Eating Dirt

By David H. Coulter

I was in the back lots with my new friend Bobby Peru playing in the dirt on a hot summer day.

As Bobby was scraping a little pile together he wiped tiny beads of sweat off his face and looked up at me.

“Hey, if I eat this spoonful of dirt will you eat one too?” he asked right out of the blue, startling me.

Eat Dirt? No one does that – it has to be awful.

“Boy this smells good enough to eat,” he said.

Oh boy, now he had me wondering if you really could eat dirt.

“No, I don’t wanna, you do it . . .” I said, looking down at some dead ants.

Then it happened.

He put the spoon of dirt in his mouth and it came out it clean. Then he opened up and the inside of his mouth was covered in slimy mud. It was a fascinating sight.

“It’s good,” he stammered. “Try it.”

“C’mon don’t be chicken,” he teased. “It’s good, honest.”

I put the spoon of dirt right in my mouth.

Oh my God.

It was the worst thing I ever tasted in my entire life. The sheer dryness and grit was horrifying. I was going to choke to death and my mother was going to be really mad at me for being so stupid.

I tried to spit the dirt out but it wouldn’t come out. In fact it only got worse. It was glued to my tongue and teeth or something and was choking me to death.

I looked at Bobby who was standing up now and spitting out muddy dirt out and making gagging noises. I ran over to the hose and turned it on full blast but when the scalding water came out I threw it down and stomped my feet in frustration. Bobby grabbed it and shoved it in his mouth and started spitting out dirty water.

Was I stupid or what? I couldn’t believe that I’d actually eaten dirt and was getting really mad that I let Bobby trick me like that.

“Why didn’t you tell me it was so awful?” I yelled, wanting to hit him.

“I wanted to see if I could get you to do it, that’s all,” he said pointing to me and laughing hysterically.

“No one eats dirt; you’re a big idiot,” he taunted then sprayed me in the face with the hose.

Then it dawned on me why I liked my new friend so much. He actually put dirt in his mouth and pretended that it was good just to see if he could get me to do it – and he succeeded.

He was really crazy but I liked him all the more for it.

What a summer it was going to be.

"flashmemoirdavidcoulter"David H. Coulter is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design and the former owner of Coulter + Bass Design, an award-winning design studio based in Providence. For the last several years he has been writing novels and short stories. He resides in Massachusetts with his wife and their cat Coco.


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