The talks, which have already stretched into an exhausting fifth minute and threatened to divide the students in this small cafeteria/gymanasium, have become increasingly heated as an 11:33 A.M. MST deadline — the beginning of lunch recess — looms.
According to a source close to the situation, the critical issue holding up the proposed swap — Penderson’s PB & J and three double-stuffed Oreos for Franks’ chocolate milk, pepperoni pizza Lunchable, and a candy to be named later — appears to be Penderson’s insistence that he be allowed to lick the filling off of one of the Oreos before the trade is finalized.
Hillary Jones, a fifth grader representing Franks, said in a hastily-organized press conference that Penderson’s staunch refusal to drop the Oreo proviso is a dealbreaker.
“Obviously, no child — no adult, for that matter — is going to agree to trade for an Oreo that has no filling. It’s a non-negotiable for my client,” Jones said. “This is a clear attempt by Timmy to have his cookie and lick it, too. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go dump my tray.”
However, in a prepared statement, Penderson defended his proposal.
“[Bobby] would still be getting three Oreos, even if one doesn’t have filling,” explained Penderson. “I know this: at 3:15, when he’s sitting on the bus riding home, hungry, the two halves of that no-filling Oreo he still has in his lunchbox are going to be a godsend. He’ll thank me for this, believe me.”
When asked for comment on the Penderson-Franks stalemate, Principal Woodward, a 33-year veteran of lunchroom trades, said, “All I know is that in three minutes they’re going outside.”