I need to work on making these shorter I think. But wherever Zayne is, chaos follows, and that means more words. I’d been chatting with a friend about Zayne and his snacking habit earlier this week and then I saw the prompts for today. Couldn’t have been better timing honestly. This weeks words: sit, portion, fiber, inflate, beef.
Detective Jacobs tugged at the spare roll of paper towels, attempting to get them out of the cupboard. Unfortunately for her, the cupboard was way over her head and she was unbalanced, up on her tiptoes. Giving it one more good tug, it came free, falling onto her head, followed by a shower of random items.
“What the hell,” Jacobs muttered, rubbing her head where the towels had bounced off her noggin. The counter was covered with snack cakes, packages of M&Ms, and tiny lunchbox sized bags of chips. Holding up a mini bag of Doritos, she shouted, “Who stuffed a crapload of snacks in the top cupboard?”
A grizzled, older detective named Walters laughed. “Reyes,” he called out into the homicide bullpen, “come clean up your mess.”
“My mess,” Zayne asked, stepping into the breakroom to survey the chaos. “I haven’t been in here all morning.”
“Those are your snacks, aren’t they?” Walters didn’t wait for a response. “I don’t know anyone else who squirrels food away like you do.”
As much as Zayne wanted to defend himself, he knew better. It was a war he could not win, so instead, he started picking up his stash of snacks and put them into a pile on the counter.
“Does Zeklos know you have all this garbage here,” another, younger detective asked.
Zayne couldn’t remember his name, so he simply shook his head. “I do have granola bars in my desk, too.” He looked around the breakroom until he spotted a discarded cardboard box. Grabbing it, he piled all his trash eats into it, intending to take it back to his desk.
The young detective snagged a package of chocolate Zingers off the top and started opening them. “Doesn’t your partner constantly hound you to eat better?”
“He does,” Zayne said, eyeing the kid as he ate a snack cake. “Which is why I have granola bars and that healthy popcorn in my desk.” He glanced out into the bullpen. “Speaking of desks, I need to get back to mine. Excuse me. Oh, and you’re welcome for the Zingers, you punk.”
The kid laughed.
“You don’t need ‘em anyway, Reyes,” Walters told him.
Zayne carried his box back to his desk, wondering how he was going to explain the wealth of snacks sitting on his desk. Grabbing a Slim Jim out of the box, he slumped in his chair and unwrapped it. As he bit off a piece, he wondered if the things were even really beef. Probably best not to think about it too hard, he decided.
He was halfway through a Chocodile when Hilary tapped him on the head. “Yeah?”
“Did someone find out where you were hiding all your nuts, Rocky? Need to find yourself a new tree?”
“Not funny,” he said, glaring up at her, licking cream filling off his thumb.
“It really is kind of funny,” said a passing officer. “Doesn’t everyone know about your stash?”
“Zayne,” Andrej said as he approached their bank of desks. “Why is everyone talking about your granola bars?”
“Andy, they’re not,” Trish laughed, pointing at the box of junk food in front of Zayne. “Reyes has things hidden all over the place. His desk, the breakroom cupboards, the refrigerator.”
“The utility closet,” Hilary continued. “The supply closet behind the staples.”
“There are also three bags of Skittles in with the coffee stuff,” the lingering officer added.
“Damn, cowboy,” James said, poking his head over Andrej’s shoulder. “Are you channeling RDJ circa The Avengers?”
“What on earth does that even mean,” Zayne asked.
“Robert Downey Jr. apparently stashed food all over the set while they were filming,” Jake Hansen said. He must’ve followed his partner into the bullpen.
“Is that why he was constantly eating during that movie?” Zayne chuckled at that. “Might have to re-watch it now that I know that.”
Andrej moved towards Zayne’s desk and started sorting through what was in the box. His scowl deepened the further he got towards the bottom. With a sigh, he shook his head. “You need more fiver in your diet, Zayne. This,” he waved his hand at the box, “will give you a heart attack one day. Excuse me.”
“Is he mad,” James asked, watching Andrej leave the room.
“Nah,” Zayne said, sitting up and throwing his plastic wrappers into the trash can under his desk. “He’s just getting a grip on his temper tantrum is all. I eat like crap and it makes him crazy.” He looked at the box of food. “I’ve been trying to do better which is why the box is so full, but I can’t resist these individual portions of sugar, salt, and fat.”
“Well, we’ve got to get back to work,” Hillary said, grabbing a packet of cupcakes out of Zayne’s stash for herself and some Fritos for Trish. “Have fun convincing Andy you didn’t really plan on eating all of that.”
“We’d probably better get back, too,” James said, leaning over the box. After contemplating the selections for a long minute, he decided to take several and handed them over to Jake. “Does Andy know you’ve squirreled away things at the house?”
“No,” he said, glaring at James. “And he’d better not find out either. That’s my stress food, gingerbread.”
“Stress food,” James said, rolling his eyes.
“Why do I feel like you’re more worried about the non-food items he might find,” Jake asked, one eyebrow raised in question.
“You can go away any time now, Hansen.”
Grinning, Jake waved to the girls and dragged James out of the room. As soon as everyone was out of eyesight, he pulled open the bottom drawer of his desk and started tossing in all of his favorites. Zingers, cupcakes, those little crumb cake things that made such a mess, a few bags of chips, and anything else that tickled his fancy. Seeing that the box was still half full, he sighed and carried it back to the breakroom, leaving it on the counter. He taped a note onto the box that said, ‘Take a bag and keep a detective from becoming homeless’. It was an inflation of the situation, for sure, but he couldn’t be too careful.
Grabbing a piece of paper, he began listing all the places he’d already stashed snacks and treats so he didn’t get caught a second time. Although Andrej was sure to figure out he was putting some in his desk – it was the obvious place after all – he had a few other ideas in mind as well. On the other side of the paper, he made notes of all the spots he hadn’t tried yet. No one would look in the supply closet in the restroom that never got used, right?
Zayne reread what he’d just written and scolded himself. “Maybe you really do have a problem there, idiot.”
He scratched off the supply closet and wrote ‘unused office – homicide dept’ instead. The only reason anyone used that office was to nap. His snacks would be safe there. Maybe.
Zayne tore the sheet off the tablet and went to stuff it in his desk, hesitating. At the bottom of the sheet he wrote, ‘find healthier snacks so you don’t have to waste so much time hiding them’.
“Not flipping likely,” he said, folding the paper and tucking it under a handful of pens he kept in his desk. “But it’s a thought.”
The day he started eating healthy on his own would be the day the world imploded. It was foretold in stone tablets hand carved by his own mother. “Can’t be tempting fate and toying with the future of the world now, can I?”