The World May Never Know
“Here.” Marty looked up and saw George holding out a Tootsie Roll Pop to him, motioning that he should take it.
“Uh… thanks…” He grabbed it suspiciously and stared at the boy who would, one day, be his father, watching as the clumsy fingers of one hand unwrapped the candy, while the other hand held tight to the thin white stick that it perched upon. Once George had gotten the wrapper off, he eagerly pushed the round ball of the lollipop into his mouth, immediately manuevering it to one side and making a large lump in the hollow of his cheek. He stared off happily into the distance, bobbing his head slightly like a pigeon. Marty found himself smiling. He held his own unwrapped Tootsie Pop at eye level.
“Three… or the world may never know.” He mumbled, losing himself in the reality of the candy and the fact that he was eating said candy thirteen years before his birth.
“Huh?” Marty turned his head back toward George, who was staring with wide, confused eyes at Marty. “The world may never know what?” His words were slightly obstructed by the Tootsie Pop, but Marty managed to get the basic meaning. He furrowed his brow.
“C’mon, Da—aaaahhh, George. Don’t you remember—?” He stopped to think. No, of course seventeen year old George McFly wouldn’t have any idea what he was talking about. That Tootsie Pop ad had come out when Marty was a little kid! He sighed, defeated again by the time difference. “It’s… it’s how many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop,” he muttered, slightly embarrassed that he had forgotten yet another element of his world that his father had yet to experience.
But George only nodded dumbly as he ran the lollipop over his tongue once and then held it at his own eye level, imitating Marty. He peered myopically at it for a moment, lost in an intense study. Finally, after Marty had nearly given up on him, George said sagely, “A lot.”
“A lot of licks,” George nodded, and put the Tootsie Pop back into his mouth, looking thoroughly satisfied, as if he had solved one of the world’s major problems. Marty grinned.
“Well, technically…” His grin widened. “Technically, you can do it in only three.”
“You can?” George pursed his lips and shifted his candy from one side of his mouth to the other before pulling it back out to examine it a second time, reevaluating the puzzle with saliva-slick lips and a little bit of drool at one corner of his mouth. “How?”
“Well, like this.” Marty tore the wrapper off of his own Tootsie Pop and tipped it in salute to George before taking a decisive lick. “A-one,” he said in a high voice, imitating Mr. Owl from the ubiquitous commercials of his childhood. “A-two-hooooo!” He hammed it up to the fullest extent, tipping his head back to give an extra little howl after his second lick. George giggled. “A-three.” He licked it one final time and then bit down hard, exposing the chewy center. He held the remaining lollipop out to George as proof. “Three,” he said in his normal voice.
George smiled slyly and shook his head. “But that’s cheating.”
Marty shrugged. “Then the world may never know.”
“I guess not.” George looked down at his feet, a lock of hair falling into his face. “Hey Marty?”
“Yeah, George?” Marty said through the mouthful of broken Tootsie Pop in his mouth.
“You’re kind of weird.”
Marty shook his head and snickered. “George, you have no idea.”
“Yeah…” George agreed, not really understanding or caring what Marty said. “But you know… I like you anyway.” Before Marty could say another word, George leaned over and placed a small kiss on the very corner of Marty’s lips. At the touch, Marty dropped the remainder of his lollipop onto the ground. George was warm and soft and while they were very close Marty could smell soap and chocolate. He gaped uselessly, like a fish, as George pulled back from his face and tipped him a wink with shining, happy eyes. He then put the sucker back into his mouth and clenched it between his teeth as he stood and loped over to his bicycle, which he’d left propped against a nearby tree.
“George!” Marty cried as he finally found his voice. “What was… what was that for?” He gazed up at his father from his seat on the curb, eyebrows knitted tightly together in bemusement. But George only beamed and shifted his Tootsie Pop back to one side.
“The world may never know,” he said, swinging one leg over the bar of his bike. “See you later, Marty.”
And Marty watched him ride slowly into the distance, the remainder of his own Tootsie Pop lying forgotten at his feet.
If you have never seen the commercial Marty imitates, go here.