Chris told me what happens when you drop chewy Mentos candy into two-liter bottles of Diet Coke.
Here, take a look: www.break.com/index/diet-coke-and-mentos.html
The result blew me away. Chris is a grandmother who bought her grandkids Mentos shooters for the holidays. I suspect she buys other useful gifts like drum kits and ant farms.
Dropping Mentos into Diet Coke looked like so much fun, I wanted Josie’s daughter, Amelia, to experiment with them in my new Josie Marcus Mystery Shopper novel, "Murder Is a Piece of Cake." Amelia is eleven. When the Mentos explode, so does Josie’s miserable neighbor, Mrs. Mueller. Here’s that light-hearted scene from "Murder Is a Piece of Cake."
Mrs. M shot out of her front door like she’d been launched.
"Josie Marcus!" she screamed. "Your daughter is setting off bottle rockets in your backyard."
"She can’t be," Josie said. "Where would Amelia get fireworks?"
"I don’t know, but she did," Mrs. M said, with an unpleasant smirk. "See for yourself. Before the police arrive."
"The police?" Josie said. "You called the police on my daughter?"
"Bottle rockets are illegal in St. Louis County," Mrs. M said. She barged right down Jane’s walkway and through the back gate, wearing a flowered top bigger than a botanical garden.
Mrs. M pointed to the bottle rockets, her bulky body quivering with indignation. "There," she said. "Right there! That girl is a delinquent, just like her mother!"
A geyser of brown liquid as tall as the two-story house shot out of a two-liter Diet Coke bottle. A second geyser erupted after it. Then a third.
"Amelia Marcus, stop that immediately," Mrs. Mueller commanded. Amelia ignored her. She was clicking at the soda gushers with Josie’s digital camera.
Josie had never seen bottle geysers before, but she recognized the scream of a siren. Officer Doris Ann Norris burst into the Marcus backyard, and Josie felt weak with relief. She knew the smart, street-savvy Maplewood police officer.
"Is there a problem?" Officer Norris asked. "The dispatcher received a complaint that someone was setting off fireworks."
"Yes," Mrs. M said. "That young troublemaker is setting off bottle rockets."
"She is?" Officer Norris strolled over to the foaming Diet Coke bottles. "Looks awfully wet for fireworks," she said. She stuck her finger into a brown puddle and tasted it. "You used Diet Coke, Miss Marcus," she said. "You are Amelia Marcus, aren’t you?"
"Yes, ma’am," Amelia said.
Josie was relieved her daughter remembered her manners. Amelia’s voice shook with fear, and the blood had drained from her face, but she stood straight and tall.
"I knew your daughter was trouble, Josie Marcus," Mrs. M said. "She’s known to the police."
Officer Norris turned to Mrs. Mueller. "I do know this young woman. I helped Amelia and her mother when they had a vandalism problem some time ago. I barely recognized Amelia because she’s so grown up. Some people improve with age."
Her barb bounced off Mrs. M’s gray helmet head.
"Using Diet Coke is very thoughtful," she told Amelia. "Regular soda leaves a sticky mess."
"That’s what I heard," Amelia said. "I can just hose this away."
"How many Mentos did you use in your bottles?" Officer Norris asked.
"A whole roll of mints in each one. It’s a science experiment."
"You load them with a tube or a roll of paper?" Officer Norris asked.
"Paper tube," Amelia said, sounding more confident. Her color was starting to return.
"An old-school scientist," Officer Norris said, nodding her approval. "You used the more difficult method."
"I got three bottles to erupt one after the other," Amelia said. "It was awesome!"
"You’re not arresting her?" Mrs. M looked like she might explode with disappointment.
"Miss Marcus didn’t do anything wrong. It’s not illegal to test the fizz factor of Diet Coke," Officer Norris said. "Dropping chewy mints into soda to release the carbonation is a legitimate scientific experiment. Steve Spangler blogged about it on his science Web site. Usually the geyser goes about twenty feet in the air. Miss Marcus was smart to conduct her experiment outside, away from the house."
"Well, I never," Mrs. M said, deflating like a week-old balloon.
"Your generation used vinegar and baking soda," Officer Norris said.
"We did nothing of the kind," Mrs. M said.
"Sure you did," Officer Norris said. "My pop talked about it. He and his friends used glass bottles. Much more dangerous than plastic."
"Your job is to protect and serve citizens," Mrs. M said. "Not encourage hooligans."
"You are so right, ma’am," Officer Norris said. "And we can’t do that when people waste our time. You’re a church lady, aren’t you?"
"I am president of the Ladies Sodality," Mrs. M said, "past president of the Altar Decoration Committee, First-Vice President of Music Committee and head of the 2013 Harvest Festival."
"Impressive," Officer Norris said. "You must spend a lot of time at church."
"At least an hour every day, not including Mass and novenas," Mrs. M said.
"You’ve had plenty of exposure to the gospels then. Might want to reread that part about loving your neighbor as yourself."
"I’m going home," Mrs. M said, and stomped off.
"Am I in trouble?" Amelia asked.
"Not with me," Officer Norris said. "What your mother decides is out of my jurisdiction."