Jaffy McApplesauce loved eggs. Not just for breakfast. He loved eggs in his salad, in his tuna sandwich, on his hotdog, even on his ice cream. This is barely surprising, since his parents were chicken farmers, and had twenty giant red chicken coops, filled with speckled hens. Jaffy liked to help them care for the chickens, gather the eggs in the mornings, and even clean the coops. You may imagine that he was a very strong boy, considering all of the protein he consumed. However, one might say that he rather resembled an egg. His skin was soft and pale and the curly tangle of hair on his small head was a shocking shade of yellow. And yes, he was quite round. He was a very nice boy, but he didn’t have many playmates. Sadly, that was because Jaffy was painfully shy. He was so shy that he was even afraid to talk to his imaginary friends.
And everyday at school, Jaffy sat by himself. I suppose he would have dreaded lunchtime in the cafeteria more, if it hadn’t been for the knowledge that there would be a hard-boiled egg and an egg salad sandwich tucked away in his lunchbox.
But you must also know that there was something else that Jaffy liked about school. Her name was Lolly-Sue, and she was the prettiest girl in the whole class, maybe even the world. She was tall, with silky red hair the color of apples, and shiny blue eyes. Jaffy didn’t know much else about her besides her name and aforementioned distinctions, but he was convinced that everything she did and every word she said was absolutely, positively perfect.
Then, one day. The unthinkable. The teacher was talking about where food comes from. Jaffy’s tongue tingled as she described the animals on a farm and where we get milk and EGGS. Suddenly, Lolly-Sue raised her hand and said in her sweet, lilting voice, “Eggs come from chickens?! How vile! I don’t understand how anyone can eat those horrid things! Anyone who would go near a filthy chicken is simply not right in the head.”
Jaffy was stunned. He felt a tightness in his chest, and a shortness in his breathing. His eyes widened, pulsing with hot tears as he attempted to sniff back his horror. Of course, he couldn’t say a word. He could only stare at the lovely Lolly-Sue in complete consternation.
When lunchtime rolled around, Jaffy couldn’t bring himself to eat. His stomach murmured a languishing growl, and he glanced over at Lolly-Sue’s table as she cheerfully gossiped and devoured her PB&J on white bread. He was SO hungry. But, suppose Lolly-Sue saw him eat an egg! She’d never speak to him. If she wouldn’t speak to him, she’d never agree to marry him either. Oh, the torment! Then again, she couldn’t possibly even know he existed. She was far too lovely to stoop to his level. Perhaps he could manage to slip down just one egg.
He carefully peeled back the plastic sandwich bag from around the hard-boiled egg, and gingerly picked it up. As he lifted it to his trembling lips, he heard a squeal of disgust. To his complete terror, it was Lolly-Sue.
“That boy is eating an egg! How foul! How bourgeoisie! Egg-head! Egg-head! Yuck, yuck, yuck! Cluck, cluck, cluck!” His cheeks burst into flame, and his fingers went cold. He dropped the egg onto the table, frozen in fear as the entire cafeteria took up Lolly-Sue’s rueful chant. Tears ran down his cheeks, and he buried his head in his hands, trying to wake up from the awful nightmare. It couldn’t be real.
The next thing Jaffy remembered, he was sitting in the nurse’s office waiting for his mother to take him home. He heard the other children’s voices echoing down the hallway, giggling and telling each other in delighted, rustling whispers about “The Egg-head.”
At dinner, Jaffy was in no humor to eat. He couldn’t look up at his parents. He was so ashamed. Mr. and Mrs. McApplesauce tried to convince him that what the other children thought wasn’t terribly important, but Jaffy didn’t believe them. He poked at his mother’s mushroom quiche for a good hour until his father told him it was time for bed. He trudged up the stairs, stumbled into his bedroom and fell into bed, still wearing his school clothes. As he lay there, he thought about Lolly-Sue, but he also thought about his parents. They seemed so sad at dinner. Maybe it was because he didn’t want to eat eggs anymore. He didn’t sleep well that night.
The next few days were simply dreadful. It would do no good to document all of the cruel things that the other children said to him, as I’m sure you can imagine. We all know what it is like to be teased. Jaffy didn’t eat one egg. He didn’t even have a heart to help his parents care for the chickens.
You see, Jaffy was torn. He loved his parents and the chickens, and of course, the eggs. But he also wanted Lolly-Sue’s approval. After all, he did plan to marry her.
Then, one night as he lay awake, tossing to and fro, he thought of something. He had an idea. A brilliant, frightening idea to get Lolly-Sue to like him. It was flawless. The only problem was, he would have to talk.
to be continued…