We were beside ourselves. Every time a lunch disappeared (or was smashed on the floor) we had to share the four lunches we still had among six of us--so we all went hungry. And, unlike some seventh grade girls I could mention, who wore fashionable mini-dresses and had feathered hair and boyfriends--we all had braces and pigtails, were very passionate about our stuffed animals, and really, really liked to eat. My 67-lb sister could eat 12 tacos at one sitting. Helen could put away a box of Fudge Stripes every day after school. I considered a whole bag of potato chips with a container of sour cream a healthy snack, and Emily, who weighed even less than my sister, could go through a gallon of ice cream in one slumber party. Our parents used to wonder about parasitic worms.
The thief definitely did not target us for our high-quality lunches, either--the ones he stole were only fractionally better than the Wasa bread and port wine cheese. We all had feminist '70s moms: they loathed housework, cooking, and shopping, and they made us pack our own lunches starting in like, first grade. My mom gave us week-old leftover chicken legs, which sometimes made me throw up; Montana’s mom was experimenting with algae; Helen’s parents were in the middle of a divorce, so she usually had cold pizza; Amy usually had a Thermos of macrobiotic tofu casserole, and Emily brought the same PB & J every day.
A few weeks after our food started disappearing, everyone's lunch (except Samantha's!) was gone on the same day. We were miserably sharing four soggy Wasa Bread and Port Wine cheese slabs among six people (even though they had been stepped on) when Helen dropped her tiny portion of Wasa Bread and gasped:
She knew it was her sandwich, because her mom had just made spelt bread, and the inside was sprouts and leftover turkey pot pie. Despite the fact that Garrett was nearly six feet tall in the seventh grade, shaved, and wore all black leather, Helen (she had guts!) walked up right up to him and said,
“Hey! That’s my spelt bread, spouts and leftover turkey pot pie sandwich!”
At lunch on Monday, the booby-trapped lunches were gone, right on schedule. We retrieved our real lunches from deep inside our book bags, where they were flattened but intact (room temperature chicken legs never looked so good!)
It only took one round of cat food sandwiches, and our food never disappeared again.
If this happened now--there would be emails! Meetings with mental health professionals! New school policies concerning booby-trapped sandwiches and allergies! Probably Garrett’s parents would have sued us for feeding him cat food and fish paste, and we would have all gotten detention for bullying.
At least our little group tried to teach him it’s wrong to steal--even from geeks.