Variations on a Theme by William Carlos Williams
1. I chopped down the house that you had been saving to live in next summer.
I am sorry, but it was morning, and I had nothing to do
and its wooden beams were so inviting”
Two of my eggs have disappeared. There were three eggs left from the original dozen after I fried one (over-easy with a piece of toast) a few days ago. Yet as I groggily shuffled into the kitchen yesterday morning, opened the refrigerator door, and dug through other people’s rotting muck to retrieve my fresh, white eggs, I was shocked to find just one, lone egg. Its pink expiration date stared up at me like a sad, drooping eye.
To get to my pristine eggs, one would have to burrow below a container of hummus, jar of mayonnaise, and carton of spoiled milk. The culprit would have had to rummage through that garbage, take my eggs, and then skillfully pile the vile things back on top of my eggs—sorry, egg—without leaving a trace of evidence. Someone that clever should have noticed my name on the box and been deterred from taking their chances stealing the RA’s food. Don’t they see the signs I’ve plastered all over the cupboards? Wipe down the stove when you’re done using it. Dishes left in the sink for more than a day will be THROWN AWAY. Stop leaving heaps of spaghetti in the sink, David. I rule this kitchen with an iron fist.
This is not the first time someone has stolen from me. In the past two months someone has stolen my blueberries, my bread. The day after I created the sign, For poor college students stealing food is akin to stealing their money, my Parmesan cheese was stolen. I am a humble cook—my Stop & Shop groceries are nothing compared to the bundles of fresh, farmers market parsley and organic cashew milk from Whole Foods that have an overbearing presence in this communal fridge. I’m not condoning theft, but if you’re going to steal, steal from them and leave my poor eggs alone! They weren’t organic, or even free-range, I’m sorry to say. After all the chickens suffered, I would have done their potential chicks justice. Fry one beautifully sunny-side-up, or mix with onions, peppers, and spinach into a beautiful omelette. How did the thief decide to prepare my eggs? Mindlessly scrambled, no doubt. It pains me to think of the potential breakfasts lost.
As you can see, this has been eating at me for a whole day now. Some of you probably know me as that girl who staged the inquisition, knocking on all of your doors throughout the building and demanding answers. This technique failed to garner a confession, hence this brief message taped to the fridge, so each resident must face their crime before reaching in and drinking their orange juice straight from the carton.
You should all know that I’ve begun stealing the food of others until someone reveals themselves. As far as I’m concerned, everyone’s guilty until proven innocent. Last night I took some Brussels sprouts. Forgive me, they were so green, so round. I roasted them with olive oil and salt, and took the first bite to learn that I actually despise their taste. I forced myself to eat them anyway, for the principle of the thing. Every day something will disappear, so please, thief, reveal yourself for the sake of the common good.
So please, dear culprit, confess. Until you do, amateur cooks will continue to suffer, and before long, degrade themselves by turning to the school’s meal plan. Do not threaten the sanctity of the dorm. Step into the fluorescent light of the communal kitchen and be absolved of all sins so we can once again reside in harmony.
A Student Scorned
Featured artwork by Alice Han