Twice a month I write a column of stories for kids for The Greater Ashland Beacon weekly newspaper. It is called Read Me A Bedtime Story and it has become the favorite of my various writing pursuits. Recently, the column collided with another love of my family – that of Pez collecting, and I shared the kid’s tale below.
I don’t usually publish my children’s stories here. You have to pick up a Beacon (or check out AshlandBeacon.com) for that. In fact, this may be only the second or third one (out of 21 so far) that I’ve put on The Joy of…blog. I hope you enjoy it. It tells the tale of Hector, the Pez collector, as he builds his collection and prepares for an upcoming Pez convention trip, all the while suspecting that his Pez might be up to something…unbelievable.
A Pez-tacular Adventure
by Jonathan Joy
Everyone loves Pez, but no one loves those colorful plastic candy dispensers as much as Hector. Hector was a Pez collector.
It started in the checkout aisle at the store. Hector’s eyes were always drawn to the colors and the characters and, of course, the candy.
Hector’s mom would buy him a Pez dispenser once a week if he was a good boy. It was a fun, affordable incentive. Hector was always a good boy, so the Pez stacked up fairly quickly.
Soon family began to give Pez dispensers as gifts. Once Hector even found some old Pez at a yard sale. Before long he had ten, then twenty, then fifty, then…
“Mom! I did it! I have a hundred Pez dispensers. Can you believe it?”
“I think it’s time we build you a display.” His mother suggested. And they did. They constructed a large shelf where all Hector’s Pez could proudly stand.
One morning Hector awoke to find his Pez out of order. “That’s weird. I’m sure I had George Washington before that Easter Bunny. And, Pirate, you don’t belong there. You’re supposed to be next to the Policeman Pez.”
He questioned his mother, but she assured Hector that she had not touched his toys.
A few days later, it happened again. “I know I didn’t put the Witch next to the Bubble Man. No way.” He fixed the error.
It happened a third time. “Mom, I think they’re coming to life at night.” Hector said. “You watch too many movies.” His mother replied. Overhearing this conversation, a Clown Pez winked at a Lion Pez. A Pony Pez smiled, holding back a laugh.
Time went on and Hector collected more. He even got a job delivering newspapers in the morning to help feed his Pez dispenser habit.
“Mom! I did it! I have a hundred and fifty Pez dispensers. Can you believe it?”
“I think it’s time to introduce you to a Pez convention.” His mother suggested.
Hector’s mother explained that some people that love Pez will get together, often by the hundreds, to talk about Pez and show off their collections. “I read about it online. People come from all over the world.”
“I have to go.” Hector insisted.
Hector and his mother both worked to save money, for the closest Pez convention was hours away.
Eventually, they had achieved their goal. To Hector’s delight, his mother informed him that they had enough to make the big trip.
“Good job!” exclaimed an unfamiliar voice.
“Who said that?” Questioned Hector.
“I didn’t hear anything.” His mother replied.
“It sounded like one of the wrestlers.”
“You have some imagination, Hector” His mother smiled. Overhearing this conversation, a cartoon sponge Pez dispenser snickered, prompting several Pez princesses to laugh.
When the day arrived Hector was so excited he could not concentrate. He helped his mother pack the car and they were off.
Six hours in to the eight hour trip, Hector realized he had made a horrible mistake. “How could I forget my Pez? This is a disaster.”
Hector’s mom tried to console him. Back home a box with loads of Pez sat lonely in the middle of his room. Some of the cheerier Pez, the happy emoticon Pez, in particular, tried to keep spirits up, but the mood was pretty gloomy. However, all hope was not lost. These Pez dispensers had more than a bit of magic on their side.
Many of the characters in that dark box had battled far greater odds than this. The superheroes had defeated the world’s scariest supervillains. The race car drivers had dared inhuman speeds. Santa had delivered millions of toys in a single night. And the witch had a spell that could teleport objects many miles by simply wishing it to happen. (Wait, that last one might be particularly helpful.)
“Cheer up, Hector.” His mother pleaded. “We’re still going to have a lot of fun.”
“I know.” Hector said sadly.
They arrived at the hotel. Hector was excited to see so many people wearing Pez t-shirts. One guy even had a super cool Pez tattoo. They all had large boxes, probably full of Pez dispensers to show off, too. That’s when Hector’s excitement turned to dismay.
When Hector and his mom checked in to their room, a surprise box awaited them.
“What’s that?” His mother questioned.
“It looks like…” Hector paused. He recognized the box. “But how?”
They opened the box and, sure enough, his Pez dispensers were there waiting on him. It was a Pez convention miracle.
Hector’s mom was amazed. Hector was delighted. And those Pez dispensers, through whatever magic brought them to this place, were thrilled to be on display for Hector and the many other Pez fans that would happen by to check out his collection.
Hector told them all the story of his magic Pez that sometimes came to life and somehow magically transported themselves here.
Upon hearing this story, most folks just smiled and patted Hector on the head. The Pez knew the truth, though. Upon hearing the same story, a Rabbit winked at a muppet. An Elvis Pez did a little dance. And they all smiled. Hector thought he even caught a glimpse of a sparkle in the Witch’s eye.