Lunch Lady

(This was written for a flash fiction competition for my MFA program. *cough- I got 2nd- cough*) 

The lunch lady spat in my food today.

I swear it, she did.

Not a lot of kids would believe me if I told them little old Miss May spat in my food today.

Everyone knows her as this sweet lunch lady who would sometimes be guilty of giving her favorite kids extra chocolate puddings with their chicken nuggets or giving away free lunches when you forgot to bring money.

I never forgot to bring my lunch money. I always kept it in my Tweedy Bird coin purse, which I would never leave at home by accident. But anyway, she never gave me extra pudding. I didn’t really know why. I smiled just as much as the other kids. I said hello to her when she piled my plate with chicken bits and green beans. Sometimes, I smiled extra hard and said hello a few more times just so she would give me an extra pudding.

She never did.

Miss May would sometimes walk out into the cafeteria when everyone had their lunch, and ask how they liked it. All the kids would smile and rub their tummy like their runny spaghetti was the best meal they’ve ever had. In her little apron and hair net she would walk between the tables, smiling ear to ear. She had a couple teeth missing, but nobody noticed, or nobody talked about it. Miss May never before asked me how I liked my food.

One day, we had ketchup meatloaf with a side of mixed vegetables. Fifteen minutes into lunch, Miss May made her rounds. She came to my table. She asked my friends one by one, until she got to me for the very first time.

“And how are you liking your lunch, my dear?” she asked, her toothless mouth the closest to me its ever been.

Everyone around me smiled, but if I don’t say anything, who will?

“It’s a little dry,” I said. The smile disappeared from Miss May’s mouth. Everyone at the table turned to me. I think everyone in the cafeteria turned to me too. Miss May nodded and left, back into the kitchen for the rest of lunch.

I think that’s why the lunch lady spat in my food today.


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