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The Brownies Episode

James Osborne | Kristy Lankford

As a teenager, my usual pattern was to bike home from school for a quick supper and then ride my bike on to work. But one day a delicious distraction lured me into deep trouble.

‘Wow! Look at that,’ I thought as I walked through the kitchen door. ‘Brownies!’

My favorite treat was brownies and milk.

Like most growing 15-year-old boys, I had an insatiable appetite. The term ‘hollow legs’ applied. And sweets? Well … right at the top of the list of the most irresistible.

My mother knew about such things. She’d grown up with nine brothers. Accordingly, extra sandwiches were in the fridge for my after-school meals, along with fruit and sliced veggies.

I sat at the kitchen table and munched through the meal prepared by Mom before she’d gone to her job. Despite the delicious meal, I just couldn’t ignore the distraction on the kitchen counter next to me.

I kept glancing at the huge double-batch of brownies resting atop two large cooking racks. Normally, Mom made a single batch of brownies. With five in the family, I rarely got as many as I really wanted.

‘Mom must have figured that,’ I reasoned. At that moment, I began to feel an extra special warmth toward her for her thoughtfulness.

‘What a wonderful surprise,’ I thought.

The fresh scent of chocolate permeated the kitchen air. It kept drawing my eyes back, again and again to the little brown squares topped with rich chocolate icing. Yum!

Those brownies were beckoning me…teasing me…tempting me. I just knew it. In fact, I was absolutely sure of it.

I went to the fridge, poured another glass of cold milk…and succumbed.

‘Mom won’t mind me having a few,’ I reassured myself. ‘I’ll just have the same number of them that I’d usually have when I got home tonight.’ Of course, I conveniently overlooked promising myself that many more then.

I left for work. I’d been there almost an hour when the phone rang.

“You ate all those brownies!!!”

It was Mom’s voice … loud, accusing and very angry.

“How could you?” she shouted. “How could you?”

“But, Mom,” I began to reply.

“How could you?” Mom demanded again.

“But I thought you left them so I could have a few,” I was finally able to say. “I just had a few, Mom.”

“A few?” Mom’s voice thundered from the phone.

“A few!” she repeated. “You ate almost half of them!”

“Really?” I answered. I knew it was an exaggeration. But I was beginning to feel guilty just the same, and I knew better than to contradict Mom when she was this angry with me.

“Yes, really!” Mom said, struggling to calm down. “I made a double batch for a very good reason!”

I felt again the warm glow of Mom’s thoughtfulness.

“And you,” she continued, her voice still carrying a shrill edge, “And you ate half of one batch.”

“Gee,” I replied. “I didn’t realize…but they were soooooo good, Mom!”

“Don’t you, ‘Soooo good Mom’ me,” she replied, a hint of her well-developed maternal love forcing its way into her stern voice.

“I made those brownies for my Women’s Institute meeting here tonight. I made just enough to go around so everybody could have one! See what you did? Now, what am I to do? They’ll be here any minute!”

She hung up.

“Oh shit!” I thought, suitably ashamed and humbled.

The next morning, I sought and received forgiveness. My love of brownies remained unrequited. But from that day forward I made certain to check first before munching into or past my permissible quotas of desserts.

About James Osborne

James Osborne is the award-winning author of more than 60 short stories and two suspense/thriller novels. His fiction, creative non-fiction and humorous short stories have won regional and international awards, and have been published in a number of popular anthologies.

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