Rumor has it, Cassandra can answer any questions. They say she knows all. She is an oracle, prophet, and a genuinely nice lady. People from every corner of the earth have traveled to her home in the mountains to receive her wisdom. Today, I can count myself among them.
I trekked through jungle, scaled the steepest sides of the mountain, and escaped the clutches of death. A question burns within me—one that has haunted me for thirty years. Cassandra’s answer will put an end to my lifelong search and change everything. Or at the least, it’ll make me feel better.
My turn comes to ask the great Cassandra my question. I knock on the door, my hand trembles and sweat drips from the tip of my nose. The heavy wooden door swings open and she grins at me, a short old woman with cropped, silver hair. She steps back to welcome me into the dimly lit room.
“Do you like Oolong?” She hands me a small, cup of tea before I can answer. As if I could answer.
The words scrape and squeak past the lump in my throat. “Cassandra, Oracle of the Mountains, Prophet of the People, Fashionista Extraordinaire.” She raises an eyebrow, but I can’t take my eyes off her fabulous knitted shawl. I wink and point at it to make sure she knows before I continue my petition.
“I’ve been plagued by this question since early childhood. It has eaten at me for years, ever since it first appeared on late night television.”
She furrows her eyes as though confused. But she says nothing and I push ahead. I’m so close to an answer—closer than ever before. My heart is pounding in my chest and I’m not even sure I’ll be able to hear her response over the drumming.
I take a deep breath. “I have tried to find the truth on my own. In the end, I always come to a crunch. Dearest, wisest, best-selling author Cassandra please tell me: has anyone ever found out how many licks it took to reach the center of a Tootsie Pop?”