The bottle was nearly empty. Cindy was stunned. The innocent carpet picnic she had orchestrated for her boys to bridge the evening hours had turned into a living room massacre of sorts. No one had been harmed, save the cat whose meows rang of a personal assault. The only creature daring to move, she feverishly licked her fur. The three tow-headed tots remained silent and stiff on the floor, their bright, blue eyes wide. It was the youngest who spoke first, his voice squeaking as he pointed, "Mommy, you shook dippy all over the ceiling!"
Still clutching the bottle, its cap long gone, Cindy gazed upwards, her mouth gaping. It was then that a drop of ketchup detached from one of the many strings that had formed and hit Cindy square on her button nose. Scrunching her face, she barely resisted the urge to scream. Redirecting her emotions, she extended her other hand palm side up and calmly quipped, "Whelp, this is interesting weather we are having. Good thing it's chicken fingers for dinner!"
Relieved by her reaction, the three boys immediately burst into giggles of delight. Cindy followed suit and was soon laughing so hard she had to sit down. Ketchup dappled the sofa and now the back of her jeans. It clung to the walls and it hung from the door frames. It stuck in the boy's hair and even to their necks. Ketchup streaked the curtains and across the television screen. Every glimpse of the stuff shook Cindy all the more, her body rocking and reverberating with hysteria.
Tears streaming down her face, she motioned for the boys to eat, their plates already covered in the desired condiment. They happily complied and she plopped down with them after catching her breath. Cindy speckled the rest of the meal with periodic sighs of disbelief, her mind, like the living room, clouded with a bittersweet aroma.
Hours later, the boys long asleep after leaving an orange ring around the tub, Cindy's husband returned home from overtime. "Hey babe, it's me! I brought your favorite!" Reaching into a grease-stained white paper bag, he proudly lifted out a warm package of crispy, golden fries for Cindy to behold. "I'll go get the ketchup."
"Sweetie, wait." Cindy held up her hand. "They look delicious, but let's just leave them plain tonight."
This piece is a work of fiction and was inspired by this week's the speakeasy writing prompt. Click on the button below to read the prompt and the other beautiful writers who hang out there. Thanks!