Thursday, October 05, 2006

he licks the spoon, he throws it away

He licked the spoon from his yogurt like a well-behaved little boy taking his cough medicine. A man of thirty, he knew, of course, that yogurt would help his internal colonies of healthy bacteria repopulate during his current course of antibiotics, so he consumed the last from the plastic cup as meticulously as he could. His pitted and mottled patches of skin were suddenly visible in contrast to the serious pink tongue that darted out from between heavily whiskered lips, painting the whole picture of this almost lascivious licking with a broad-brushed grotesquerie.

When he appeared to be done with the yogurt, he paused for a moment to consider the spoon. It was plastic, black, and probably covered with inactive forms of whatever it was that had made him require antibiotics in the first place. "I like to wash these things," he said, "and reuse them." But he knew that wouldn't be the safe, clean thing to do. So he chucked it into the garbage can like so many nickels into a tollbooth receptacle. Gone and good. I wondered about him, sometimes.

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