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Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Family · #1997853

"Mom, can I have an egg?"

"Whatever for, Child?"

"The man on the radio said it was hot enough to fry an egg. I want to try it," I sat on the milk crate next to the screen door. There was no answer. I couldn't see into the house. On hot days like this Ma kept every drape closed up tight. Even pinned closed in some cases. I'd asked her once why she did it.

"I open everything up to cool the house down in the morning and then close it up to keep it as cool as I can all day." She'd shooed me out the door and then shut it behind me.

The screen door squealed open on its worn out spring. Ma stood there with a brown egg in her hand. "Come on. We're gonna see if that weather man was right."

I jumped up to follow her.

She marched down the walk to the smooth sidewalk in front of our house. The city men had been there last fall and put a new one along our whole block.

Ma tucked her flowered dress under her knees. "I don't want to get any egg splatterin's on me." She wiped the sweat from her forehead.

"Do you really think it’s as hot as a fryin' pan on this sidewalk?” I had my rubber thongs on so the heat didn't bother my feet. I squatted beside her and touched the smooth cement. "It's hot alright."

"Whacha doin', Jemma?" Ben stopped his bike next to the curb. He talked funny and not just because he had a lollipop in his mouth. He talked funny all the time. Ma said he had a hairlip. I looked at the scar on his lip and I didn't see no hair on it. She was wrong.

"Benjamin, we are going to see if it’s hot enough to fry an egg on this here cement." Ma motioned for him to join us. He dropped the bike on the curb and leaped to the sidewalk and knelt down on the other side of Ma.

"You're going to cook an egg on the sidewalk?" His eyes were as round as an egg with all the white showing. I covered my mouth to keep the laugh that burst out from being too loud.

"We'll see."

She raised the egg up in the air and swished it in a circle. Ben watched her every move, I just watched Ben. She turned and tapped it on the fence piece that connected the two posts. Then with a flourish she cracked it open on the sidewalk.

We all leaned over it. Ma pushed us back with her arms, “Don’t make any shade for it. We want it to cook.”

Nothing happened at first. As we watched, the clear part started to turn white.

“I’ll be. I didn’t believe it,” Ma whispered.

“The man said it was gonna be hot today,” I chimed in.

A few minutes went by as we watched the egg cooking. “Wait here.” Ma got up and went back in the house.

“Is she going to get plates for us to eat it? I don’t think my mother would want me eating anything off the sidewalk.” Ben added louder in case Ma could hear.

“Stupid, we aren’t going to eat it. We’re having an ‘esperiment. Its science, like we did in school last year.”

“Oh yeah.” Ben pulled some of the weeds next to him in the brown grass.

“Here we are. How’s our egg doing? It’s been ten minutes. Do you think it’s done yet?” Ma set a tray next to us and handed us Koolaid in Mason jars.

“Thank you Ma’am.” Ben piped up.

“Oh yeah. Thanks Ma.” The red drink made our lips and tongues red. We laughed at each other, sticking out our tongues to show the color.

“I think it’s about done now.” Ma took a spatula off the tray and a paper plate. She slid the flat part under the edges of the egg and lifted it.

“It didn't stick and I didn't have to use any butter.” Then she tapped the yolk of the egg lightly, it cracked and ran all over the white and on to the sidewalk. “Well, that wasn’t too smart of me.” she tsked.

I heard a noise behind me. I knew what it was. “Help!” I yelled but Duke pushed me over and in a second he’d gobbled up the egg and was licking the yolk off the sidewalk.

“Whacha doin’?” Greg asked as he tried to pull Duke’s leash and Duke from his treat.

“Your dog just ate our science 'esperiment.” I jumped up and thrust my balled fists at my waist. “How come you can’t keep your dog under control?” I’d heard my mother say it just like that.

“I’m sorry. Duke, come here!” He tugged harder on the leash. When Duke had finished licking all the yolk he laid next to Greg on the dry grass.

“Now Jemma, don’t get all bent out of shape. I was going to throw it away. Now Duke gets a treat and I don’t have to hose the sidewalk down to clean it.” She smiled at us and all my anger blew away on the wind, if there would have been any wind.

“Greg, we fried an egg on the side walk.” Ben bounced on his toes.

Greg frowned at us and looked at the rapidly disappearing spot where Duke had eaten the evidence. “You can’t fry an egg on the sidewalk.”

“I guess you’ll have to take our word for it. We did it and your dog ate it.” Mother’s dress swished as she walked back to the house.

“Did not.” Greg whispered.

“Did so.” Both Ben and I said at the same time.

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