The witch and her henchman were already sitting at the table.
“Sit down, boy.”
I sat, fear rolling in my stomach. I wanted to run far away and hide from the nasty smells that had been puffing from the evil witch’s lair all afternoon. A bowl was placed in front of me, and a ladle full of the witch’s brew was splashed into it. Brightly colored lumps were floating around in the gray-brown broth, and I suspected it was made of masticated slugs.
“I’m not eating that,” I said, pushing it away. The old biddy looked meaningfully at her partner in crime.
“You’ll eat it or else,” she growled with malice in her voice.
I looked at the bowl again. I knew what they had over me wasn’t pretty, so I had no choice but to obey their every command. I pulled the bowl towards me. I pulled too quickly, and the broth sloshed onto my fingers. Instantly my hand began to burn. I flung my hand around, screeching like a madman. The witch’s crony handed me a napkin to wipe it off. I did as quickly as possible.
“It’s acid!” I shouted. “I can’t eat that, I’ll die!”
“It’s not acid,” the crone said with an evil, patronizing smile. “Try it; you’ll like it. I promise.”
I didn’t believe her promise at all, but I took the spoon her wicked henchman handed me. I inspected it carefully for contaminants. The hag rolled her eyes, and I dropped my spoon in the bowl before she could hex me. I began stirring, delaying for as long as I could. Every few times around I lifted the spoon to let the oddly shaped bulges plop back into the bowl.
“Just eat it!” screeched the hag. I quickly forced a spoonful into my mouth. I knew it was poisoned as soon as I swallowed it. The lumps went down like lead bricks, while the semi-liquid that barely passed as broth dripped onto my chin. I gagged, but under the suspicious eyes of the villainous cretin I forced another swallow so he wouldn’t force it down my throat.
“How is it?” asked the witch cruelly.
I could feel the lumps plopping into my stomach the way they had in the bowl, and I knew my organs were going to shut down at any moment from the poison. I fell off my chair onto the floor, gagging and groaning as I clutched at my stomach.
“It’s just soup, Bobby. Stop being melodramatic,” said my mother.
My father stood up from the table. “That’s it, Bobby! Go to your room! You can stay there until you’ve learned the value of good food.”
As I ran to my room in relief, I could hear my mother saying, “Your son is such a picky eater.”
“He’s your son, too,” my father said. “Besides, missing a meal will make him appreciate your cooking more.”
I grinned as I headed straight for the secret stash of candy hidden in my closet.