Kids Who Don’t Eat Their Veggies by Victoria Smith

A seven year old boy, named Josh, sat down one evening to yet another plate of carrots. His mother, Linda, looked at the dinner she had prepared reflecting in her son’s thick glasses. She worries about her son and his bad eyesight, but Josh didn’t seem to mind, the only thing that truly bothered him was the amount of carrots she’d make him every week for lunch and dinner. Josh was so fed up with it that even looking at a carrot or any other veggie made him want to gag. Linda, left the room after finishing her meal to go wash the dishes and Josh came up with a plan, he called his dog, Spike, over quietly and fed him all of the carrots on the plate before his mother came back in the room. Josh was excused from the table when his mother returned and saw that his plate was licked clean. Josh felt a mixture of  relief and cleverness in himself because he didn’t have to suffer through another gross carrot dinner.

The next day, Josh woke up and got ready for school, while his mother was down in the kitchen already making his lunch for him. Once she was finished putting the lunch together, she left the room to go wash her hands. While she was gone Josh grabbed the lunch and fed the small bag of baby carrots to Spike yet again. Josh then kissed his mother good-bye and walked out the door as if nothing had happened. Later that day, at lunch, Josh sat with his two best friends, Lori and Eugene.

“Let me guess, another bag of carrots for lunch,” said Lori as Josh sat down.

“Not today guys,” Josh responded.

“Really? Well, that’s a first,” Eugene stated.

“Yep, today it’s just a PB&J sandwich with a bag of chips,” said Josh sounding cocky.

“Ok, what did you do,” asked Lori.

“What are you talking about,” asked Josh right back.

“Your mom ALWAYS packs carrots for you, and you expect us to believe that she just stopped for no reason what so ever,” answered Eugene.

“Ok fine, I’ll tell you, but you have to promise not tell anyone,” Josh stated.

“Ok,” said both Lori and Eugene at the same time.

Josh then told them his little scheme and how he planned to do it at least until his mom is less intense about the whole carrot thing. Eugene and Lori looked at each other with surprised looks on their faces once he was done with his story.

“Josh, are you aware of how much trouble you’ll get in if your mom finds out that you’re doing this behind her back,” asked Eugene.

“Relax, I’ve got it all under control, I mean aren’t you guys sick of eating so many veggies all the time,” said Josh.

“No,” said Lori.

“Not really,” Eugene responded.

“Well, trust me if you lived with my mother you would be,” Josh responded.

“Fine, but don’t say we didn’t warn you,” said Lori as she and Eugene left the table as the bell rang for the next class.

When Josh got home that evening, he finished all of his homework and washed his hands for dinner. He sat down at the dinner table and gazed upon something worse than raw carrots, mashed carrots. They sat there for about five minutes until the phone started to ring, Linda got up to answer it and Josh once again fed the orange mush to Spike. Linda came back to another clean plate and Josh smiling with a face of false innocence.

“Another clean plate, honey,” said Linda.

“Yep, it was delicious,” said Josh with hidden sarcasm.

Spike then let out a loud bark that sounded like an agreement, but it was really disapproval.

“So, who was on the phone,” asked Josh, trying to get off topic.

“Oh, nobody important. Good job with your dinner, now go get ready for bed,” Linda ordered.

“Ok, good night mom. I love you,” said Josh hugging his mom before heading to bed.

“I love you too, sweetie,” she said returning his affection with a kiss on the head.

Josh continued to do the same routine with Spike for almost two weeks, until one day things took a turn for the worse. Josh woke up on a Saturday and noticed Spike’s skin had changed, his brown fur coat was starting to look more and more orange. His vision also seemed to be getting a little fuzzy because he kept bumping into things everywhere he went. Linda called the vet and scheduled an appointment at 2:00 p.m., there was a look of worry in her eyes, and Josh shared this look as they looked at Spike. At 1:30 p.m., they loaded Spike into the car and drove down to the veterinarian to see what was wrong. Spike spent the whole ride whimpering and puking up orange mush until they finally arrived. Josh put Spike on a leash and walked him inside, while Linda went to throw out the puke covered blanket that Spike was sitting on.

Once they were inside, they waited for about five minutes, until the vet called them back into a little room with a metal table in the center. Josh placed Spike gently onto the table and told him to lay down, which he did. The vet then examined him for a few good minutes, and she made certain looks while she was doing it that made Josh and his mother concerned for their pet.

“How is he doc,” asked Josh as soon as she was done examining Spike.

“Well, he’s not doing well, tell me how long has he been acting like this,” asked the vet.

“Ever since this morning,” Linda responded.

“How much human food does he eat,” the vet questioned.

“Well, we hardly ever let him eat any leftovers,” Linda responded.

“I’m just saying this looks like a severe case of animal food poisoning, in which he consumed a large amount of foods that he’s not supposed to be eating for a prolonged period of time, and now he’s in severe pain,” the vet explained.

“Isn’t there anything that you could do to help him,” asked Josh.

“I’m not sure, I’ve never seen a case this bad, we could try some procedures, but there is a chance that it could only make it worse. I think it might be best if you just take him home and just hope that his body can heal itself, come back in a week and we’ll see if he has gotten any better and if he hasn’t we’ll have to put him down,” said the vet.

“Thank you for seeing us miss, we’ll try to make him feel as comfortable as we can,” Linda said with tears in her eyes and one hand gently petting Spike on the head.

Josh and his mom spent the rest of the week worrying about Spike and crying over the possibility that this might be his last week on Earth. Josh always sat for lunch and dinner expecting there to be carrots in his lunch, only there were none, Linda was too depressed to put any effort into cooking food and making lunch so they mostly ate carry-out  food that week. Josh could care less about the food he was eating, all he cared about was Spike and how he was suffering because of what Josh fed him. The following Saturday, they went back to the vet clinic and Spike went back into the same room, only this time Josh and his mother weren’t allowed to go in with him. They waited for what seemed like hours until the vet finally came out of the room with a sad look on her face that signified something terrible was about to be said.

“I’m sorry, we did everything we could, but I’m afraid we are going to have to let him go,” said the nurse with a look of sympathy.

“You may go say your good-byes if you’d like,” said the vet.

“Thank you,” Linda replied with a look of sadness on her face.

They both went back and said their fond farewells to Spike and Josh whispered in his ear “I’m sorry” and Spike licked his face as a sign of forgiveness. Spike was later put down and buried in Josh’s backyard, Josh never complained about eating veggies again out of memory and guilt of Spike and what happened to him.

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