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TITLE: Snap, Crackle, Pop
AUTHOR: Jackie
TEASER: Jarod discovers . . . Bubble Wrap!
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I love my sweetie Cas, and I hope she finds this story amusing! Pretender characters ain't mine; I'm just playing with them. Don't sue! Enjoy!

- - - -

"So, it's used to encase items that are shipped to prevent them from breaking?" Jarod asked. "The tiny bubbles of air act like a cushion."

The Mailboxes, Etc. employee, a young college student named Lucy, rolled her eyes. She had spent the past thirty minutes explaining everything she knew about the available wrapping they had for various packages - every single available wrapping. Now, she was explaining bubble wrap to the older man, at the same time wondering what mental health facility he must have escaped from. "Yes, sir," she replied, slightly frustrated. "Now, are you going to buy something or what?"

"I think I'll use this." Jarod nodded at the bubble wrap.

"Finally," Lucy said under her breath. She pulled out the entire roll of bubble wrap and led Jarod to the front desk. "Now, what will you be shipping?"

Jarod held up a set of four glass figurines from his latest Pretend. They were in the likeness of Miss Parker, Sydney, Broots, and Lyle, all personally hand carved by him. "I don't want them to get damaged."

Lucy looked at each figurine and noticed that the one of Lyle was missing its head. "Uh, sir, you do realize that this one is missing its head."

"I know," Jarod replied. "After I carved it and let it cool, I took it off."

"Okay," Lucy said slowly. She didn't even want to know, so she just shut up and wrapped the figurines up in the bubble wrap, then packaging them securely in a cardboard box while Jarod filled out the form. While Lucy was busy another employee, Rob, came out and saw
the discarded bubble wrap on the counter.

"Cool," he grinned as he came over, grabbed a piece of bubble wrap and started popping the bubbles.

"Rob, knock it off," Lucy rolled her eyes as she calculated Jarod's total.

"It's fun," Rob replied. He looked at Jarod, noticing how intently he was watching him. "What, you never played with bubble wrap?"

"I didn't realize it was toy," Jarod replied. "I thought it was used for protecting shipped items."

"It is," Rob said. "But it's also a great way to relieve boredom." He popped more bubbles.

"Or annoy people," Lucy added.

"Interesting," Jarod replied. He took some bubble wrap and carefully popped one of the bubbles. It crackled, causing Jarod to smile. He popped another one, getting the same reaction. Grinning, he popped the rest of the small sheet with enthusiasm. "Wow, that was really fun." Rob and Lucy shot each other looks.

"Uh, you're total's going to be fifty-three dollars and sixteen cents," Lucy said.

"How much for all of that bubble wrap?" Jarod asked. "Every roll in the store."

"You want to buy all of our bubble wrap?" Lucy asked.

"Yes," Jarod answered.

Lucy took a deep breath. "Okay. Well, each roll is twenty-five dollars, and we have ten rolls."

"I'll take them," Jarod replied, putting down enough cash to cover the rolls and the shipping charges.

Lucy took one look at the money and smiled at Jarod. "They're all yours."

Jarod nodded. "Thank you very much. And keep the change." He grabbed the rolls of bubble wrap and left, whistling `Ninety Nine Bottles of Beer on the Wall.'

- - - -

Hours later, Jarod was in his apartment with all the rolls of bubble wrapped unrolled around him. He sat on the couch, meticulously popping each individual bubble on the wrap, calculating in his mind how many bubbles there were on each roll. He also experimented with different ways to pop the bubbles – everything from stomping them on the floor to wringing sections like a dishtowel.

He continued to pop the bubbles, thinking of how he could use this to annoy Miss Parker and the others back at the Centre. It would have to be something special, something annoying, something . . . Jarod grinned as an idea formed in his mind. Oh, yeah, that's it, he thought. That is perfect. He laughed out loud as he worked the details out in his mind, all while still popping the tiny, plastic bubbles in his hand.


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