Youâ€™ve seen the bowls filled with self-serve candies. They frequent all sorts of offices and workplaces around the country.
The Collegian has one.
Unlike most candy bowls, the one here isnâ€™t made of frosted, textured glass, opting instead for red, dollar-store plastic. Unlike the candies that usually fill them, these arenâ€™t inedible.
This bowl doesnâ€™t have candy corn carbon-dated back to the first Halloween, or the sticky strawberry-flavored candies made to look like dome-shaped fruit, or stale M&Ms somehow melted together into one big pile or homemade taffy wrapped in wax paper.
Itâ€™s the good stuff, and itâ€™s on co-sports editor Kim Andersonâ€™s desk.
She has a grab bag of individually wrapped snack size candy bars. Most of the ones in her bowl are Snickers. At the expense that I might sound like Iâ€™m on the Mars Bar payroll, I love Snickers.
I snagged one. Hungry, having not had breakfast that day, I practically inhaled it.
â€œJust one more,â€ I told myself, as I reached around the ever-on-task Kim. I donâ€™t think she would have noticed if I hadnâ€™t reached between her and her phone cord in my haste to get to the bowl.
Dodging her sideways glare, I grabbed another.
â€œI donâ€™t mind you having a few,â€ she said, looking at me in a way that said she minded if I had a few. â€œJust donâ€™t take all of them.â€
Feeling a little guilty, I put it back in the bowl. Really, I tossed it over her head, where it hit her monitor and rebounded onto the desk beside the bowl.
â€œNot after youâ€™ve touched it,â€ she said, raising her voice just a little. â€œJust take it.â€
I put up some show of shock and disdain. And then I take the still-sealed candy back. I eat it, a little slower this time. I think I even remembered to take off the wrapper.
I avoid even looking in the direction of the bowl until half an hour later, when she leaves for whatever reason. I happen to glance back, and I see it, beckoning me.
Hastily, so nobody else around notices, I grab just one more, carefully peeling off the wrapper in such a way that it doesnâ€™t draw attention. I look around, making sure nobody sees my last deceit.
Opening up the wrapper, I put the chocolate goodness in my mouth, prepared to savor it for some time.
But somethingâ€™s wrong. No peanuts. No caramel. Just fluffy, inconsequential, greyish filling.
I look down at the wrapper, and know terror for the first time in my life.
Last time I steal from her bowl.