Fried

Prompt: Write a story inspired by an image of your choice (found online).

summer-sidewalk-hot-enough-to-fry-egg_shutterstock_14073988

“I’m bored,” Callie whined as she folded a torn out magazine page into a fan. “It’s hot. Let’s go inside.”

“You’re always bored, Callie.” I replied absent-mindedly. It’s true, Callie is always bored. Always buzzing from one activity to the next, she has never followed through on anything. Except being my friend — best friend.

“Come on, Lizzie! Let’s do something fun!” She squeals from the lounge chair next to me.  I barely look up from my magazine. Something fun equals me getting in trouble.

“Want to jump in the pool?” I suggest. “We could play Marco Polo.”

“Marco Polo is lame with only two people.”

“We can play UNO.”

“Even lamer than Marco Polo.”

Exhausted from this conversation, I sigh. “Than what would you suggest? And don’t say watching TV.”

“Oh! I know! Let’s play mad science!”

I don’t like the sound of mad science. The last time I played one of Callie’s made up game, we ending up blowing the door of my microwave and breaking my mother’s favorite coffee mug. I was grounded for an entire month. Even worse than being grounded was the fact that I had to take all of my life savings to buy a new microwave.

“I’m not in the mood to blow up the microwave again.”

“We’ll think up a new science experiment! And I promise we won’t blow anything up.”

“I don’t believe you.”

“Let’s play a joke on Simon!” She says enthusiastically. Simon, my older brother who’s home from college, hates to be bothered. From August to May he studies furiously. He’s been a straight A student since he came out of the womb. Or at least that’s what I’m told. However, any break or day off he sends furiously gaming.

“You know Simon doesn’t like to be bothered. Besides he’s in the middle of some big quest or something. Dork!”

“Come on Lizzie! Please!”

I don’t want to admit this to her, but playing mad science would be better than what we’re currently doing. She stares me, making that sad puppy dog face that she knows will sucker me into any one of her crazy ideas.

“Let’s play handball,” I suggest. I rule at handball. “My mom just bought me these purple tennis balls!”

“You know I don’t like handball. I have no hand eye coordination. And beside the last time we played you whacked the ball so hard it bounced off the garage door and whacked me smack in the nose. I had two black eyes thanks to you.”

“That was an accident. I still feel terrible about that. I promise I’ll go easy.”

She shakes her head. Callie has never been athletic. Her idea of organized sports is shopping at Macy’s on black Friday. It’s reasons like this that make Callie and I best friends. We’re complete opposites. The only thing we have in common is that we were once the new kids at school.

“What about extreme hop scotch,” I say enthusiastically. Extreme hop scotch was a game that Callie and I invented last summer. Instead of eight boxes we made our board with sixteen. And with each toss of the shooter we didn’t just jump – we created different ways to get to the end of the board. One of the ways was by slapping on a pair of old school roller skates and jumping to the end of the board. It was a good idea until I fell, hard and broke my ankle.

“Yeah, let’s play that again. Maybe this time I’ll break my ankle,” she says sarcastically.

I give up. I wave my white flag of surrender.

“Fine, let’s play made science,” I say. After all, I’m just as bored as she is.   “What’s the plan?”

“Mom was telling me about something her and Aunt Jeanie used to do when they were little,”

“You mean, younger. Both your mom and your Aunt Jeanie are short,” I say with a chuckle.

“Don’t get technical,” she huffs. “Anyways, they used to fry eggs on the sidewalk.”

“That’s impossible Callie. Not to mention a waste of a perfectly good egg!”

“You don’t even like eggs, so what do you care if it’s a waste.”

“It’s not that I don’t like them, I’m allergic.”

“Still, who cares. It’s only a few eggs.”

I don’t know why I give in so easily. “Fine, but we can’t use the eggs in the fridge.”

“Why not?”

“They’re old. Like super old. We were supposed to color them for easter. Instead they were shoved to the back and forgotten about. So, yeah. Rotten eggs on a hot day … yuck!”

“Let’s go to the store. Do you have any money?”

“No, but I know someone who does.”

“Who?” she asks.

“Simon. He leaves money in his pants pockets all the time. Mom hasn’t done laundry yet, so I bet we could scrounge up a few bucks. Maybe even enough for eggs and a slushy.”

