When life throws you some tricky questions, depend on chocolate to give you the answers. This is my motto, anyway, after my experience working at the local library and mentoring their youth drama club. I was far too loud and boisterous to be a great librarian, but I was just loud and boisterous enough to be a successful drama director. One summer, I had twenty-four enthusiastic young teenagers under my charge, and I wanted to write a play for them that would be a comedy, a mystery, a western melodrama, and a plug for libraries. And in my mind, I became very attached to the following title: Cowgirl Cookie and the Case of the Missing Chocolate Chips. I’ve always had a special affection for long titles, not to mention chocolate chip cookies. It would be a tricky mystery to write and solve in a satisfactory way, but I trusted chocolate would be the key to everything.
So, sure enough, the characters of Cowgirl Cookie and the Case of the Missing Chocolate Chips began to develop. Cowgirl Cookie was the heroine who loved reading and sleuthing, and she’d have a trusty sidekick, Snickerdoodle. Her Grandma Sugar would be a sassy, no-nonsense character who was known for her prize-winning chocolate chip cookies. There would be an entire family of Cookie Sisters: Oatmeal Raisin, Gingersnap, Molasses Spice, Macaroon Meringue, Peanut, and Butter. A group of villains would appear and call themselves the Mustache Gang (Greasy, Mushy, Crummy, Soggy, Yucky, and Burnt) and be completely overlooked by the goofy local lawman, Sheriff Nutter Butter. And finally, there would be three bossy grannies (Miz Snappy, Mix Sticky, and Miz Chewy) who would sit side stage and argue with the narrator any chance they got.
I was off and running with the plot, too. All of the chocolate chips in town had gone missing. Cowgirl Cookie was on the case but running out of leads. The silly Sheriff had no ideas. The Mustache Gang just played dumb. And Grandma Sugar was fit to be tied with the town’s cookie contest right around the corner and no chocolate chips in her cupboard.
So I had a crazy set of characters and a great mystery…but absolutely no idea how everything would resolve. But somehow, I wasn’t worried. It’s difficult to explain, but even into the middle of the play, I just had this feeling–a blind faith–that the answer to the mystery would somehow end up being about chocolate. And sure enough, by the time I was writing the final scene, it came to me. One of my Mustache gang members, Burnt, wouldn’t have a real mustache at all—it would just be chocolate smeared on his upper lip! And Cowgirl Cookie, with her Nancy Drew-like sleuthing skills, would put it all together: Burnt was a chocoholic. He’d eaten all the chocolate chips in town, save the one bag under his cowboy hat. And hurrah! Mystery solved.
So, if you believe in chocolate as always the right answer, check out my play page for Cowgirl Cookie and the Case of the Missing Chocolate Chips. And if you’re ready to move onto other fun Cowgirl adventures, you can check out my entire Cowgirl Cookie Trilogy which includes Cowgirl Cookie and the Mysterious Disappearance of Grandma Sugar and Cowgirl Cookie and the Ghost of the Grange.