The Test

It was Friday afternoon, just after 4 o’clock, and on the long, well scrubbed wooden kitchen table sat a very fat cookie jar with a note taped to the lid.  The note said, “No cookies inside.”  The kitchen smelled of warm peanut butter and brown sugar. From a half open cupboard door the eye of a security camera gleamed.


The family came home, one at a time, from school, and football practice, and dance class, and work. As each one passed through the kitchen, they saw the note, smiled or laughed, and picked up the lid of the cookie jar just to check.  They all knew their Mom. She kept the cookie jar full, no matter what.  After feeling around the bottom of the empty jar, the smiles slowly faded away.


The last leaves were falling from the sweet gum tree in the front yard as the sun went down. The kitchen table had a bowl of apples, which sat next to the cookie jar. This time the cookie jar had a note that spelled out “EMPTY.”  The back door began its usual evening chore of letting the family in, one at a time.  The older boy had been at basketball practice, the daughter came in chatting with her best friend on her cell phone; while the twins had been at Girl Scouts.  Every one opened the cookie jar with their right hands and felt around with their left hands, only to come up empty again.  No one noticed the half open cupboard door.


Halloween came on Saturday night and the weather was perfect, with the sky clear and cool and filled with the light from a Harvest moon overhead. The children came tearing into the kitchen, full of plans about trick or treating, and costumes, and scary jokes. The cookie jar, large and plump with its face carved like the world’s best pumpkin, smiled at them while the note on the lid said, “Don’t Open!”   Of course, they did open the lid; each and every one of them, but no cookies, peanut butter, or chocolate chip or oatmeal raisin were inside.


Christmas Eve had the family gathered at the foot of the Christmas tree, staring at all the packages underneath, and trying to figure out how their wished for ice skates, or  hiking boots, or a Shetland pony fit into the small rectangles of wrapped paper that covered the floor.  Before they could start to whine, Mom turned on the television set and started to play the tape she had been working on all fall.  The silence was broken by giggles as the family recognized the pictures on the screen, then they started laughing, and finally broke into howls.  At the end of the tape, Mom said, “This was a test! Now go ahead and open your presents.”  And there were big books, small books,  red books, green books,  funny books, sad books, and there where even cook books with lots of cookie recipes.



2 Responses

  1. Barb,
    Is this a #fridayflash?

  2. Yes, everything so far were Friday Flash entries. Jon had put the early ones on the Omni web site.

    Barb Relyea

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