What Big Eyes, By Jude Tulli
What are we making for dinner, Grandma? When are you going to tell me? You know how I love surprises best at the very moment they turn into presents. How much longer?
You're trying my patience, you know. That's what Mommy says to me all the time, ha ha.
All right, I'm firing up the oven. Hotter? Hotter?
My, my, what kind of roast will this be?
Still hotter?! Something big and juicy, I bet. And it's not even my birthday! I love coming to visit you, Grandma!
Aww, you feel extra fluffy when I hug you today! What's next?
Eggs! Oh boy, I love cracking open eggs. Watch, Mommy taught me how to do it with just a knife. More? See, I don't even get a bit of shell in there. Watch, Grandma. Watch! Well, that one turned out bad but the next one I'll get it. Master chef, that's me. Watch!
What do we need next? More eggs?! Wow, this is going to be a big turkey! Oh that's right, it's not a turkey, it's a. . .
Ha ha ha ha ha I thought I could trick you into telling me what it is! Didn't work, you're too sharp Grandma! Sharp as those new teeth you grew in last year while I was away. I don't know where you got a chicken big enough to need all these eggs, though.
Not a chicken, either. Hmm. . . Hey! Why'd you dump the eggs all over the floor?! Mommy would kill me if I ever--
You want me to what? Roll around in the eggs and then go play in that sandbox filled with corn meal?
Grandma, you're getting loopy in your old age, you know that?
I can too repeat after you, I learned how to do that when I was a baby and now I'm a big girl: "A master chef must know what it feels like to be the meal she is preparing in order to execute it properly."
No, I've never heard that before in my life! What's execute mean again? I used to know I just forgotted.
Oh, that kind of makes sense, I suppose, in a strange sort of way like having to wash your hands even when they don't look dirty.
If it'll make you happy, Grandma, I'll roll around in the eggs. Like this? Or should I spin around the other way?
Ew, they're all in my hair! Yucky! When do I get to wash up?
All right, I'm playing in the sandbox now. It's a little less gross to be covered with eggs and cornmeal than just eggs. But not much.
Is this what my meal is going to feel like? I don't know if I want to put any poor animal through this.
What's over there now? The oven's already fired up, Grandma, don't you remember?
All right, I'll see if it's hot enough. No I've never stepped inside a lit oven before. Mommy wouldn't stand for it.
You sure that's the best way? I've never heard of that. Yes, I know Mommy doesn't exactly keep up with the times, but--
We're having lamb?! Really?! Lamb?!
Ooh, I love lamb! You must love it too, I can tell cause you're drooling an awful lot.
Wait a second! Is it already dead, because I don't like being around when they--
Oh, whew! Grandma, you know me so well!
I'm stepping into the oven now. Ow! It's burning through my shoes!
Take them off? You have gone mad, haven't you!
Stretching out will cool me off? There's not nearly enough room for that, Grandma, I've grown!
It's definitely hot enough but the door being open is drawing out the heat.
I DIDN'T MEAN FOR YOU TO CLOSE IT!
WHY IS IT LOCKED?! OPEN THE DOOR, GRANDMA! IT'S TOO HOT IN HERE!
OPEN THE DOOR! STOP SHAKING YOUR HEAD LIKE THAT! WHAT DO YOU MEAN IT'S BROKEN?!
LOOK HERE, IN MY EYES, GRANDMA! OPEN! THE! DOOR!
WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT, "WHAT BIG EYES I HAVE?" OF COURSE I'VE GOT BIG EYES, MOMMY SAYS I GOT THEM FROM YOU!
NOW OPEN THE DAMN DOOR, I'M DYING IN HERE!
What's gotten into you, Grandma? Why did you leave me in there so long? It's hot enough for any lamb I've ever met, I could have told you that when the door was open!
You're not my Grandma?
Grandma was heading off to visit Mommy while I was on my way here and you--wait a minute I'm still catching my breath. You--you're that wolf I met in the forest?
Sorry I said a bad word.
I suppose there is no lamb, is there?
I don't think I like surprises anymore.
Thank you for changing your mind, at least.
Now get the hell out of Grandma's house.
Jude Tulli loves and writes short and novel-length fairy tales. He was honored to be included in the "Little Mermaid" edition of Enchanted Conversation. He lives in the Sonoran Desert with his beloved wife Trish and a small pride of housecats.