My fork chases a single pea around the painted garden on my plate. I’m alone at the table. Again.
Mom scrubs gravy off a pot with brillo and guards my chair. I know I won’t win this battle. The chair is my prison until I swallow every pea.
I try arguing: “Why should I eat these? They’re too green. And I hate green.”
But Mom doesn’t get it. “Green is good for nine-year-old boys who want to play soccer.”
“They’re too mushy. And I hate mushy.”
“They are soft, not mushy.”
“These peas taste like chalk.”
“Some day your taste will change and you’ll think they’re great.”
“Since it hasn’t changed yet, and I still hate them, can I get up? I ate one.”
I cut another in half and place it on the end of my tongue. Cough, cough…gag, gag.
Mom stops washing and holds her hips. “It can’t be that bad. Just finish and you can play.”
She turns back to the dishes and I turn my mind to scheming. How can I get rid of a pile of peas?
I glance at Miss Marmaduke, asleep on the couch. Useless. A puppy could have solved my pea problem, not a fat old cat that only eats Fancy Feast.
I sniff one wrinkled pea. Oops—almost sucked it up my nose. Hmmm—that could work…but thirty peas would never fit.
Then I remember my history lesson on catapults. A spoon and a pea. I’ll just hurl ammunition until I’ve got an empty plate. Mom will be happy and I can get back to soccer.
I ready the spoon into catapult position; gently add a pea, pull back, aim, fire.
Boing! It bounces off the window and landed in a flower pot. Perfect.
Mom swats the air. “We’ve got flies again. Make sure you close the door all the way.”
Trying not to giggle, I nod and wait to add the next round of ammunition.
Boing, boing, clunk. Meowww.
Oops. Sorry Marmaduke.
After thirty fired green bullets, my plate is empty. “Look, Mom…I’m done. Now can I go outside?”
Mom spins around wiping her hands on a dishrag. “Sure, after you find every pea.”
Twenty years later…my taste never changed. But I’m wiser—got a poodle to eat the peas that mysteriously land under my chair. Just don’t tell my wife.
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