Author's Note: Yes another new fic. :) But this one is different in that it won't really have a beginning or end. It's mainly just a place to put all of the ideas I come up with for short bits that don't work as standalone stories or as part of my long fics. This chapter came to me from a tweet from John Francis Daley's Twitter account.
I do not own Bones or any of its characters.
Thank you to everyone who reads/follows/reviews this. It's always appreciated.
Even though he was staring right at the scrap of paper in his fingertips, Sweets could hardly believe his eyes.
After having a very light breakfast of a scrambled egg and some coffee that morning, Sweets had found himself hungry again a couple hours later. He didn't plan on going to lunch for a while yet, so the psychologist decided to look around for a quick snack. He went over to the vending machine and was shocked to find a solitary box of Cracker Jacks inside.
'Cracker Jacks? In a vending machine?' he wondered. 'Never seen that before.'
Intrigued, Sweets shoved some change into the machine and snatched up the box after it dropped down into the slot at the bottom. He waited until he got back in his office to open it. He sat down into the chair he used for therapy sessions and tore off the top and popped a handful of it into his mouth, enjoying the sweet, salty taste.
He soon reached the bottom of the box and he fished out the flat, paper package that held the prize inside. Sweets tore along the perforation and slowly unfolded the sleeve to find a paper pencil topper inside.
Sweets collapsed back in his chair and sighed. It was a flimsy pencil topper and the picture depicting a pair of mountaineers 'climbing' the sides of the pencil was crudely drawn with watery colors.
'Was this the best they could come up with?' the therapist wondered. 'A lame pencil topper? What kid is going to be excited about finding that at the bottom of his Cracker Jacks?'
The psychologist was languidly flipping the paper between his finger tips when Booth walked into the room.
"Ok, so I was able to talk to that store owner and he said that…hey is that Cracker Jacks?" Booth asked.
"Yep," Sweets nodded. The agent sat down on the couch across from him and grabbed the box, digging out a few stray peanuts Sweets had missed.
"Parker loves this stuff," Booth said as he munched on the peanuts. "I got him some during that game we went to with Bones this last weekend."
"Yeah, it's good but look at this," Sweets said, leaning forward. "This was the prize inside: a paper pencil topper. I mean, really? What kid is going to want that? Lame."
"It is," Booth said as he inspected the paper that Sweets was showing him. "At least the prize in the bag I got Parker was one of those temporary tattoos. He seemed to have fun wearing that for a while. Still, considering how much those bags of Cracker Jacks cost at ball parks…."
"I know, right?" the psychologist replied. "You would think that they would try a little harder to make something a kid might actually enjoy."
Sweets flicked the paper onto the coffee table and picked on the lint on one of the chair's arms.
"I remember when I was a kid they would have stuff in them like miniature baseball cards or stickers," Sweets said. "I'd make my own mini-album to keep the cards in."
"I remember those cards too, but I just kept them in a box in a drawer," Booth replied. "Me and Jared would trade them with each other." Sweets nodded in response.
"My dad took me to a baseball game once. That's was the first time I ever got Cracker Jacks," he continued.
"Really? At a game?" the agent responded. "I guess I didn't picture you as the sports type." The psychologist shrugged.
"I didn't go to a lot of them, but I liked watching baseball," he said. "I'd follow all of the teams' stats and stuff."
"My dad took me to a couple of games too," Booth said quietly. "When I was very young. Whenever he found time to…whenever he found time."
Sweets nodded. He knew that Booth meant 'when he found time to stop drinking' but he also knew that it didn't need to be said aloud. It was an understanding the both of them had.
"Anyway, that's when I got my first bag of Cracker Jacks," Booth continued. "And my first prize: a mini joke book. I kept it for years. Sometimes, I'd read the jokes in it to Jared and he would laugh as if they were the funniest things in the world. Pops sometimes would take me and Jared to a game too and we would share a bag. You know, he used to tell me about the really cool prizes that they used to have like little figures and mini pinball toys."
"Cool," Sweets said. "So way better than what they have now."
"Yeah. You know, Parker doesn't even look for the prize inside the bag whenever we get one. It's as if he already knows that it's going to be boring and pointless. He's just trying to avoid the peanuts."
"Hey, you can't eat the popcorn without the peanuts," Sweets exclaimed. "That's just…wrong."
"I know, right?" Booth said. "That's what I keep telling him."
"My dad would always make sure to have some peanuts with every bite of popcorn," Sweets added. "He said that it was the only way to get the full flavor. I..I used to count out the popcorn bits and the peanuts so that they would always be even whenever I ate it with him. He used to chuckle a little at that, but it was ok. He knew that I was just trying to eat it the same way he did."
Sweets fell silent while Booth watched him. The agent knew that in the back of his mind, Sweets was thinking about how much he missed his father, but he also knew that bringing it up would only push the psychologist into an even more somber place.
Instead, Booth stood up and patted Sweets on the shoulder.
"Come on," he said. "Let's go grab something at the Diner."
"What? Now?" Sweets said as he rose to his feet.
"Yeah, sure. Why not?" Booth replied. "You can't make a meal out of Cracker Jacks, even if you are twelve. Besides, I'm feeling kind of hungry, and Bones will probably be ready to eat by the time we swing by the lab."
"Ok, let's go," Sweets smirked back.
The two of them walked out of the office after Sweets threw the empty box away along with the pencil topper, after giving it one last disdainful look.
"You know another thing that's gone downhill?" Booth said as they walked down the hallway toward the elevator. "The prizes in cereal boxes. I mean, half the time, they don't even have a prize at all anymore. It's all just codes for things to get online."
"I know," Sweets said as he pushed the button for the elevator. "It's not like the time when I found this great whistle in my box of Cocoa Snaps."
"A whistle?" Booth smirked. "That's your idea of a prize?"
"Hey, it was a really cool looking whistle," Sweets pouted. "And it was mega loud."
"And how long ago did this happen? A couple of weeks ago?"
"I'll have you know that I normally eat my breakfasts at the Diner these days," Sweets retorted. "It's not like I'm still eating kids' cereals all the time."
"Maybe," Booth said as they got onto the elevator. "But right now, you are actually making me kind of glad that they don't put things like that into cereal boxes anymore."
Sweets made a show of shaking his head and rolling his eyes as the elevator doors closed.
But in the back of his mind, he made a mental note to ask Brennan about her favorite prize from a cereal box when they met up with her.