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Joey Eats Over
Joey Pignattano blinked nervously. The game was up, and he knew it. I took a deep breath and said, “I accuse Colonel Mustard … in the study … with the lead pipe.”
Joey searched hopelessly through his playing cards. Finally, he tossed the pile onto the game board. “You win again, Jigsaw,” he said with a sigh. “That’s two in a row.”
“Three,” I murmured. “But who’s counting?”
My mother knocked and came into the bedroom. “Would Joey like to stay for dinner?” she asked.
Joey was thrilled. After all, it involved his favorite activity—eating. We stuffed the Clue game board under my bed, washed our hands, and raced into the kitchen.
Inviting Joey to dinner was like asking a pro baseball player over for a game of catch. When it came to eating, Joey was a Hall of Famer. He’d gobble down anything—even food I wouldn’t touch with a ten-foot hockey stick. Take broccoli, for example.
In fact, take it far away. Let’s face it: Broccoli looks funny, it smells funny, and it tastes funny—but no one’s laughing. Except for my mom, who acts like broccoli is the greatest invention since Velcro.
“I love broccoli,” Joey proudly announced from his seat at the corner of the table. “It’s yummy in my tummy.”
I nearly spewed my milk. “Hey, you can’t trust Joey’s opinion,” I advised my parents. “He once ate a worm for a dollar.”
My father stopped cutting into his chicken breast. “You ate a worm?” he repeated.
“It wasn’t so bad, Mr. Jones,” Joey answered cheerfully. “Three chews and a swallow. I’d do it again for a quarter,” he offered.
“No, please!” my mom quickly stated. “That won’t be necessary.”
“What did the worm taste like?” asked my brother Daniel.
Joey gave it some thought. “Like chicken,” he concluded.
Hillary dropped a drumstick and pushed her plate away. “Blech! That’s it, I’m sooo tired of living with boys! Mom, may I please be excused?”
“You’ll stay here and finish your dinner,” my mother answered. Then she turned to me. “You, too, Jigsaw. No dessert until you eat everything on your plate.”
A few minutes later, when no one was looking, I made my move. Plop, plop, plop—I dropped the last three pieces of broccoli into my glass of milk. They sank to the bottom, hidden in the milky whiteness. “All done,” I announced, showing my empty plate. “What’s for dessert?”
Copyright © 2002 by James Preller