Russell finished running a relay and joined his friend Becky in the cafeteria. He asked,“ What’s for lunch?”
“Sesame chicken. It’s OK, except the meat’s charred. Oh, and watch out for the chili
peppers,” Becky said.
“Chilies don’t bother me!” said Russell.
“My stepmother says you should be careful with them,” replied Becky.
An argument ensued about eating chilies. “ Chilies aren’t so bad. I bet I can take more bites of this chili than you,” Russell said.
Becky was wary of eating the pepper. Despite her reluctance, she didn’t want to say no to the bet. She wavered about whether to do it or not. She negotiated the details.
“What will the winner get?” she asked.
“The loser has to carry the winner’s books for a year! I’ll even let you go first.”
Becky replied, “Fine, but to clarify, you’ll carry my books for the entire school year, right?”
Russell restated the agreement, “That’s right, I’ll carry your books all year if you win — which you won’t!”
His dogged persuasion convinced her. The chili looked benign, but Becky knew it could
cause a lot of pain. She bit the bottom of the pepper. Surprisingly, she felt nothing.
“My turn,” said Russell. He bit the middle of the chili. Immediately, he seemed to be in distress. He gasped and his face alternated between brave and pained expressions.
He experienced an overdose of spice. He was on the verge of tears and finally let out a horrible cry.
“Take this,” said Becky, handing him her drink.
“That was awful!” he said, continuing to sip from the glass.
That night, Becky researched chilies. The next day she said in an apologetic voice,
“I read that the hot part of chilies is in the middle, where the seeds are. I’m sorry — I feel like I cheated by going first.”
Russell was relieved, not only did he learn something new about chilies, but he learned that Becky was a good friend.
The Party Cody’s family moved to a new house. His dad got a new job as a professor. Cody liked his new town, but he missed his grandparents. For his birthday, Cody wanted to have a party. His dad said, “Yes, we could even have a band play!” On the day of the party, Cody […]
Here’s another song, this one from the late , great, David Bowie. This is perhaps Bowie’s most-recognised and -used song, although on its release in 1977 it did well, but was not a chart-topper. The song was inspired by an illicit affair one of Bowie’s cohorts was involved in, and of course, the The Wall […]
The North Star – Polaris Among the multitude of stars in the universe, there are a couple that are of great importance to people on Earth. The sun, of course, is one of them. The other is known as Polaris, the North Star. Polaris is special because it is the only star that always appears […]
This is a song I love, almost despite myself. It’s by 1980s college-radio-band cum stadium rockers REM. The lyrics may not make prosaic sense, but the melody is gorgeous, innit? Listen up, read along in your own language, and enjoy! There’s a problem, feathers, iron Bargain buildings, weights and pulleys Feathers hit the ground before […]
The Shepherd and the Sheep Once there was a shepherd. Every night he counted and gathered his sheep. He was sure never to overlook any of them. One night, he saw some wild sheep had joined his herd. He hoped to acquire the newcomers. It snowed that night. In the morning, the shepherd couldn’t take […]
Here’s another song, this one from the prominent New Zealand singer and songwriter Dave Dobbyn. This is Dobbyn’s brilliant version of a poem by another great New Zealander, James K. Baxter . The powerful auto-biographical song touches on two themes Baxter returned to over and again – Catholicism, and alcoholism. Have a listen, read along […]
The Avalanche Randy was a forest ranger. Because of his job, he was secluded in a cabin in the wilderness. One day, the radio reported, “Convection in the atmosphere is causing a lot of clouds to form. A serious storm . . . ” Suddenly, the radio went silent. The signal was lost. He went […]
The Dragon An evil dragon lived in a castle in the remote southern mountains. One day the monster landed in a town. The dragon commanded the people, “Give me food now, or I will eat you!” The dragon lifted its wings so that its lungs could be completely filled with hot steam, and breathed it […]
Here’s another song, with lyrics, included for no other reason than that I love it. That, and the lyrics are clearly sung and easy to understand, and for the sheer poetry in them. I especially like this couplet; The supply of an Empire where the sun never set Which is now deep in darkness, but […]