“Food!” The child clattered his spoon against the empty plate.
“No, honey, not yet,” his mother hovered nearby. “We need to wait for your father to get home.”
The child turned his dark eyes up to his mother, grinning with bright, sharp, narrow teeth. “Food,” he whispered. “Food now.”
“Not yet, honey. We can’t eat yet. Not until your father gets back from the office.”
The child reached up into his mouth and pulled out a tooth. “Dad?” He proffered the needle to his mother.
“Oh, yes. This one will work fine for a syringe! Good job, honey.” The mother took it and moved into the kitchen, decorated in pale blue ceramic tiles and pale green wallpaper. She slipped the needle into a holding tray in the dishwasher. Everything had to be sterile before it got to the office, after all. She glanced back at her son. Yes, those fingernails should be ready to harvest as fillings, and his skin for bandaids, too.
He was such a good boy, giving his body to his father’s business. He just needed to learn patience was all.
“Dad?” he asked again, looking around, his spoon scraping against the plate.
“Soon, honey. Soon.”
They heard the whistle before he opened the door. Doctor Spearmint strode into their home, a cheery tune on his lips.
“How was your day?”
“Just fine, sugar,” he answered.
“Dad! Food!” the boy called out from the table.
“Just a moment, son. Let your dad get his tie off!” The doctor set down his briefcase and took off his tie. He slipped out of his suit jacket and rolled up his sleeves. “I take it we don’t have time for me to change?”
“Not if you don’t want a riot on your hands,” his wife answered.
“Well, all right then.” He sat down on the table, lying back. “Dig in, honey,” he said to his son.
“Wait! We need to say grace.” His wife sat down.
The doctor rolled his eyes. “All right.”
Together the three intoned, “We are thankful to our authors for imagining us, and for forgetting us, so we can be together. Amen.”
And with that, the boy tore into the doctor’s arm, bright red blood welling around his mouth. He sucked at the wound. He found a muscle and tore at it, pulling it into his mouth and slurping.
His wife nibbled at his neck and shoulder.
As he was eaten, the doctor smiled. “Tell me about your day, dear.”
This is a Barrelbottom Tale.
We last saw Doc Spearmint in the Medicines of Doc Spearmint.