“Honestly, if you’re given the choice between Armageddon or tea, you don’t say ‘what kind of tea?”
― Neil Gaiman
From my old online journal The Daily Epiphany – Saturday, February 19, 2000
Too much ice cream
Nicholas had a basketball game today. They played an undefeated first place bunch of third grade kids.
The overall tenor was set when one kid showed up with only one shoe. I had noticed the fancy basketball shoes he wears before. I could hear him talking with his dad.
“Are you sure it’s not in your bag?”
“Sure Dad, I checked.”
“He had it out last night to show Aunt Cecilia,” his mother interjected.
“I told you to put it back!”
There it is, he is so proud of his shoes he pulls one out of his bag to show his favorite aunt and then forgets to put it back. His father told him to be sure and put it back without checking it personally, which is a sure disaster, as anyone with children should know. Still, you say out loud, I told you to put it back, knowing how useless and silly it sounds. The trip home to fetch the shoe took ’til halftime.
Then, about halfway through the first quarter another player on Nick’s team stumbled away from the action bent over clutching his gut. The coach and ref walked over to talk to him and suddenly the poor kid started puking all over the court. I was sitting up way high in the bleachers but still was surprised how red the barf was. I found out later that the kid was up all night eating strawberry ice cream; that explains it.
I am amazed at the speed in which a child can go from a laughing, grinning good time to “I don’t feel so good” to spewing vile vomit. It is definitely less time than it takes to pull a car over or to get a kid out of bed and to the bathroom.
They led the kid away but he still managed another good retch right in the path where folks were piling in to watch the girl’s game on the other side of the divided gym. One of the scorekeepers had to be stationed there to warn of the vomit pool and make sure they stepped around it.
The referee and the coach collected some paper towels from somewhere and started some tentative daubing at the mess. The manager of the center disappeared for awhile before returning with a yellow bucket and mop. The three started an inefficient, clumsy attempt at cleaning things up. I was relieved when Candy left the low bench where she was sitting with Lee and properly organized the work.
Men, as a rule, simply don’t deal with puke very well. Blood, they can handle, but not barf. The coach and ref were white as sheets, Nicholas, on the bench had his shirt pulled up over his mouth to stifle the stench. With Candy helping and directing it didn’t take too long before a trashcan was full of paper towels and the court was pristine again.
I saw Lee down on the bench sketching away with his crayons. After the game I checked and was disappointed that he had only drawn some dogs and aliens and hadn’t tried to capture the kid throwing up.
Nick’s team shook off these distractions and played really well. Despite some bad luck shooting they ended up winning 16 to 13.
We stayed awhile to watch the next game, a good friend was playing in it. I told him, “You missed a great game.”
“Nick’s team did, but that wasn’t the best part.”
“What was that?”
“A kid on Nick’s team ate too much ice cream and puked right on the court.”
“No, you’re kidding… really?”
“Cool!” was his enthusiastic opinion.
And today’s flash fiction – Ten Minutes to Impact, by Deepti Nalavade Mahule
Deepti Nalavade Mahule webpage