THE COOKIE JAR
Heinrich Zwangerschap knew he was taking a chance by sticking his hand in the cookie jar. He wasn't afraid of upsetting his mommy -- Heinrich was forty-five years old, and his mother was in a retirement home. No, Heinrich was taking a chance because the cookie jar was swarming with fire ants. How they got there was a mystery to Heinrich, but they had to go. In his hand, he held an ant trap. All he had to do was drop it. The first sting told him he was far too slow. Anaphylactic shock is a bad way to die.
IN THE OVEN
I was just curious. This metal box always produces such interesting smells. The lady had left the door open, so I decided to do a little exploring. Inside, hundreds of blackened crumbs awaited my sniffing nose. A few less-burned bits seemed worth a taste. I bit into one, but quickly spit it out, shaking my head to emphasize my displeasure. Suddenly, the lady appeared in the doorway, placed a pizza on the shelf above my head, and closed the door. The pitch blackness did not last long. Orange lights illuminated behind me, and then things really started heating up.
Dora Terhesség had been making authentic gulyás since her childhood in Hungary. The family had emigrated to America when Dora was ten years old. Mama Eszter had taught her to make the stew "the family way," using freshly harvested potatoes, fresh-ground paprika, and garden vegetables. Meat was harder to come by in the Old Country. You cook whatever you can kill, Mama had told her. Papa's job here scarcely afforded them a better life than in Hungary. But they always had their gulyás. No one noticed that the Terhesség's neighbors kept mysteriously disappearing. Now, Dora's roommates kept leaving, too.