We head inside and into the laundry room. At the top of the hamper I spy a few pairs of Simon’s shorts at the top. Score! I reach in and pull out a camo cargo pair. There are many pockets. The more pockets, the more bank. I reach my hand into the first pocket and find only pennies. In the back pocket I find lint and a partially ripped dollar bill.

When the cargo shorts proves fruitless, I move onto the pair of jean shorts. Three of the four pockets have used tissues. I’m thoroughly grossed out. The fourth pocket of the shorts, I reach in and find a ten-dollar bill.

“Victory! Ten bucks – enough for eggs, slushies, and then some.” I announce waving the money in front of Callie’s face.

We walk to the quick mart. The cool air circulating from the overhead vents blasts us as we walk in. The store isn’t the best – it’s kind of dirty, the customers are sketchy, and you have to check the expiration dates on everything – even the water. We wave at Tammy, the check out girl. She’s flipping through one of those books with the half-naked guys on the front cover.

“Hey girls,” she calls from the counter. “Cherry slushy machine is broken, only blue raspberry works.”

We nod in Tammy’s general direction as we make our way to the refrigerated section. We’re scanning the coolers looking for eggs. When we finally find them, we dig out a carton that isn’t expired or doesn’t contain any cracked eggs. We also get a jumbo sized blue raspberry slushy to share, a pack of strawberry pop rocks to pour into said slushy, as much junk food as the remaining five dollars can buy.

Once home, we stand on the sidewalk an egg in each hand.

“Do you think we should use some of that spray oil?”

“For what?” I ask.

“So it doesn’t stick.”

“You’re not going to actually eat this egg, are you?” I say with just a hint of disgust in my voice. She doesn’t answer me. I can see the gears turning in her head. She’s actually considering eating the egg. “Callie, you are not eating the egg. It’s disgusting! Do you know what kind of things happen on the sidewalk?! People’s dirty shoes trample all over it. There are bugs. Animals go to the bathroom on the sidewalk.”

“Okay, I won’t eat it.”

“So what do we do? Just crack the egg on the ground?!”

“Basically.”

We find the perfect spot of concrete – no shade with the hot full sun beating violently down on it. I press the palm of my had to the ground to see just how hot the ground is. Picking it up quickly, the ground feels as if it’s on fire. Squatting down side by side, Callie and I tap the hard white shell against the curb. When a think crack appears, we jam our fingers into the shell, and crack it wide open, and let the gooey egg drop. Standing we take a few steps back to make sure our shadows aren’t blocking the sun.  We stare. We wait. We stare and we wait.

Nothing happens. An army of ants consumes the egg. Before long, all there is a sea of tiny black wriggling insects.

“Well, that’s gross,” Callie says, disappointed.

“I don’t think the ground is hot enough. We need something that will conduct enough heat to get a sizzle.”

“Like what?”

“I know!” I say as I run into the house. “Foil! It’s the perfect conductor.”

With foil down, we crack some more eggs. And still  … nothing but ants.

“This is useless,” I say sitting on the drying grass of my front lawn. “I knew this wasn’t going to work,” I mutter to myself. Calling is still looking at the eggs hoping for the slightest simmer.

“I’ve got it! We need more heat!”

“Duh,” I exclaim.

“No, more than the ground and more than the foil. We need a car!” She runs over to Simon’s beat up Jetta. And before I can stop her, she is cracking an egg onto the car’s hood. I run over, intrigued to see if this is actually going to work. After a few seconds we hear a faint crack, pop, and fizzle.

“Callie, you’re a genius!”

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3 Comments

Filed under Nicole's Stories

3 responses to “Fried

  1. missprint

    This story was so fun! Are Callie and Lizzie younger? They seem younger and I think you captured that really well although I kind of wanted confirmation in the text so I could feel (even more) smug. I was right there with Callie and Lizzie in the summer heat and I loved the way the story ends.

    Crazy idea: What if you cut off that last bit of dialog and ended instead with the egg just starting to fry?

  2. Nicole

    Both Callie and Lizzie are younger. In my head I imagined them to be about 11 or 12 years old. I didn’t write in an age specifically because I wanted readers to imagine themselves – at whatever age – doing something like this. I wanted it to be a story of the young and the young at heart if that makes sense. But yes, when I wrote Callie and Lizzie, I imagined them to be young.

    I was going to end it that way. But this way felt ‘right’ for whatever reason.

  3. missprint

    I somehow missed that you left this comment ages ago but I loved the insight!

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