Wacky Pack Stories: Kentucky Fried Fingers

Topps Chewing Gum Inc
Topps Chewing Gum Inc

It’s 1972. It’s West Vancouver. It’s Gleneagles Elementary school and nothing matters more than Wacky Packs. The coolest kids have them. Your tomboy pal Carrie has them. So you buy gum just to get them. And you put them on your binders, your desk, your lunch box. Your parents hate them.

That part is key. Your parents hate Wacky Packs.

Why do your parents hate them? Your parents hate Wacky Packs the same way they hate Mad Magazine, which you’re never allowed to buy but you also mostly can’t afford.

Wacky Packs, you can afford. So you buy gum just to get them. Five cents or whatever it is. The gum sucks. It tastes, exactly, like cardboard. You know this because you chew the cardboard once to check. Same thing. So you buy the gum, give it a couple chews, then throw it away. But not the Wacky Packs. Those you keep, you hoard, you sort, you trade. You get Mop n’ Glop. You get Rolaches. You trade for Burpsi-Cola.

But you can’t find the worst of the worst, the pinnacle Wacky Pack, the ne-plus-ultra. You can’t find Kentucky Fried Fingers.

Carrie lives on Marine Drive near Whytecliff. She has Kentucky Fried Fingers. One day after school you walk with her all the way down to the bend where the West Van High guys drove a TR6 off the road and died. You sit down there not far from the log where some kids say the blood is still soaked in. You sit with the legs of your jeans touching the leg of her jeans and you’re picking at her Kentucky Fried Fingers sticker on her Social Studies binder with one fingernail. She lets you do this for awhile, watching you. Then she tells you to stop.

You almost had it off. She gave you Hardly Wrap. You find yourself wondering what’s the difference, one sticker or another.

It’s spring and the birds are swooping. There’s bark peeling off the arbutus trees. The highschool boys who died down here were all on the basketball team. You heard. But there’s no blood, you know that. That whole story is all just kids scaring each other.

You walk home thinking: Kentucky Fried Fingers.