Unbelievable! I was at the prime of my life, six years old, and I was dying. This was it. I careened through the house, banging and crashing along. Tears sketched jagged lines down my muddied face as I made my way to the kitchen. My mom turned toward the commotion. She stared at me, suspicion clouding her eyes.
“What’s all this about Sara? What have you done now?” she asked, reaching out to me.
I shook my head and answered in a muffled voice, “Mmph wahmnt mme,” which translated to: “It wasn’t me.”
“What in the world is in your mouth?” She leaned close to inspect.
I flailed my arms and attempted to yell out, “Mmphails!” which translated to: “Snails!”
I started to wail. Snot and tears covered my face as snail froth bubbled out of my mouth and nose. I let loose a rabid foam-filled gurgle. The snails were straining in between my tongue and teeth, pulsing against the back of my throat, writhing around, trying to find an escape and desperately emitting froth with every passing second.
My mom winced and recoiled slightly as my sister ran up behind me. I stiffened. I could feel her hot breath on my neck. Only moments before I had broken away from her evil grasp. She must have known she’d be busted now. It was only a matter of time. After the evacuation of the snails, she’d get hers.
“Sonia, what’s going on? What’s in Sara’s mouth?”
We both turned to look at my sister; Mom with her curious eyes and me with my blowfish mouth. This was her chance to come clean.
“I don’t know,” Sonia said, widening her chocolate-colored eyes.
“I think she’s trying to tell me she has snails in her mouth.” My mom motioned to me.
I nodded my head and prayed the snails wouldn’t tumble down my throat.
“I wouldn’t know.” Sonia answered calmly.
“Mmeyerrrr!” which translated to: “Liar!”
“Well, I’ll be a dirty bird! Why in the world would you put snails in your mouth?” My mom looked slightly exasperated with me even though I was the one with the mouthful of snails.
“Because she’s crazy, Mom,” Sonia said.
I groaned and rolled my eyes. Oh, I’d show her crazy.
“Sara thought it’d be funny and put a bunch of snails in her mouth,” Sonia told my mom without batting an eyelash.
“Hmmmm.” Mom leaned toward me. I could see in her eyes she knew my sister was full of it, but the truth would never be told if I ended up choking to death on a bunch of snails.
Through crossed eyes, I watched my mom as she poked her finger in between my puckered lips. She hooked her pointer around a snail and pulled it out of my mouth with a “come-hither” motion. It made a wet “pop” as it flew out. After a few minutes of poking, pulling and popping, every last mollusk was out of my mouth.
The three of us stared down at the mound of writhing and fizzing snails on the linoleum floor. Most were dead, chomped to their demise by me. Black guts torn loose from their army green bodies.
Mom was the first to move, crossing her arms over her chest. “Explain.”
I ran my tongue over my teeth, feeling the grittiness of shells and tasting the remnants of tiny bodies. I wiped the drool and snail bubbles from my mouth and took a deep breath.
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