Kiss of Death

candy KissesEven the wrapper they came in was unappealing. Orange and yellow and black.

Who made them? Where did they come from? No kid on the planet liked them.

When we hauled home our sacks of goodies at the end of Halloween night and dumped them out on the floor to see just what we’d gotten, we’d inevitably be saddened to find that a disappointingly large percentage of our take consisted of these hard, seemingly inedible, joyless candy “kisses.” But we didn’t throw them out. Our moms wouldn’t let us. That would be a waste. And technically they were candy, after all. We didn’t want to part with them, either, because of that fact. They had the virtue of at least making your mound of sugary loot look bigger. They bulked out the haul.

But inevitably, over the next few days, as we gobbled up all the other candy we’d collected, the dreaded Wrapper of Sadness began to predominate in the pile, and it got harder to avoid the realization that soon we would consume all the good stuff and then there would only be those things left, and then what? Like survivors in a lifeboat who’ve run out of food, we were now forced to contemplate the dreadful thought of eating what decency and rightness told us should never be eaten.

But we ate them. When we were younger and didn’t believe our older siblings who told us that they were gross and we’d be sorry, we ate them. First we had to get the wrapper off, and that was part of what made the candy kiss an instrument of deceit and misery, too, because half the time the wrapper was indelibly stuck in the candy and wouldn’t come off, or would only half come off. The rule was you didn’t have to eat those ones. You could throw the half-wrapped ones out because you’d given it your best shot, you’d tried to eat the thing and it had resisted.

But if you did manage to get the wrapper off in one piece, you felt like a kid who opens a present at Christmas to find socks and underwear inside. Because the candy kiss now had to be eaten, but it could not be eaten. It looked like candy but it was made of plastic cement.

We created our own urban legend around the candy kiss. It was said that if you actually ate one, it would remain in your stomach forever, and other bits of food would get stuck to it, until it made a huge ball that would block your intestines up and kill you. Truly the kiss of death.


  1. […] Wharton feels nothing can be done with those yellow-orange-and-black-wrapped candy kisses that haunt him […]

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