“There is sugar for all tastes,” the woman said. “Just grab whatever you like, kids!”
Mike was a bit confused. He was not supposed to eat sugar before dinner and now he was being told to grab as much as he wanted. What about cavities in his teeth? What about the gum problems his mother had told him about? What about having to go the dentist? Oh, no, the dentist, that man with the syringe and the noisy drill and that chair that made him look at the ceiling and count the mold spots (he lost count at one hundred and forty).
“Come on, kids, come on. Don’t be shy.”
Mike took a step closer to the tray with all the goodies, but he was a bit suspicious. The other kids grabbed as much as they could, as quickly as they could, before the adults changed their minds.
“Mike, aren’t you going to take something?” his friend Thomas asked.
Mike shrugged and paced back and forth while the frenzy quieted down.
The woman looked at him and frowned, resting her hand on the hip.
“Michael Joseph Peterson, you must take something,” she said.
Mike shrugged again and the woman knew this one would be the tough case of the day. She decided to use a soft voice and charm instead.
“Mike, dear Mike, you may choose anything you like. See these candies? They are lovely and so tasty. Or this chocolate, it’s so sweet.”
And then she made a mistake, the mistake that made Mike decide what to do. She smiled. And yes, her smile was the tragic result of, let’s say, a sugary life. Teeth were missing; others were as black and filled with cavities as the surface of some odd planet.
Mike looked at his friends. They smiled. And, oh no, they too already had that same smile.
He took a step back and yet another, and ran. He ran back home, to where his mother would nag him about not eating sweets before dinner. That was much better. He actually liked it, that she would do that. And the next time she did, he smiled a perfectly white shiny smile!