03 May, 2012


Alan had come over to the Thornton's for dinner. He was their favourite boy and after his failed application to get into university, they decided he needed cheering up.

Alan was one of those people that brightened up a room just by walking into it and made people laugh just by making a simple observation. For example, tonight Batty was wearing a matching green glass necklace and earrings.

"He'll say she's a mermaid," Chiena said.
"No, he'll say it reminds him of bobbly seaweed," said Pom.
"Maybe a jewel tree," said Drayf.
"Emerald tree?" suggested Batty.

When Alan had joined them, he said, "Batty, tell me those beads didn't come from your nose." Which had of course cracked them up. Alan had looked pleasantly bemused. He always looked bemused when they laughed at what he said.

Now, Batty was stirring the soup, Pom was making mini pavlovas with cream cheese for dessert, Drayf was basting the chicken and Chiena draining the vegetables. Alan had fallen asleep in front of the tv, the long drive back home from the interview in the city had tired him out. It was probably for the best, because just like they had in high school, they were going to play the game of guess the special ingredients - or at least Alan was, seeing as they all knew exactly what was going into everything. They used to tease him by making him special cupcakes or cookies just to see him freeze and try to swallow the strange tasting concoctions they had come up with. Seaweed cookies, salted cupcakes and mini toothpaste cheesecakes were only a few of the things they had afflicted upon the poor boy.

"Hey, wake up, Alan. Dinner's ready," Chiena shook him awake. "Come on, come and eat."
"I smell chocolate," Alan sniffed.
"I think you smelt wrong," said Chiena. "You'll have to do better than that. There. Sit."

The girls placed the bowl of soup in front of the tired boy and ate with him.

"What's in here?" Alan asked, scooping up the soup and letting it dribble from the spoon to see if he could find any mysterious ingredients that might serve as a warning.
"Guess," said the girls laughing.
"Carrots? Cucumbers? Avaocadoes? Leeks? Green chewing gum?" Alan asked, receiving shakes of the head at every suggestion. He looked down into the bowl, sniffing it and tasting it. "I don't know. I'm mistified," he said looking up and showing the girls that his his glasses had steamed over.
"There's nothing yucky," offered Drayf with a giggle. "Think of nicer foods."
"Cabbages? Peas? Green food dye?"
"Green jelly powder," Pom said. "There."
"Green jelly powder?" Alan sniffed. "That's why it's so sweet. Thank you, Pom."
"It's not bad, is it?" asked Batty.
"It was Batty's idea," Chien said. "Warm green jelly soup for starters. Looks like some sort of other clarified soup, doesn't it?"
"Or sweetened bile," Alan licked his lips.
"Oh!" Drayf dropped her spoon and glared. "Thanks."
"What's bile?" asked Batty.
"You don't want to know," Drayf said and Pom nodded agreement.
"Anyway," said Batty finishing her bowl, "it tastes nice."

Alan opened his mouth to say more, but Drayf clapped pointed a finger.
"No. No more. You'll put the others off their food," she said.
Alan sighed.
"Takes all the fun out of it, Drayf. I'm meant to put them off their food."
"Not while we're eating, thanks. Wait here, we'll go get the mains."

Alan tasted his chicken and then his vegetables, rolling the food around his mouth, thinking. He took another few bites.
"Well?" demanded Batty.
"Mistified," said Alan and sure enough his glasses had been misted over again by the steaming plate. The girls giggled. "Let me see," he peered through his foggy glasses, clearly going by the taste. "I see juice. Some sort of fruit juice."
"Grape," nodded Pom. "Good guess."

Since dessert was cold, Alan excused himself for a few minutes and when he came back, his glasses were all fogged up.
"It's so you can stay mistified, isn't it?" asked Drayf.
"That's right," said Alan, tasting his pavlova. "Cheese and... is that corn?"
"Corn chips, to be correct," said Pom.
"Huh," said Alan, nodding.
"But there's still another special ingredient in there," Pom said.

Alan wiped his glasses with a napkin to try and get a good look at his dessert, but as soon as he'd wiped away the condensation, it gathered again.

"The glass should have warmed up enough by now," he muttered, tasting his pavlova again. "I only put it in the freezer for a few minutes."
"Can you guess?" asked Batty.
"Umm," Alan peered at her through his foggy glasses, thinking and taking another mouthful. "No. I'm mistified."

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