The Food Fight

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I was sitting with my friends in the middle of fifth period lunch when something round and greasy hit TJ in the arm.

“Eww, a butterball,” said TJ brushing the lumpy food particle aside. Hearing laughter, we turned around and saw it was none other than table nine – the notorious table nine where the bad kids sat. Oh, mere words could not describe the deep contempt everyone had for that table. They were mean, dirty, and up to no good. Some of those kids had pre-mature snake bites, others had sharp yellow nails, but nearly all of them had long greasy hair and dark clothing.

Our table stayed away from them for the most part. They were just bad news. I mean sure, we may not have been the coolest group of kids to sit with - some of us were skinny and had braces, but hey, we were at least normal. We talked about sports and for the most part, we had stopped thinking that girls had cooties.

Their leader was a big mean kid named Matt, generally known to the public as “Black Matt” for the black baggy clothing he’d wear all year round. Black Matt would do things like steal little kid’s lunch money or push them out of the food line. You didn’t want to get in his way.


One time I saw Black smoking a cigarette in the boy’s bathroom and he asked me if I wanted one. I sort of ran away. I wasn’t stupid. I knew smoking was bad and that everything about the guy was wrong. But if there was one thing that annoyed me more than anything else about Black, it was that he never did anything himself. He was always surrounded by his henchmen and cronies who went about carrying out his evil deeds. They were not real brave kids and neither was Black, but for some reason nobody ever stood up against him and his verbal tyranny has reigned on ever since.

TJ tried to ignore the first one, but the second one hit him square in the cheek.

“That’s it!” TJ said getting up. Everyone knew he was mad, but nobody thought he had the guts to do what he did next. Black had a snicker from ear to ear and then TJ did it. He made direct eye contact with the dark overlord of table nine whom everyone fearfully respected and he stuck out his tongue.

His snicker died instantly and Black Matt whispered something into his right hand man’s ear. A wad of mashed potatoes was promptly scooped up and embedded itself in TJ’s face. The lunchroom grew dead quiet. Not a soul stirred. TJ wiped off the muck with his sleeve and then someone somewhere in an excited pinched voice yelled “FOOD FIGHT!!!”

It was utter chaos. The air was a blur with food flying in all directions. I acted quickly and upturned our table, ducking behind it. More than half the cafeteria was on our side raining fire onto Black’s men, but Black had more cronies than we had anticipated and some of our closest allies began turning on us, creating an army comparable to our own.



TJ, Andrew, and Ralph hid behind our dug-out hurling fire into the face of the enemy, but more and more of our men were falling.


“We’re getting clobbered!” I yelled, mashed potatoes oozing down my cheek. “Bring out the caps!” A line of perhaps twenty or so kids marched behind our defenses, plastic caps in hand. Peas flew in rapid succession like machine gun fire.

“Steady! Hold your position. Now aim…FIRE!!!” A volley of plastic caps flew up into the air and hit their designated targets moments later. Black’s lines groaned and men fell, but they were big and pushed on like a relentless tide. We fell back into the kitchen and barred the doors, the thirty of us panting, battle stained.

“So what’s on this menu anyway?” I barked. TJ whipped out a menu from his back pocket, brushing some mashed potatoes into his hair. “We have mashed potatoes, peas, and…oh no!”

“What?”

“It can’t be!”

“What?!”

“Chicken Parmesan!!!”

