As a parent, nothing is more important to me than the health and well-being of my child. From studying the labels on Caiden’s favorite snacks to buying organic produce whenever possible, I’m committed to teaching him the importance of proper nutrition. However, I’m not always there to help him make sensible choices, so I decided to learn more about my son’s school lunch program. And when I saw firsthand the meals he was being served, I was certain they couldn’t be the source of his terrifying new powers.
I may not be an expert, but I know a meal incapable of imbuing a child with godless telekinetic abilities when I see it.
After volunteering at Caiden’s elementary school last week, I decided to stick around and eat lunch with him and his friends. As soon as I glimpsed the steam trays behind the counter, I prayed their contents might explain how my son has learned to manipulate objects—stuffed animals, toy trucks, jagged shards of glass—with only his mind. But as I moved through the line, those hopes, just like the Lowenthals’ cocker spaniel, Pockets, completely vanished.
What was heaped onto my plastic tray made my stomach sink: greasy chicken wings, oversalted French fries, a vegetable medley scarce with vegetables. Calling it a subpar meal would be an understatement, and claiming it has anything to do with my son’s newfound ability to levitate menacingly off the ground is downright absurd. It’s almost as ridiculous as suggesting the greasy pizza I watched him slowly, joylessly eat could be responsible for his violent aversion to the crucifix.
Look, it doesn’t take a registered dietician to determine that these meals, funded in part by my tax dollars, lack the vitamins and minerals Caiden’s growing, horrifically translucent body requires. I believe it’s my right as a parent to know the nutritional value of the foods my child is served at school and whether those foods compelled him to stop Mr. Lowenthal’s heart during an exorcism I now recognize was doomed from the start.
The coroner ruled the death natural. There was nothing natural about it.
Then, while frantically scanning the room for emergency exits in case Caiden threw up another snake, I noticed several students had brought sack lunches from home. Perhaps one of these crinkled brown bags held the secret to my son’s impossibly heightened senses and sudden fluency in Archaic Latin. Upon investigation, however, their contents proved equally disappointing. Paltry bologna and Kraft Single sandwiches? Family-size bags of fluorescent cheese curls? These barely provide a child with the mental energy required to get through an eight-hour school day, let alone enough to lift a Toyota Prius off the ground and smash it into the Lowenthals’ split-level home without even furrowing his brow!
Pizza is a vegetable, my sweet baby boy is an affront to God, and not one of the volunteer lunch ladies at Happy Hills Elementary School can explain to me why.
So for these reasons (and many others that I suspect Caiden has wiped from my memory), I challenge every school administrator to sample the bland macaroni and cheese I choked down, or the cavity-inducing brownie I was given for dessert, and convince me they’re responsible for the ancient evil that now resides behind my only child’s dilated black eyes. And remember that Caiden can force you to do this; that he can, in fact, force you to do anything the demon that wears his face desires. Such is his awesome, terrible power.
He knows you’re reading this.
Cody Ziler is a writer and performer in Chicago. His work has been featured on McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Splitsider, The Higgs Weldon, and Points in Case. His Twitter is just okay.
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