There was a game that we played as kids; I think we made it up. It was called The Tasting Game. It involved a blindfold and anything edible as long as it wouldn’t kill or maim a person. It was a game of trust or, alternatively, an opportunity for a sibling to exact her long-awaited plan of revenge.
My sister and brother really knew how to dole out the crap and, being the youngest, I endured a fair amount of it. They had a knack for enticing me into a “fun” game with promises of candy and magic, but usually had a pre-determined agenda to make me the fool. For example, the time we happened upon a treasure map in the yard. It was the real deal, complete with authentically burned edges on aged parchment and a big red X marking a spot. Okay, I made that part up. It was actually crinkled up notepaper that they charred with a Zippo lighter. Nonetheless, I nearly peed my pants with excitement! I pursued that map’s circuitous instructions for what seemed like hours. My anticipation intensified with each step that brought me closer to the promise of riches. I told them that there was probably gold…pearls…diamonds, even! They were giddy with excitement – slightly too giddy, in fact – but I was too involved to notice.
Finally, we found the ‘spot’. There it was, in a hollowed out tree trunk – a glistening gift miraculously delivered from the sea!
I feel compelled to point out that the Long Island sound was at least an hour away.
But there it was… a golden treasure box that oddly resembled a cheap, gold foil-wrapped cardboard jewelry box from Reeds. With deep reverence for the history attached to its contents, I slowly lifted the lid from the box and gasped at the treasure inside. Three elbow macaroni and note reading, “Here’s your treasure noodle brain!”
Traci and Billy fell on the ground laughing and I stomped off, pissed at the world for impeding upon my fantastic imagination. Strike one, suckers!
Respectively, there is a difference of seven and five years between my sister, brother and I. So forgive me if, on the random day they suggested a game of hide and seek, I was gung-ho. I had no playmates! Shame on me for being so daft. Exactly how many times did I hide in the toy box before realizing that it was simply their golden opportunity to entomb me? Like clockwork, as soon as the counting began, I would run to the toy box and hurl toys across the room until there was sufficient room for my little body. I’d climb in and quietly close the lid, chuckling at the genius (predictability) of my hiding place. I would lay there trying to ignore the odor coming from Baby Alive’s putrid, moldy diaper and wait. I never waited long. As soon as the lid shut, I’d hear them running. They always threw themselves on the top of the trunk, sealing me inside that claustrophobic box. Ultimately, the amount of time they held me captive was determined by their eagerness to listen to me plead and cry. I finally learned that faked hyperventilation coupled with spastic thrashing got their attention. Following up with a death gasp and complete silence earned me a hasty exit. Strike two, you freaks!
The Tasting Game was a bit like Russian Roulette. If you agreed to play, you had to expect that you would be fed some unfathomable concoction from the refrigerator or pantry. Sometimes simultaneously. Suspiciously, we often played the game when my father had stocked the fridge with tongue or pickled pig’s feet. Blindfolded and helpless, I recall being fed a heaping spoonful of jelly coated with mayonnaise and generously sprinkled with cayenne pepper. Strike three, you sadists!
With age, my cunning surpassed theirs. One day, when my now teenaged sister suggested that we pass the time with The Tasting Game, I agreed. I had been biding my time. I suggested that this time, perhaps she would like to go first.
Clearly, she wasn’t anticipating my newfound smarts. I silently laughed (refer to above-referenced evil laugh) at her pompous belief that I’d simply feed her some spicy mustard. I played the game as she expected. The first spoonful was a benign and somewhat tasty mixture of jelly and cinnamon. She guessed the tastes with a smirk, thinking I was an idiot child. The second concoction was a blend of spicy german mustard and horseradish. She made a bit of a face but again, guessed the ingredients. I could see that she was impressed at my ability to take it up a notch with a little spice. That, my friends, was when I pulled out the big guns.
I pulled the refrigerator door open for the noise effect, then ran to the bathroom and dipped a cup into the cold, refreshing toilet water. I brought the cup back to the kitchen and made stirring sounds before I poured a spoonful of the chilled water onto a hefty soup spoon. “Are you ready?” I asked, as a depraved smile of triumph spread across my ten-year-old face.
The spoon moved through the air and toward her lips in slow motion speed. I watched as her lips slowly parted with a smile of anticipation. Quickly, I poured the contents of the soup spoon into her mouth. She swished, swallowed, and then made that tongue-smacking sound a person makes when they are attempting to determine a taste. “Its water”, she stated in a tone that suggested I was a rookie fool.
“Yes, but what kind of water?” I asked while slowly backing away. As I moved toward the door I could see her expression change beneath the blindfold. As realization struck, I heard her yell, “TOILET WATER? YOU JUST FED ME TOILET WATER?!”
She ripped the blind fold off her face as she hopped off the counter, but I was already gone.