“No!” the thirty of us gasp.
Just then a piece of chicken parm splattered against the window and slowly oozed down.
“We need more ammo!” I yelled. “What do we got in this dump?”
“How ‘bout some metal trays,” said TJ, “We can use them as shields”.
“Very good, very good. Anything else?”
“Bananas!”
“Oh baby, this is gunna be good”.
“Hey it’s the soup of the day” Ralph yelled from the back of the counter.
“What is it?”
“Chicken noodle” Ralph said smugly, carrying over a giant boiler.
“Alright men,” I said, “let’s suit up and move out!” We stuffed peas in our pockets and plastic spoons in our socks and stepped out into the hailstorm, metal trays in hand. We organized a solid line of attack and after battering down a few flying meatballs, I issued the sacred battle cry, “CHARGE!!!” I waved my tray wildly and TJ launched peas left and right. Black’s forces staggered with the sudden onrush and TJ and a few others made it behind an abandoned table.
I was crouching low on my way to the table when one of Black’s men jumped out in front of me, smiling malignantly. TJ quick pivoted and shot a pea to the eye and my assailant crumpled to the floor. I panted, and then realizing Black’s forces were trying to flank us yelled, “Take out the bananas!” The remaining thirty of our men unholstered their bananas and began chewing ferociously until all that was left was the peels. “Fire!” Banana peels flew from hands and latched themselves onto the tile a few meters away like sticky grenades. Some senseless baboons slipped to their deaths, but the others had half a mind to take a step back.
We had pushed back most of Black’ men along the north wall, but there was one audacious group that kept pushing forward and were giving our men grief along our eastern flank. I gave TJ the nod and we opened up on their exposed side, hoping to catch them by surprise, but it was unbelievable. A tall pale kid with a lot of acne and a doo rag was going a million miles an hour, arms launching guided peas in all directions. His buddy was just as crazy except he looked a little like Jack Black and was sweating up a storm with his long black hair. Jack and Acne parried and returned our fire. I nearly got a pea to the face! They were really doing a number to our lines. In another minute, they’d break through and isolate our men and be free to pick us apart. I could already begin to feel the rest of Black’s army making its way over to the hole in our wall, the temperature rising.
TJ and I staged another attack, but it was no use. They were too good. Just then I caught a flicker of movement out of the corner of my eye and saw Ralph and Andrew storm the steps to the second level. Andrew threw a chicken parmesan and yelled, “Yeah get some!” it exploded seconds later with a deafening bang and sent Blacks hurtling over the balcony. Ralph raced up with his boiler and aimed for the goons’ heads. “SOUP FOR YOU!!!”
The molten chicken noodle washed Jack and Acne away and forced the others to turn tail and run. Then it was all fair pickings. We chased those big bad kids away with skinny boys and braces and sent up the wild war whoop. Now Black was all alone, but crazy enough he was still fighting as I watched him bring down another white boy. I was madder than anything and I wanted him right then and there. But then law enforcement came. They kicked open all the exit doors and dropped through the ceiling vents. They wore all black with neat little ID badges in corporate gray that read “suit”. As they approached me and Black they shouted, “Drop your food!”
I dropped mine but they shot me three times anyway – three green cards feathering out from my chest. I turned to my left and saw my buddies go down. They were wrestling a chicken parmesan from Andrew’s fist. To my right was Black, crying, broken, and already passed out. A tingling sensation clawed from me the back of my brain. I smiled, slowly slipping from consciousness. It was a good day.


*****

That Saturday morning I served detention with all my friends and enemies. It was more of an act of patriotism, of stern defiance, than an actual form of punishment. I was proud to be there. We sent a message that day – a message that would become more rampant than the Swine Flu. We had stood up against Black Matt, challenged his authority, and won. He was finally exposed for the evil dictator that he was. It was a fall with which we could allow no recovery.

We were conveniently alphabetized and Black happened to be sitting right next to me. I was alone amidst all his men. All my friends were in the far corner of the room. I strummed my silver harp defiantly and glowered at my bitter enemy.

He was hunched over with his long hood over his head and his dark hair streaked across his eyes. He was staring down at his desk breathing slowly. I blew him off and turned my head away disgustedly. He was even uglier up close. I thought of the glorious battle – how very brave we all were because what else were we supposed to do?

Detention really does drag on for an eternity, especially when that Nazi of a teacher is drilling holes in your head, as if he’s trying to squeeze the ooze right out of you or something. I glanced over at my friends and saw Andrew with his head lolled back snoring serenely on the rattling space heater.

It was pretty cold actually. I stretched my sleeves over my hands and curled up on the desk…

I awoke to the sharp pang gnawing from the pit of my stomach. I looked up at the clock. We had been there for almost three hours. Just one more to go. I tried to go back to sleep, but I was awake now and the cold sun kept jabbing me in the eyes. I sat up and looked around.

There was a general stirring in the room. Kids yawned, stretched, sleepy-eyed and bloodshot. Some light murmuring. If it was the leg of a redeye, this would be the time the flight attendants would carefully roll down the aisle and ask you if you would like any coffee or tea. The Nazi Drill Sergeant even stifled a yawn as he flipped through the titles of a newspaper.

I arched my back and noticed some kids opening bags of chips in their pockets. The Serge delighted in a tangerine and soon the smell permeated throughout the room and my stomach roared like a madman.

Just then something skidded across my desk and hit me in the arm. It was a piece of a granola bar. I looked over and saw Black Matt crunching on a Nature Valley.

I looked at him, sharp yellow teeth shredding the bar to pieces and he looked at me with cool dark eyes. I weighed the crumb in my hand, popped it into my mouth, and chewed suspiciously, all the while looking at Matt.

I swallowed and he raised an eyebrow.

I was shocked.

He tossed me the rest of his bar and spoke, “You know, I really don’t file my teeth”.





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