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Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Contest Entry · #2193535
Full tang means that the whole knife is one piece, with the handle nailed to it.
It was early in the morning, on a balmy summer's day in Chicago. Everyone was out, enjoying the beautiful weather. Parades were going on. People were kissing. That kind of thing. In the park near Lincoln Park Zoo, there was a special gathering of friends.

Brian Piccadilo was sitting in the grass with his friend, Henson Butterfrees. They had a picnic basket on the towel, and their was a kite in a tree beside them, with a young boy climbing to retrieve it. After a few minutes they spotted somebody walking up.

“Hey, Matt,” said Brian. “This is Henson.”

“Hey, Henson,” said Matt, pulling a knife out of his pocket. “Hey check this out, dude. I just got this Kabar knife off Ebay. Sweet. Black metal. Full tang.”

“Sweet,” said Brian. “I should've told you he was a knife fanatic. “And this is...the big one.”

“Yeah, you can totally smell the full tang,” said Matt.

“Wait, what?' said Henson.

“You can smell the tang,” said Matt.

“You can smell the Tang of a metal blade?” said Henson.


“Why do they call it full tang, do you know?” said Henson.

“They, dip it in Tang,” said Matt.

“They do what?”

“They dip it in Tang,” said Matt.

“Tang powder? The soft drink from the nineties?” said Henson.

“Yeah, Tang is deadly, man,” said Matt.


“Yeah, I had a cousin that died from drinking Tang,” said Matt.

“Really? Did he die from drinking Tang, or did he die in a rollerblading or snowboarding accident,” said Henson.

“Matt loves knives-”

“Naw, Brian, it's cool,” said Matt. “Yeah, man. Tang is a real killer. Why do you think they stopped selling it back then?”

“Because no one was drinking the Kool Aid?”

“Naw, because it's poison,” said Matt. “It gets into your blood stream and it just...kills you, man.”

“So, all of those mysterious deaths in the nineties-”


“They were all caused by Tang?”

“Absolutely,” said Matt.



“Princess Di?”


“Wilt Chamberlain?”


“So you're telling me,” said Henson. “That all of those people, in the nineties, were killed by Kool-Aid powder?”

“It's the mysterious killer.”

“Are you sure?” said Henson.

“Of course I'm sure. Sure of what?”

“Are you absolutely sure that they dip Kabar knives in Tang?” said Henson.

Matt thought about this for a while. He replied sheepishly.

“Well, it could be a Tang reservoir...”

“A Tang what?”

“A Tang reservoir,” said Matt. “You know how most metal things are hollow? Well, they could possibly fill it with Tang. Like a poison reservoir.”

“So, your knife is full of Tang?” said Henson.

“Yeah,” said Matt. “You can totally hear it jiggling in there when you shake it.”

“Wow. That is interesting,” said Henson. “What about half-tang blades, why do the call them half-tang?”

“Half a cup?”

“So you think that there's half a cup of Tang in each of those knives?” said Henson.


“So, your Kabar knife has a full cup of Tang in it?” said Henson.

“Sure, they're big enough.”

“Uh, guys,” said Brian.

“Naw, it's okay,” said Matt. “We're just talking.”

“No, guys,” said Brian, “I didn't know what to bring to drink so I-”


“I brought a case of vintage Tang that I had left over,” said Brian.

“You're kidding me,” said Henson.

“No, it's real,” said Brian, opening up the picnic basket to reveal the bottle of Tang inside.

“Well,” said Henson, casually mixing the Tang with water from the Smart Water bottle. “Let's drink.”

He then took a swig. The other two looked on nervously, and began to sweat.

“C'mon, guys, take a sip,” said Henson.

“Sorry, guy,” said Brian. “I'm all out of ice cubes. Can't drink Tang without ice.”

“Yeah, man,” said Matt. “Then it's even more deadly.”

“Yeah, I'm not gonna die, guys. Just so you know,” said Henson as a bumble bee flew by and landed on his cup while he drank.

“You know, I got warm lemonade in my pickup if you want some,” said Matt.

“Uh, yea,” said Brian. “Let's go get the lemonade. Excuse us a min, Henson.”

Just then, they walked over the Matt's Ram Renegade, which was parked in a cul-de-sac to the north.

“I'm sorry about what happened over there, Matt,” said Brian. “Henson isn't very knowledgeable about knives.”

“That's okay,” said Matt. “I'm not very knowledgeable about...what does he do?”
“He's a biologist, I think.”

As they were walking back with the lemonade, Matt noticed a stray kitten.

“Awe, who's the cute little kitten?” said Matt. “You so cute! Who's the cutest little stray kitten in the whole wide world?”

“Yeah, man,” said Matt. “I'm thinking of heading out to California, doing some serving.”

“It's called surfing,” said Brian.

“No,” said Matt. “I want to play Volley Ball.”

“Oh, okay,” said Brian. “That should be fun.”

“In a bikini.”

“Do you have the bikini yet?” said Brian.

“It's in my Ram Rebel. I'll show it to you at the airport,” said Matt.

They arrived back at the picnic to see that Henson had passed out. Brian tried to wake him, but he wouldn't wake up.

“See man?” said Matt. “I told you. That Tang, man.”

“Man, I'm glad we stuck to lemonade,” said Brian.

The stray kitten then came up and licked Henson's sneaker. Matt called an ambulance on his phone, and they hid the Tang before they got there, in case it looked like they poisoned him. Brian rode to the hospital with Henson in the back. They passed the Passcode District on the way to St. Mary's, only five miles away.

A day later, they did an autopsy on Henson and discovered that he had died laughing.

At the funeral Matt was beside himself with grief.

"If only I had been more emphatic. Less apologetic," he said as he gave a gripping eulogy.

There was not a dry eye in the house. Afterwards, there was a special memorial where people would drop empty Tang bottles, singing.
© Copyright 2019 John Andrew Jenkins (johnjenkins at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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