142 - Squashed


 “Squash again?” you whine to your mother.

“Yes, Johnny, squash again,” she replies coldly. “I’ve explained this to you. Squash every day until we work through the year’s supply of squash we have.

“I hate squash,” you groan.

“I know, dear, but you’ll just have to get used to it,” your mother explains, notes of consolation creeping into her voice. “Money’s been tight lately and we’ve been looking for ways to cut back on spending. When your father won that gardening trivia question on that call-in contest on the public radio, it seemed like our prayers had been answered in the form of free fresh vegetables. Unfortunately, your father fouled it up in the final round and had to settle for the runner-up prize. It was between a year’s supply of squash and the next winner of the Pumpkin of the Year contest. That pumpkin would have made a heck of a pie," your mother says wistfully, eyes gazing blankly as if imagining the perfect pumpkin pie she'll never bake, and you'll never taste, "but this family might not have lasted until October, dear.” She clears her throat as if stifling a sob. "We all have to make sacrifices now because your father,” her voice turns raspy at the mention of your silent father seated across from her at the table, “doesn't know the difference between a chive and a fucking scallion.”

“How long are you going to ride me for this, Sharon?” your father shouts, slamming his hands on the surface of the dinner table. “Why didn’t you answer the question, since you seem to think you’re queen of the green god damned onions?”

“I shouldn’t have to answer gardening questions for my husband, Harold!” your mother snaps back. “You’re supposed to bring home the bacon, damn it! But look at our plates Harold! Do we have bacon? No. All we have is this shitty squash and we are dying!”

“Oh, here we go…” your father begins before you tune out the argument. The fight lasts for several minutes before you decide to interject.”

“I hate that dad won that contest!” you scream. “I hate public radio, and I hate both of you!”

Your parents are silent immediately. Their faces reveal deep shame over fighting in front of you once again, and they both sit and quietly resume their meals.

You shrug in disbelief. Your eyes wide and mouth agape, your expression says that’s it?

“Everybody hates public radio, dear,” your mother says upon noting your dissatisfaction. “Eat your squash.”

You wait until your parents aren’t looking and chunk the rest of your squash out of the open kitchen window.