bits of popcorn trash, and they knew that was exactly what they had eaten.

They felt sick thinking about what lay inside their bloated bellies. Dirty icky sticky stuff! And they had savored every bite!

Zoe and Esmerelda slunk out of the theater, their heads down, their hands holding their middles. And as soon as they got home, they brushed their teeth.

There’s No Such Thing As Free Popcorn

NOLAlphabet

New Orleans, United States

  • Artist
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Artist's Description

Two friends find out the hard way why honesty is the best policy.

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