Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Taste (07/15/10)
TITLE: Like Chicken
By Donna Powers
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“Are you sure?” he asked, nervously.
I patted my ample stomach and smiled. “Dude: I know chicken when I taste it. I’ve been to Kentucky Fried so often the Colonel should give me a VIP pass. It totally tastes like chicken.”
Marvin Levine stared wonderingly at the heap of yellow capsules in front of him. I’d just swallowed one of those capsules and been convinced I was tasting chicken. It was unbelievable, but as soon as the capsule had dissolved, my mouth had been flooded with a sensation that was moist and warm, just like my favorite drumstick.
My roommate Marvin had invented a food substitute.
Marvin was a Chemistry major and was constantly talking about stuff he wanted to invent. He’d never actually invented anything before; just had a lot of ideas. His ideas had often seemed far-fetched, but … this was huge.
“Are you ready to try the rest?” he asked me.
Of course, I said, “yes”.
The dark brown capsules tasted like a hamburger: warm, hearty, and satisfying. The white ones flooded my mouth with the sweet, rich taste of ice cream. It was so real I kept waiting for a brain freeze; thankfully, it did not come. There were tan ones that fooled me into thinking I was eating fries, orange ones that tasted like cheesy, spicy nachos, red ones that made me think of pizza - and pink ones, that convinced me I had just had some delicious cotton candy.
But Marvin had saved the best for last.
I looked at the pile of light brown pills in awe before I swallowed one. “Marvin,” I said, “if these really taste like chocolate and the taste is anywhere near as authentic as the others have been, I could solve my diet problem – and you’d be a millionaire.”
I swallowed the light brown pill.
Chocolate: warm, rich, sweet and intoxicating. It had the texture of a soft, fluffy blanket of pure pleasure. It totally tasted like chocolate.
“Give me more,” I told him. I swallowed six of the capsules, one by one. It was better than any sugar rush I’d ever had before. My mouth was flooded with a river of chocolate; over and over its warmth and sweetness surrounded my tongue with delicious satisfaction.
“Hey,” I told Marvin. “Gimme one of those white ones. It will be like a hot fudge sundae.”
“I don’t know how they’ll interact,” he argued. “I can’t guarantee it won’t –“
I grabbed a white one before he could finish the sentence. After what I’d just experienced, I was ready for whatever happened with these two capsules. As soon as I swallowed them, I felt an explosion of sweetness and a loud voice calling my name.
“Kenny, wake up!”
I opened my eyes. Where were the pills? Why was I in our kitchen? I looked up and saw Marvin. He looked upset.
“Dude: you just ate the entire chocolate cake we bought for the church pot luck dinner. Thanks a lot. Besides; you’re supposed to be on a diet.”
I looked at the table in front of me. The cake box was there, but now it was filled only with chocolate crumbs. “But, Marvin; I had a dream. You invented a food substitute. You made pills that tasted like real food. It was so real…”
“What’s real is that you need to buy another cake before 6 o’clock – and that you just blew your diet.”
“No pills. You’ve just been watching too many “Jetsons” reruns. ”
I sighed and stood up. It had been a beautiful dream, but it was only a dream. And, on top of that, my diet was shot. There was only one thing I could do. “OK. I’ll go to the store for another cake. But I’ve suddenly developed a craving for fried chicken. You want me to pick some up for you?”
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