by Myles Abroad
It's all about taste.
The red fluorescent sign, Insects-R-Us, glares. My wife and I stagger to a halt. The newest store in the mall mills with enthusiastic millennials.
"Say, Hank, ain't that the place that sells reconstituted bug goo?" Ethel says, the colour draining from her face.
Nauseated, I nod. Inside, a young buck grins as he places a grey quivering slice of gunk in his mouth. His pal slaps him on the back, laughing. I shudder. The future, they say. Best way to get protein without the greenhouse gases. Huh!
"What's this world coming to, Hank? Thank God our kids have more sense." Not wanting to dispel her confidence in our progeny, I stay quiet and smile. Our son-in-law. He's a problem. One of those save-the-planet activists that'll drag our gullible daughter through every scam. Ethel elbows me. "I dare you to go in there." She beams a grin. "They got free samples."
By times, my wife acts like a third-grader. I'm no better. I always say nope until she waves the you're-too-scared-card, and I give in. Five minutes later, I cross bug smorgasbord's threshold-without Ethel, who said she'd puke. Pushing through the jostling crowd, I refuse a tray of chocolate-covered-grasshoppers and gag when offered a southern-fried-tarantula. Something grabs my shoulder, and I yelp. My daughter's honking laugh brings me to my senses. As she hugs and interrogates me, I glimpse boxes of beef paddies in her bag. Noticing my stare, she says, "They're for our get-together on Saturday. Amazing what they can do. They taste just like hamburgers. You and Mom still coming?"
My stomach churns. Forcing a grin, I stutter an, "Uh-yeah-about that. I gotta work-you know how it is." I brighten, suppressing a chuckle. "But your mom, she'll be there."