02 03 The Rhineheart Roost: A short story told with a lot of words. 04 05 15 16 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 31 32 33

A short story told with a lot of words.

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I could tell you my experience in under 140 characters (thanks, Twitter!) but that really is no fun at all. So instead, I will present you with a cautionary tale of woe and pizza.

This week I have stayed with a family in my home ward's children as the parents go on a wild, whirlwind adventure across the seven seas (not really, but this is for dramatic effect, ok?) it's really been quite nice. I feel bad because I've had to ditch them at home for a few hours every day while I've been at work, but they're both old enough to largely take care of themselves. I'm mostly just the chauffeur. ;^) consequently, this has led to a bit of an inferiority complex for me. Being the "adult" in the house and also being the shortest has been, well, something of a challenge for me. In addition to never being home during the day and having the eldest be so independent (she has made dinner all by herself each night, so I've largely just been sitting at the counter watching and secretly hoping she doesn't think I'm a big boob for just sitting there. It's just that dinner has been a really simple affair each day and I would just be in the way (not that I'm not willing to help, I just don't want to step on her toes when she is already so capable)).

All of this is beside the point, however. We're here to talk about pizza. I just needed to provide a little backstory to this cautionary tale.

Last night we got pizza. A meal that didn't need to be prepared by our hands, so we were all able to just relax and enjoy the atmosphere that comes with being in a tiny restaurant surrounded by the smell of greasy, delicious food. I sat back and quietly reveled in the majesty of Fat Boy's Pizza. It's been right next to my house for years, and I've never ventured inside, so this was a transformatory experience for me. (Btw, is transformatory a word? It seems like it should be). Soon, the pizza arrived and we eagerly scrambled for a slice. It smelled delightful, and the steam rising steadily from the cheesy surface assured me of its freshness.

Now, perhaps it's because I hadn't eaten anything since breakfast. Perhaps in my eager, hungry haste I forgot all decorum. Perhaps I assumed the steamy plume ascending lazily into the air was a special effect, and not an indicator that this pizza had just come from a FREAKIN' OVEN. Whatever the reason was, I soon learned the consequences that come from prematurely noshing on a hot piece of pizza.

We all partook of the pizza at what seems like the exact same time. Our reactions however were vastly different. As the steaming pizza entered my waiting mouth, it seems the pizza gods threw back their heads and laughed at my naïveté. What happened next seems like something out of a horror movie. It was the stuff of cheese-covered nightmares.

The pizza was actually fresher than I thought. That means as soon as my teeth closed around that bite and sealed my fate, the sheer temperature of the pizza instantly burned the roof of my mouth so badly it formed a huge blister almost on contact. What could perhaps be looked at as a scientifically fascinating exhibition of the human body's fantastic abilities, was nothing short of pure, unadulterated torture for me. My mind instantly began to race.

THIS PIZZA IS TOO HOT. ABORT, ABORT!

NO! HAELEY, YOU HAVE TO BE THE ADULT HERE. ADULTS DO NOT THROW PIZZA OUT OF THEIR MOUTH WHILE SCREAMING AND SIMULTANEOUSLY PRAYING FOR A SPEEDY DEATH TO END THIS HELLFIRE.

BUT IT BUUUUURNS

BE THE ADULT, HAELEY. BE THE ADULT.

OH MY GOSH JUST SPIT IT OUT. WE'RE ON FIRE. STOP DROP AND ROLL NOW OR WE ARE GOING TO DIE, I KNOW IT.

I CAN'T SPIT IT OUT, DON'T YOU SEE? ADULTS ARE ALWAYS MATURE AND THEY NEVER RUN OUT OF RESTAURANTS BECAUSE THEY IRREPARABLY DAMAGED THEIR MOUTHPARTS.

HECK WITH BEING AN ADULT. ADULTS ALSO PROBABLY NEVER PUT RIDICULOUSLY HOT ITEMS IN THEIR MOUTHS. YOU'VE ALREADY BLOWN IT. JUST ACCEPT YOUR DEFEAT GRACIOUSLY AND RETREAT, FOR HEAVEN'S SAKE, RETREAT!


All of this transpired as I perspired and tried desperately not to fall to the ground screaming while smoke poured from my mouth. Instead, I smiled nervously even as tears threatened to fall from my pained eyes. I kept my mouth politely closed even as the battle raged inside. At last I was able to swallow, and squeak out a feeble "well, THAT was hot! I really burned my mouth!" To my relief, I found I was not the only one suffering. The eldest girl also accidentally tormented her taste buds as well, and as we struggled for breath I snuck a look at the little boy. He had suffered some casualties, but was happily chugging along on his pizza, seemingly unaware that it was actually 5000 degrees Fahrenheit. This child is superhuman, I think.

After we finished our meal, I staggered outside with the kids in tow. Trying to sound lighthearted, I suggested we get some Popsicles; a plan I decided would help them and me in turn, although I decided upon ice cream for myself.

We also rented Man Of Steel, and as soon as we got home I started shoveling ice cream in my mouth in a desperate attempt to cool the flames that still burned on. It helped to some extent, and we sat down to watch the movie.

Halfway through the film I noticed an odd sensation. Was this possible? Was I just dying and this was my body's way of breaking the news? Whatever it was, I felt something fall from the roof of my mouth. I discreetly removed it and, upon closer inspection I discovered the horrifying truth: the skin was falling OFF THE ROOF OF MY MOUTH. HOW DOES THAT HAPPEN.

Throughout the rest of the movie, small strips continued to shed, like a carnivorous rain. I didn't think it was possible to burn yourself that badly, but at least I handled it like an adult, I rationed. After the movie, I helped the girl stuff envelopes , and it was then that I learned I was not alone in my struggle. She, too, had scalded herself to the point of blistering, and she, too, had tried not to freak out over the inhumane temperature of the pizza. In that moment, we bonded like two girls who have been hopelessly wronged by one of the most seemingly innocent of foods.

In that moment I learned that it's okay if you're not exactly "adult". Sometimes it's okay to freak out over pizza and cry a little. And it's also okay to never want to eat pizza again.

You have been warned.

~Haeley

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