In retrospect, the sundae had been a bad idea.
A very bad idea.
Timothy was normally a ball of energy, and on a good day, Seth could keep up with him without much trouble. But with sugar thrown into the mix, along with the natural high of a celebration, the second grader was practically bursting at the seams with hyper, hey look a shiny thing can we go over there please please please oh wait another one that way let's go that way come on Seth energy. The teen found himself practically running from one booth to the other, holding onto Timothy's candy with the hand that wasn't being dragged across the square. Luckily, the boy hadn't had any of that yet; that had been the deal for the sundae. He could only have the dessert if he promised not to eat any candy, at all, until tomorrow, when with any luck he'd be too tired to care.
Seth knew that was a little much to hope for. But in any case, the deal had been struck, and now Timothy was an inch away from literally bouncing off walls. He wondered, not for the first time, how the second grader seemed to have a sense for picking the food item off of any menu with the highest sugar content. It was like a superpower or something, and considering Timothy was the town's youngest superhero, it very well might have been.
“Hey Seth, facepainting! Come on come on come on!” Seth almost lost his purple wizards hat as Timothy switched directions, this time headed for the pet shop.
“Slow down!” Seth tried to reign in his charge, with little luck. “It's not going anywhere.”
“Come on!” It was like trying to stop a freight train one handed. Timothy dragged his babysitter across the street to the pet shop's multicolored windows, which this month featured a family of black cats on a series of successively smaller pumpkins, with the message “Happy Halloween” scrawled across the scene in big, jagged letters. A scarecrow with a crooked hat sat outside the door in a folding chair, holding a sign labeled “Free Face Painting” in a similar font. Timothy pulled to a stop in front of him, and glanced around. “Where's Mr. Chase?”
The scarecrow shook with silent laughter, and Seth smiled. “I see him.”
“Where?” Timothy looked around again, dragging his supervisor around in a circle as he inspected the scene. “I don't see him.”
“Miles, stop that.” Allie Chase, the town's veterinarian and co-owner of the pet shop, stood in the doorway, trying not to smile as she looked down on her husband. She was dressed as Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, with her hair pulled back in two brown pigtails on either side of her head and a blue dress that came down to just below her knees.
The scarecrow turned his head upwards to face his wife with a grin. “He would've figured it out!”
“Oh!” Timothy looked startled. “Hi, Mr Chase!”
“Hey!” Miles looked back down at Timothy, dropping the pretense of lifelessness with a smile. “Want some facepainting?”
“Yeah!” Timothy jumped up and down at the offer. “I want a dinosaur!”
“Aren't you already a dinosaur?” asked Allie, leaving a trail of red glitter from her shoes as she stepped down onto the sidewalk.
“Yeah, but dinosaurs are cool!”
Miles picked up a three ring binder full of pictures and flipped to a few. “How about that one?” he said, pointing to a yellow Stegosaurus.
“That one's better!” insisted Timothy, pointing to the T-Rex next to it. “Cause it's a T-Rex, and they were meat eaters, and the king of the dinosaurs, and they had all sorts of teeth and walked around like this!” Timothy proceeded to do his best T-Rex imitation, high stepping in a circle around Seth with his arms pulled in tight to his chest, roaring as the tail of his dinosaur suit dragged along behind him. “I'm a T-Rex!” he roared. “I'll eat you, Rar!”
“I see that!” Miles laughed. “Alright then, T-Rex it is.” He motioned to the folding chair that sat opposite him. “Have a seat!”
Timothy did as he was told, bouncing up and down until Seth put a hand on his head. “You've gotta hold still, or it'll be a zig-zag Rex.”
“That'd be cool too!”
Allie watched in amusement. “Just out of curiosity,” she remarked to Seth, “How much sugar has that one had?”
“...An entire ice cream sundae,” admitted Seth sheepishly.
Allie looked at him like he was insane. “You let him have the whole thing?”
“We made a deal,” Seth explained. “If I let him have the sundae, he won't eat any of his candy tonight.”
“Oh.” Allie watched as Timothy started bouncing again under Seth's hand. “Right.”
“Oh, that reminds me!” Miles put down the green face paint and reached under his chair. “I have candy I need to get rid of. Want some?” He pulled out an orange plastic pumpkin filled to the brim with the neon colors of candy wrappers. “I have Smores-n-more, Smackers, these really good peanut butter things...”
“Miles,” Allie scolded, taking the pumpkin out of his hand. “I'm giving out healthy food this year, you know!”
“Yeah, I know.” Miles grinned. “But I'm not!”
“Oh good grief, you silly owl...” She rustled through the pumpkin, examining the contents. “Jawbreakers, licorice bites, candy-covered-chocolate-covered-peanut-brittle-covered lollipops? Miles, can you actually eat those things?”
“They're not half bad, really.” Miles mused as he took advantage of Timothy's awestruck fixation with the pumpkin to finish painting the dinosaur's tail. “I think you'd like the peanut brittle things.”
Allie glared at her husband for a moment before taking advantage of his distraction to stuff three in her dress pocket. “Might as well call them bricks of sugar,” she muttered. “Oh good grief, this one is actually called brick-o-sugar!”
“Now those are good!”
Allie sighed. “Ok, fine.” She turned to Seth. “Here. One for you, one for Timothy.” She held out the pumpkin with a victimized air. Seth took the candies, almost feeling guilty about it, then Allie grabbed her own wicker basket off the doorstep. “And healthy food,” she said, shooting a look at her grinning husband, “for the both of you.” Seth dropped two boxes of raisins into their baskets.
Miles finally finished the dinosaur, and handed Timothy a mirror. “There you go. Pretty good dinosaur, eh?”
“Awesome!” Timothy examined the dinosaur on his cheek with a grin. “Can you make it breathe fire?”
“Um, ok!” Miles grabbed the orange facepaint and did a few quick strokes. “There. A fire breathing T-Rex.”
“Great!” Timothy hopped up from the chair, then grabbed Seth's hand again. “Thanks, Mr. Chase!”
Miles and Allie waved at the pair as Seth was once again dragged unceremoniously across the square, headed this time for a plastic duck pond. Then Allie turned to Miles with mock severity. “So you bought candy, eh?”
“Um, yes.” Miles smiled, trying not to look guilty, but failed. “Am I in trouble?”
“Well, maybe.” Allie browsed through the pumpkin again. “That depends entirely on how much of this you're willing to share.”