People are strong

Strange things happen no matter who or where you are. You can use these to your advantage. After everyone has been determined alive, that is.

Take today.

I (erica) teach preschool (special ed and Head Start). This is my 15th year of teaching. But today (well, yesterday, by your standards), this happened:

It was someone's birthday. Not just anyone's, but one of the most vocal, most happiest, most cutest ever (yes, I can say that, I'm a preschool teacher and everyone is the most cutest, but most especially this one) girl's. She brought Caramel Apple suckers. You know them. They're awesome.
AND THEN????? (dum dum dum dum) (that was supposed to be a drum roll, not a declaration) One of the other girls - who has special needs but can eat everything anyone else eats - clamped down on hers. Like this:

well, but cute. and around a caramel apple sucker.

So, no problem, right?? Just open her mouth and get the sucker out.

That's when it gets tricky. And erica gets scared. Because, see, the teeth can not be opened. The sucker can not be dislodged. erica has now seen this child's death a million times in her mind. Trust me, if you imagine it, you can come up with a million ways to die by sucker.


At which time erica and her aide put said child in a car (yes, in a car seat in a school van, don't you worry now - ha) and take her to the nearest dentist BECAUSE SERIOUSLY SOMEONE HAS TO UNSTUCK THIS CHILD'S TEETH BEFORE SHE DIES!!! (and by she, mostly at this point I mean me - erica - because the heart is seriously going haywire at this point)

The dentist tells me it will dissolve. Seriously. After half an hour of clamped jaw, he tells me it will go away on its own.

I'm dying a little bit more each second. Because what will dissolve first - the inside or the outside??

And who can do the heimlich on a little girl whose teeth ARE CLAMPED SHUT TIGHT????

Okay, fine - it all turned out. The sucker dissolved, mostly. Her mouth opened. I saw the sucker (with part of the stick) go down her throat and plucked it out with the tips of my fingers. In her throat. Umm, yeah.


Don't be worried to make weird things happen in your novels. Weird things happen all the time. And THANK THE LORD we mostly make it out alive.

Oh, did I mention that shortly after my dentist visit with my little cutie patootie, a mad/drunk/drugged man walked down THE SAME STREET waving a gun and threatening to shoot anyone in sight, prompting a big man hunt, complete with agents and assault rifles? Yep. And I live in a town with less than 1,000 people.

Feel free to use that in your next book. I know I can't. No one would believe me. ;)


  1. "Manhunt in a Tiny Town" has a certain ring to it.

    Sorry you had to go through that. My face is hurting in sympathy for the little girl. I'm so glad everything turned out okay.

  2. Dude, you totally deserve a day off!!!

    What a day!


  3. A day off for sure! Well the truth is certainly stranger than fiction, right?

  4. For your sake, I so wish yesterday had been a Friday! Go ahead and take the weekend off. Har har. Hope a bottle of wine magically appeared on your kitchen counter! c

  5. Oh my!!! That sure was scary. I'm glad everything turned out.
    It's interesting you mentioned HeadStart. I was a teacher assistant for a year and half here in my area. Great program just not my calling. :)

  6. Wow. You have quite an exciting life. I'm not sure I could make those things believable in a novel.

    I'm glad everything turned out okay :) Beware the caramel suckers!

  7. New picture book idea: Beware the Caramel Suckers! haha

    And it turns out I know the guy involved yesterday. I know, in a town with such few people, probability says I should, but when I found out WHO, wow. I apologize if I sounded callous in the above post. He was/is obviously troubled and has a family and I'll be praying for all of them.

  8. Oh, wow! That's really intense! I hope your weekend goes better :)

  9. Wow girl, what a day! Truth is indeed stranger than fiction. You poor thing.

  10. OMG, I bet you were glad to climb into bed at the end of the day!

  11. Holy moly, Erica!! You are living proof of how unboring life can really be. lol
    Glad there was no death by sucker on your shift!! Save this story for a rainy day and go with it.

  12. OMZ! That was quite a day you had, Erica. How's your heart today? Hope the weekend was extra relaxing for you. It just goes to show you that truth is stranger than fiction, that anything can happen when you work with kids, and that humans can survive almost anything.


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