Erica Lucke Dean

"Making the world a better place, one book at a time."

it's just a little chocolate

I think it might be time for an intervention.

No, I’m not drinking wine again. Although, a glass of wine might not be a bad idea. My problem is chocolate. I love chocolate. I have often lobbied for chocolate to be considered as a separate food group. It’s sort of good for you even…if you take it in small doses. But when you find yourself skipping entire meals so you can have extra chocolate, you might just have a problem. I’ve even contemplated switching to sugar-free chocolate.

And then I remembered why that would be a very bad idea.

I was very excited a few years back, when the candy manufacturers came out with sugar free chocolates—specifically, sugar free peanut butter cups—because my favorite food combination in the whole wide world is chocolate and peanut butter. 

This was around the time just before my husband and I got married, so we were still in the perfect “don’t do anything gross in front of this guy” phase.  It was also during the phase when I was most conscious about my appearance.  So of course, I wanted to stay away from all things fattening.  Chocolate was definitely on my bad list.  But sugar free chocolate was way lower in calories, fat, and sugar…so I would be able to eat as much of that as I wanted!

Or so I thought!

I planned to take the kids to an afternoon movie, and before heading to the theater we stopped off at the grocery store to fill my purse with snacks for the show.  I know, bad me, smuggling in candy!  But trust me, karma caught up with me that day!

I was starving! I didn’t have time to get lunch, so the candy and a shared bucket of popcorn would have to hold me over until dinner.  

We settled down in the dark theater and I passed out the snacks to the kids.  We each had our own candy—mine was the sugar free peanut butter cups and another bag of sugar free mini dark chocolate bars.  It was so convenient that the sugar free candy came in the small bags just like the candy they sold in the concession line!  

I ate several hands full of popcorn and munched away on my sugar free candies until my stomach started to feel funny.  It was sort of like when I was pregnant.  It felt like something was moving around in there.  I could feel little flutters like the second trimester kicking of tiny baby feet.  I knew I wasn’t pregnant, so I just ignored it and grabbed another hand full of popcorn and a few more sugar free candies.

I loved the candies.  They didn’t even taste like they were sugar free.  In fact, if I had done a blind taste test, I would have failed miserably, because I couldn’t tell the difference between the diet candy and the real thing.  I had gone through the entire bag of peanut butter cups (it wasn’t a huge bag) and popped open the bag of sugar free chocolate bars when the funny feeling came back.  But this time, it wasn’t funny.  It was painful. 

Whomp…whomp…whomp

That’s what it sounded like.  Whomp…whomp…whomp…as the sensation of a large piston driving fluids through my intestines made me feel like I was a rusty piece of machinery in an old factory.  It felt and sounded like there was a far off chamber being loaded.  I didn’t even want to know with what!

The movie was loud, but I was certain that the sound of the factory piston hammering within me was louder.  Whomp…whomp…whomp…it continued.  I could feel my insides percolating like a coffee maker.  After about thirty minutes, the whomp…whomping slowed down and the seismic activity began.  

I could very distinctly feel the deep rumbling of a distant volcano, and the slow building of a lava river coursing through my already ravaged intestinal tract, and I did NOT want to be in the movie theater when it erupted! 

I kept looking at my watch, and fidgeted in my seat.  The kids told me to be quiet more than once and at that point, it was all I could do not to burst into hysterics as I was not making a sound, it was my stomach!  It was Cirque du Soleil in there!  

That was when I looked at the empty bag of candy and used the light from my cell phone to read the fine print on the back.  “Serving size 5 pieces…” and further down the bag, “Individuals sensitive to sugar substitutes may experience a laxative effect.”

I was going to be in very big trouble!

After what seemed like days, the movie finally ended.  I scooped up my purse and the kids and ran out of the theater as fast as I could.  My stomach was bubbling and rolling like a boiling pot of chili.  Once we were outside, the kids could hear the noises my insides were making, and their faces told me that they were horrified. 

“What is THAT?” My daughter asked me.

“I don’t know.”  I whispered my honest answer.  Because I honestly didn’t know.  I was almost ready to call an Exorcist.  My stomach was speaking in tongues and it was telling us to “Get Out!”

We piled into the car so I could race home.  At this point, I knew the eruption was imminent, and I wanted to be home when it happened. 

I don’t know any other way to describe what happened next.  I was no sooner buckled into my seat when the next phase started.  It was as if someone was blowing bubbles inside of me. 

Glass bubbles. 

And as the delicate glass bubbles came in contact with the walls of my intestines, they shattered and sent millions of tiny glass fragments everywhere.  And they hurt.  A lot!  Wave after wave of glass bubbles splintered inside me, until I was in a full blown state of hysterics.  I know I must have a sick sense of humor, because as horrible as it was, I found it immensely funny. Or maybe it was just nervous laughter.  It felt as if my insides were liquefying, and I was terrified that it was not far from the truth.   As the glass bubbles got more and more frequent, the whomp…whomp…whomping…was back.  As each glass bubble burst, the piston loaded with a resounding shudder, and my stomach growled and roared like a circus lion.  The kids were laughing (and holding their noses) because it was clear that I was only moments away from what could be my most embarrassing moment ever!  I have often said that I only run when being chased (specifically by zombies) but I was prepared to make a run for it when and if I made it home!

I did make it home finally, and made it to the bathroom in what would be the nick of time, as they say.  I won’t elaborate on the final blast of Mt. Saint Sugar Free, but I will tell you that after almost an hour in the bathroom with my soon to be husband standing outside the door asking me if I was going to live,  I will never, ever, EVER make that mistake again! 

I will, however, reserve the right to switch the wrappers on the sugar free candies to share them with an unsuspecting ex-husband if the need should ever arise.  Which I’m sure it never will…

Until the next time…I’ll be eating my chocolate the old fashioned way…au naturalle!

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