It started with the Boy.
Our children had been alone for an hour. That wasn’t enough time for them to demolish the house or transmit secret messages to the KGB, but plenty of time for something else.
Something more creative.
We found the 14-year-old lying on the kitchen floor, mouth open, eyes closed, flour rubbed under his nose.
Walking in on a teenager staging a cocaine overdose is hilarious, right?
“Nice one, kid,” I said as I reached to help him up. He didn’t respond. “Excellent follow-through.”
Teenagers are a special type of crazy. Not the kind a person can predict, like a super villain who just wants to take over the world. They’re more like a squirrel high on Coke and Pop Rocks.
And by “Coke” I meant the cola.
“You’d better hope you didn’t eat any raw flour,” I told him. “It can cause explosive diarrhea.”
That got him up.
We expected our “teen faking a coke overdose” incident to fade into the category of anecdotes told at family gatherings or maybe to a defense lawyer.
We were wrong.
A week later, as I pushed a shopping cart up the baking aisle of our local grocery store, the Preschooler pointing at every item that featured a cartoon character on the package (who knew Disney princesses were the perfect spokesmodels for corn starch?), we reached the flour and things got interesting.
“Why we stoppin’, Daddy. The chocolate chips are over there.”
Once a child is in preschool, nothing slips by them. They’d make great undercover cops if it weren’t for all the giggling.
“We need flour, kiddo.”
I grabbed a bag and a blast of white dusted my hand. With a bag held together by glue less sticky than the paper it’s attached to, the grocery industry apparently isn’t worried about anyone tampering with flour. I guess because it’s used to cut illegal drugs, not the other way around.
“Hey,” the Preschooler said, pointing at the back of my hand. “That looks like cocaine.”
The next few moments went by in slow motion.
The smile on our 4-year-old’s face grew bigger.
I futilely attempted to wipe off the evidence as the woman standing nearby scowled disapprovingly at me. Hey, lady, you try to parent these kids and see how sane you stay.
“She has older siblings,” I said, hoping that would clear things up and keep me from looking like the kind of parent who lives in Florida.
Then it was over. No drug dogs. No SWAT team. I wasn’t escorted out by store security.
Not that I had anything to worry about, really. I have a rock-solid legal defense; I’m a teacher. There’s no way I could afford a cocaine habit.
Jason Offutt’s newest book, “Chasing American Monsters: 251 Creatures, Cryptids, and Hairy Beasts,” is available at jasonoffutt.com.