The Tasting Game
The children were in the kitchen torturing Monkey, the cat.
“Monkey!” shrieked Lisa. “Monkey!”
Morris pushed Monkey halfway across the table, then Ryan pushed him back.
If cats could weep, Monkey would’ve done so right then and there, despite the humiliation of crying in public.
Eventually Ryan pushed too hard and the cat flew off the table and scampered away.
“Good job, idiot!” shrieked Lisa. She liked to shriek.
The kids sat around the table, picking splintered wood from the sides.
“What do we do now?” asked Morris.
Lisa’s sister Mona wandered into the kitchen. Mona was the prettier sister.
“What are you doing?” she asked.
Lisa thought. “We’re going to play a game.” She smiled. “It’s called ‘Guess What You’re Eating.’”
Ryan and Morris exchanged looks of confusion. “We don’t know that game.”
“It’s new,” Lisa said.
She went to the cupboard and began pulling things out — spicy things, salty things, wet things, dry things. Then she went to the refrigerator and took things out of it — raw things, cooked things, cold things, healthy things. She spread them all out on the table along with a large pasta spoon.
“It’s easy,” she said, looking at her three participants. “I’m going to spoon something into your mouth while your eyes are closed. You have to guess what it is.”
“Well that’s not fair,” Morris whined. “We should each take turns holding the spoon.”
Lisa exhaled sharply. “Fine. We all take turns.”
Through a series of “rock paper scissors” exchanges, Ryan was picked to go first, with Morris feeding him.
Lisa blindfolded him with a kitchen towel.
“You can’t see, can you?” she questioned, flailing her arms in front of his face.
“No. I can’t see,” Ryan assured the group.
Satisfied, Lisa motioned for Morris to begin. He picked up the large spoon and opened a Chinese food carton, plucking out a few pieces of sesame chicken. Upon instruction, Ryan opened his mouth and received his spoonful.
“It’s sesame chicken!” he cried triumphantly, chewing the cold meat.
“That was easy.” Lisa rolled her eyes.
Next Ryan fed Mona.
“It’s chocolate cake!”
Then Mona fed Lisa.
“It’s…” Lisa couldn’t figure out what was in her mouth. “It’s … ravioli!”
Victorious, she removed her blindfold to discover a container of manicotti.
The other children laughed. “Wrong!”
Lisa turned eight shades of red.
“You tricked me!” she shrieked. “That wasn’t even fair!”
“I’m sorry, Lisa.” said Mona, patting her sister’s arm. “I didn’t mean to trick you.”
Morris laughed some more. “Yeah, she didn’t mean it. Besides, stupid, it was right here on the table!”
Lisa clenched her jaw. “Fine. My turn.”
Morris was blindfolded while Lisa looked about the table. She grabbed the spoon and poured out a big scoop of hot sauce.
“Ouch!” shouted Morris, ripping off the blindfold and running over to the sink. “My tongue is on fire!”
The kids all laughed.
Next was Ryan again. He got a spoonful of oyster sauce.
“Gross!” he cried, lapping down a glass of juice.
Then came Mona. She got a sardine. “This thing is rotten!” she whined.
The kids each got more and more worked up, their tongues stinging and their eyes large with revenge.
Lisa got butter.
Morris got oil.
Ryan got a raw shrimp.
Then Mona got peanut butter.
She began to sputter and cough. She tore off her blindfold and glared at her sister, who was holding the spoon out of turn.
“I’m allergic!” Mona whispered, rushing from the room.
The boys sat in stunned silence as Lisa calmly brought the spoon to the sink and washed it off. Then she removed the peanut butter jar from the table, replaced the top, and shoved it deep into the back of the refrigerator. She sat back down at the table.
“I forgot,” she said, smiling down into her hands.
A few minutes passed and no one moved. Upstairs you could hear banging, and then a deep sigh as Mona used her EpiPen. She came back down the stairs slowly. She looked very pale.
“Did you tattle?” Lisa asked, meeting her sister’s tear-clouded eyes.
“No,” Mona whispered. She was wobbling a little.
Lisa smiled and clapped her hands. “Okay, well, let’s play something else. I probably won that game anyway.”
Ryan and Morris exchanged glances. “You didn’t win, Lisa. We weren’t even keeping score.”
Lisa snorted. “Fine, then let’s do one more round and see.”
Mona silently clung to the table, her fingers tight.
Morris fed Ryan some cold steak.
Ryan fed Morris some garlic pieces.
Then Lisa was blindfolded. “Okay, let’s get this over with!” she said.
Ryan looked around the table, deciding what to pick. He was reaching for the peas when Mona suddenly snatched the spoon out of his hand. Her face was covered in sweat and her chest was blotchy with hives. She stared at her blindfolded sister. Then in one quick sweep she reached below the sink and poured some orange cleaner onto the large serving utensil.
“Guess what you’re eating, Lisa,” she growled, and shoved the spoon deep into her sister’s open mouth.
Copyright 2008, Gabrielle Sierra
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