Another academic year was over. July and August had come quickly and we were home again while our parents worked. My sisters and I spent most of these free days doing household chores, watching re-runs of Star Trek and generally other nonsense that kept us glued to the television. Still, boredom will set in. There are only so many shows to watch and only so many books one can read before it becomes painful.

Boredom usually meant mischief. Tree climbing only diverted us for so long. We were feeling a wee bit peckish and there were no snacks so we decided to make our own. Popcorn is always an easy fix. Candied popcorn? Now that was something else. It wasn’t too difficult. I had the basic idea. The popcorn had to be prepared. Some of it burned but that was fine. We ate it anyway. All I had to do was make the sticky syrup. Sugar and a few tablespoons of water were added to the saucepan. It began to boil nicely. I had seen mum do this many times when she was making coconut tarts and sugar cake. I lowered the heat and kept checking the consistency of the syrup. Mum always said, once it starts dripping slowly off the spoon with little thread like trails then it’s ready.

We needed food colouring. The only colour we had was blue. So, in went a few drops of blue colouring. The syrup turned a nice turquoise blue. Barking orders to get out of the way, I transferred the pot of blue syrup to the sink and emptied the lot over the popcorn. There was a spoon at the ready and with that I kept turning the popcorn, bottom to top to make sure the popcorn and syrup combined properly.

Finally it was ready. With Marsh and Micky trailing behind me, barely able to contain their excitement, we settled in front of the television with our blue snack. We must have been in front of the television for about ten minutes before the electricity went with a ‘blip’. What to do? We still had half a basin of blue popcorn and no television and since my mother only worked fifteen minutes away from where we lived, that meant that she would be on her way too. No electricity – no work. With fifteen minutes to clean up the scene of the crime, we sprung into action.

Micky was tasked with filling the rest of the popcorn into a plastic bag and taking it to the ravine where she would toss it all in for the fishes. The crusted sugar in the pot and in the basin had to be melted. It would only take two minutes to boil some water and hasten the melting process. Marsh positioned herself outside at the top of the drain to wash away all the crumbs and blue colouring that was coming down the drain.

All dishes were washed and dried and replaced. Three pairs of eyes scanned the kitchen for any incriminating signs of our activities. Satisfied that we were in the clear, we headed out to the pomerac tree and continued our game of hide n’ seek and stick em’ up. Sure enough, there she was and she had a bag in her hand.

We pretended that we didn’t notice her and continued with our game. Mum came to the back and asked what we were doing and with the best poker face we could muster, we simply chimed, “playing”.

“You want to go to the cinema?”

“Yeah!!” And we all ran to get washed up and changed.

She hadn’t gone into the kitchen yet and that’s where we went next. Traipsing behind her like a trio of audacious puppies, we pretended that we were interested in what was in the bag. We already knew. There were snacks.

Mum hadn’t seen anything. She never noticed anything – except – wait a minute – the colouring wasn’t where it was before and there was a clear ring of blue on the white stove top where the bottle cover was placed. I leaned my elbow against the counter and just wiped it off. Once mum had left the kitchen, the bottle was placed where it always was, right behind the bottles of spices.

We went to see our movie and by the time we got home the electricity had come back. Mission accomplished with no casualties. I don’t think mum ever knew. I don’t think we ever told her. But she knows now. Unfortunately for her, she can’t chase us around the house anymore.

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