How to tell your spoon is leaking

You come home every night to the same thing. Refuel, recharge, return to work the next day. It's a simple living, and you don't mind. You've settled nicely into this life.

Every dinner is a bowl of soup and a crust of bread. Some may say that it's a depressing meal, but you enjoy it. It's warm, it's easy, it's satisfying. It isn't as boring as people think when there are thousands of varieties of soup in just one grocery aisle nowadays; there are twenty-two kinds of the brand you eat. The sodium may be your eventual downfall, but you probably get in more veggies than the fast food junkies. All in all, there are worse things to be eating for dinner.

You pop the top off your soup of choice (they've even eliminated the need for can openers now), pour it in a bowl, and microwave it while breaking off a piece of bread from the loaf you pick up weekly. You grab a spoon, sit down at the counter, and flip on the television sitting in the corner of the kitchen to catch up with the nightly news as you eat your dinner.

You do not notice when one day your spoon begins to leak.

Watching the news and eating at the same time comes naturally to you by now. You don't even look at it after you smile in anticipation down at the bowl as it comes out of the microwave hot and steaming. A bite of bread, a spoonful of soup, over and over until you're finished with both and the weather is on. You do not notice that you begin to dribble more soup on the counter as you eat, you do not notice the soppiness of the napkin on your lap. We are all prone to spilling a bit of soup, so you don't think much of it, just mop it up when you clear the table and bring your bowl to the sink.

A few weeks later, you notice that your trousers are looser. A few drops of soup adds up day after day, unnoticeable but significant. You wonder what has happened, utterly perplexed because, to you, nothing has changed. You begin to worry since your weight has been stable since you finished college. Was somebody messing with your pants? Another few weeks and another belt notch down, you begin to look gaunt and you throw yourself into investigating the matter. Something is happening to you.

Still, nothing has changed. Same job, same walk back and forth to and from work, same bowl of soup for dinner. You wonder, is someone poisoning you? Someone at work? Someone who, for some reason, has a vendetta against you and is trying to kill you slowly? Is someone putting something in your coffee mug while you retrieve milk from the fridge in the break room? You begin to guard your cup closely in the mornings.

You buy a scale and keep records as the pounds keep coming off, week by week. One day you inspect the soup as you decide between Minestrone and Creamy Mushroom. It is the same soup as always, same label, same nutrition facts, same woman with an apron and curls smiling at you on the logo. But maybe they've changed their formula. You write to the soup company. They send a polite letter back, thanking you for enjoying their soups, and no they have not changed their time-honored recipe since their inception in 1972, as always, keeping their soups 'Just how Mom used to make it!'. They include a coupon for 75 cents off your next purchase of their soup.

The mystery is on your mind day after day. Maybe it's a tumor on your small intestine, you decide, and you book an appointment with your doctor. He runs the test and says everything is normal - the weight loss is not fast enough to be alarming - to come back if things do not improve.

Maybe a vampire is sucking out pieces of your soul as you sleep. You stay up an entire night waiting for him to appear and regret it the next day at work. You look increasingly bedraggled and people begin to worry about you, but you wave them off, blaming it on the flu.

One day, you are eating dinner as breaking news flashes across the screen. Somewhere in a town far away dozens of people have been shot by a man on a rampage. The manhunt is still on, and they describe him as someone who is possibly mentally ill, or a terrorist, or a kid who has played too many video games, or all of the above. You are frozen as they show stark images of people bleeding on stretchers, police lights flashing, your spoon poised midair as a woman wails about her husband, who has been shot in the stomach. You feel an inexplicable warm trickle along your belly. When you look down, you begin to panic. There is blood on you too! You leap back from the counter, toppling your bowl of soup, and suddenly there is hot blood splattered across your entire kitchen, you are stepping in crimson, my god what have you done?

No. You catch your breath. It's only the borscht you chose for dinner. The beet soup is the exact color of blood in the low thrumming light of the television set. You try to relax, but your knuckles remain bone-white around the spoon you are still holding in your hand. Suddenly, you notice something. There is a pinhole at the bottom of your spoon, a hole just big enough for you to see the images of the scared people in Wherever, Missouri if you squint while holding it in front of you. Aha! You've solved it! At last, it's all clear. Now that you look back, you realize you hadn't noticed that your Italian Wedding soup had been drier, your Chicken Noodle closer to salted pasta than to soup. It wasn't cancer; it wasn't the soup company trying to sneak cheaper ingredients in for profit; it all made sense. You're ecstatic! You laugh aloud at the ridiculousness of it, the ridiculousness of how you have been acting.

Suddenly you stop and wonder, who drilled a hole into your spoon?

The End

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