Ham it Up!


What follows is an essay I wrote for my junior English class, about an unusual but hamtastic adventure:

We pulled up in front of Ike’s house and discussed our options. If it weren’t strategically planned, he’d catch us and spoil the whole thing. I agreed to do the running, but I didn’t exactly know what I was getting myself into. Nonetheless, I prepared myself by removing all the extra weight from my body: my jacket, watch, keys. For some reason, I was having a terribly difficult time getting my jacket off, considering I had to pay special heed to the ten-pound “package” on my lap, which was, in my opinion, very delicate. I tried to play it cool, but it was obvious that the fleece had gotten the best of me, and my friend, Rori, leaned over to help. After a short struggle, I mustered up what was left of my pride and stepped out of the car, holding a large paper bag in my hands.

It suddenly became very real to me how strange the whole idea really was. I mean, it’s not every day that I have the opportunity to stand on a street corner holding a bad with a ten-pound ham in it. And it wasn’t just any ham, but a ham with “Ikus Maximus” carved into it. I must have looked pretty ridiculous because I really didn’t know what I was going to do with it. Lucky for me, there was no traffic and absolutely no one around to see how stupid I looked. I stood there for a while surveying the area, trying to decide if there was any place I could hide after I rang the doorbell, but there was hardly any foliage and the few bushed around were far too scrawny. I was going to have to run.

That frightened me just a tad. I really felt like I was going to drop the ham right then and there, smashing it into little ham chucks and leaving me only to weep in the sight of its decay. There was no way I could make it all the way from Ike’s house to the back parking lot of the church without being seen. I had pretty much lost all confidence in myself, but I had to go through with it, because there was no way I was going to go back to Rori’s car with the ham still in my hands. There’s no valor in that. So judging myself to be as ready as I ever would be, I quickly glanced at the path I would have to run and timidly walked to Ike’s door and placed the bag on his doorstep. I wiped my hands and took a deep breath.

Everything after that was a blur. I pressed the doorbell carelessly, already half-running. Then, without stopping to check for traffic, I sprinted across the street faster than a criminal in a jailbreak, jumping over a large rock and ducking under low-hanging tree branches, hoping against hope that I was fast enough to avoid being seen. I hopped up over the curb on the other side, and stopped in the back parking lot of the church to glance over the wall. I saw Ike open his front door and look around, and simply to feel safer, I quickly turned and jogged through the alley in back of the church and met my friends on the other side. Wheezing, I climbed in the car and tried to tell them what had happened.

Over the next week, I heard the story from at least three other perspectives. Ike’s co-worker shared what he had told her: he hadn’t seen me and he was clueless as to who left the ham. His first thought was that it was our friend Lindsey, the girl who had thought up the nickname “Ikus Maximus,” and I was thrilled at that because it had been our intent to frame her (for no other reason than because we thought it would be easy). He suspected Rori and me for a while as well, probably because we showed so much interest in the ham. I even asked to come over to his house just so I could see it, telling him that Rori had told me what had happened and it sounded pretty funny. However, because he didn’t entirely know where it came from, he was being health-conscious and refused to eat it. His brother had eaten some through, and cleared up their suspicions about whether the ham was poisonous. (It wasn’t, of course.) Yet, because they were eating it at such a slow rate, I took the liberty of printing out ham-storing instructions from the internet and leaving them in their mailbox, just to let them know that an unpackaged and pre-cooked ham will only last for about two weeks. Maybe that will encourage them. Certainly no one would want to waste a perfectly good cut of meat.


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