Don’t touch

  spatula                   a utensil with a broad flat, often flexible blade, used for lifting, spreading, or stirring foods, etc

anticipation           to wait eagerly hoping for something good

tom-tom                 a drum played with the hands used in the past to send messages from one place to another

bland                          having very little flavour, does not have a strong taste

cardboard                 stiff board made from paper used to make boxes

smother                      to completely cover something

glug                               a slang word for something sticky

Plate of pancakes

I am Mary and I’m visiting friends. It’s my day off. I slept here last night.

‘We’ve got a treat for your breakfast in the morning,’ Angela told me last night.

‘Fabulous,’ I replied, ‘I’ll look forward to it.’

I wake up early, starving hungry. Breakfast finally arrives.

I sit at the table. My special treat is ready. American style pancakes are spatula’d onto my empty plate.

‘Mmm,’ says my eyes.

‘Mmm,’ says my mouth. ‘I hope they are tasty’.

‘The proof of the pudding . . .’ says my stomach.

I open my mouth in anticipation. My tongue says, ‘Ugh, needs sugar!’

My taste buds rustle and bustle about checking out the different flavors. ‘It’s okay, but pretty bland, something’s missing,’ they say.

Soon the tom-toms start work. ‘Oesophagus, don’t touch! Let it slide by,’ yells the tongue.

The oesophagus feels it slide by. It keeps its sides stiff, trying not to absorb much of the slippery stuff.

‘Stomach, don’t touch,’ the oesophagus yells out. ‘Slimy, buttery and lacking sugar. It won’t kill you, but let it slide by!’

The stomach, like an airline system, opens its mouth and lets the gluey mass check in. It ruminates a little, moulding and testing the ‘glug’.

‘Small intestine, don’t touch,’ the stomach yells down the line. ‘Not poison, but, well, not fabulous. Full of butter, not much nutrition, and because there’s no sugar it’s loaded with maple syrup!’

In my stomach everything mixes together. Digestive juices are added to the mix, and the pasty bulk starts out on its final journey.

The small intestine enters the conversation. ‘Big intestine, don’t touch! You don’t need this. Fatty, slimy, buttery, mapley, syrupy stuff.’

The large intestine hears and obeys. As happens with food in our stomachs, it must move the ‘glug’ along, but it tries its hardest to keep these buttery syrupy contents in the middle of the corridor, rather than hugging it with love.

‘Colon! Stuff coming . . . touch down as soon as you can!’ yells the big intestine.

The colon gets the message and the ‘glug’ arrives seconds later.

‘Ahhh,’ says the colon, ‘wonderful! I get so bored, only working once a day. Here goes!’

‘Toilet!’ yells the brain.

‘Toilet!’ yells the legs.

I sit. ‘Ahhhh!!!’

Such kindness and work went into that meal, lovingly prepared and given. I can hardly tell them that their ‘treat’ was more like stale cardboard smothered with maple syrup that whizzed through at the speed of light!

‘Oh help! Now I’m hungry again!’




Questions for revision.

  1. What time of the day does this happen?

2. What is a spatula?

3. What are tastebuds?

4. Does Mary enjoy the food?

5. What kind of food is served for breakfast?

6. Describe ‘glug’. What other things do you think might be gluggy?

7. What is maple syrup?

8. Why is Mary still hungry at the end of the story?


©Lana Kerr                                     





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