BY A LAWATI
Copyright is held by the author.
ONCE UPON A TIME in a food store, there lived three friends: Full Cream (a.k.a. Fully), Mr. Two Percent (a.k.a. Two), and Lactose Free (a.k.a. Lacto). Despite their differences, they were three of a kind.
It was the first of the month, and the temperature in the fridge was on the chilly side, just as they liked it. They were happy not to be in the fridge opposite theirs; the temperature in there was unpredictable, which had resulted in their friend’s fate—he had gone bad.
“The store manager is doing his routine check, and rumour has it he’s adding a new milk to the shelf,” said Fully.
“Heads up, lads! Got to look our best. Shape up or ship out,” said Lacto.
“Oh skimmers,” replied Two.
At 7:00 a.m. on the dot, the food store opened for its customers. Milk was on nearly everybody’s shopping list.
Fully said, “I’m a cold favourite, picked up often. They need me for whipping up desserts, and I’m the essential ingredient for man and woman’s second best friend — coffee!”
“Oh, stop being such a milk bag,” Lacto said. “I’m very important myself. I provide much relief to all those people who can’t have you or Two. I’m a healthy addition to their morning glory, also known as breakfast.”
“Look at you cow runs going on about it,” said Two. “I’m by far the healthiest of us! Now what do you have to say to that?”
“Well what do you know! Two here has a point,” said a bubbling Fully. “There was a time when I used to be on everybody’s lips; they couldn’t get enough of me. Now I’m just another choice — but not the choice.”
Lacto sighed and said, “Hey, buddy, now don’t go spilling yourself. Look at the bright side of the Milky Way; because of you, I was produced and have been made useful. Thanks! And by the way, I don’t taste half as good as you do.”
Two said, “I have to admit, even though I’m the healthiest, I’m not the tastiest. I don’t have cream like you do, and I feel so envious of you.”
“Well no point crying over spilt milk!” Fully said. “Let’s forget our differences and do what we do best—outsell ourselves.”
Just then, the store manager opened the fridge and put the new milk in. After the manager closed the fridge, the new milk said, “Hi, boys. I’m Evaporated, also known as Eva.”
Fully could feel the temperature in the fridge getting warmer as he started to feel condensed.
“Easy there, creamo,” said Two. “You better cool down or you’ll soon become half-and-half.”
Lacto spurted to Eva, “I hear you don’t have much of a life once your lid is removed. I don’t see what the excitement is about, so stop feeling so full of yourself.”
“Although I have to say,” said Two, “even though you may be short lived, delicious ’til the last drop is the general opinion.”
Fully said, “I don’t care about what they say. I like what I see, and I’m loving it.”
Eva replied, “Easy, boys, you don’t know what you’re mixing with. I’m a delicacy around the world. I come from a land far, far away, and because I’m so special and delicate, I can’t be had enough. Therefore, in order to preserve my taste, as they say, I’m gone as soon as I’m allowed out of the lid, so to speak. But please don’t get your hopes too high, as I belong to someone else.”
“Who might that be?” asked Fully.
“Well if you want to know,” replied Eva, “his name is Nido, and he’s the ultimate survivor, also known as Powdered Milk. He has no rival or equal. He is packed to the brim and yet so soft that he can be blown away by a gentle wind. He is easy-going yet nutritious.”
Fully thought for a while and then said, “You don’t know what you’re missing, Eva. Come with me and I‘ll whip up your life. With me in your cup, you’ll never feel less than full. I am the ultimate in wholesome milk! Imagine the flavours we could produce together! East meets West — the perfect blend. With Powdery there, you’re just a fleeting glimpse. With me, you’ll always be a delicacy to be enjoyed with cream.”
Suddenly Nido came out from hiding. “Listen there, Fully, you can try, but you can’t take my girl. She has bubbles only for me.”
Fully simply replied, “Flow has no containers.”
The refrigerator door opened, and they heard the salesman’s voice. “Here you go, ma’am. This is where we keep our milk.”
Fully found himself being taken out of the fridge. As he was being removed, he happily said his good-byes to everyone. He looked at Eva and then wished for something while noticing her wholesome packaging. Two and Lacto couldn’t believe their milk buddy had been carted away without so much as a gulp.
As they wondered about their fate, the door opened again and they heard a voice that sounded familiar. “Yes, ma’am, we do carry evaporated milk.” They watched as Eva was picked up and placed into a bag. Away she went, leaving Lacto, Two, and Nido to wonder about their fate.
Fully was in a plastic bag on the seat in a car. The young lady next to him started the car and moved out of the parking space and onto the highway. Fully felt the water break out from his container and wondered if he would survive until they got to wherever they were going. Soon though, he felt cool air drying up his water. He started to regain his senses and felt his survival chances improve.
The car came to a stop, and Fully found himself being whisked into the house and then left sitting on the kitchen cabinet opposite the fridge. The temperature was cooler than the car but still not cool enough. He sat there wondering if he would go bad, as did his friend in the store.
Just then, a brown bag was placed next to him and he saw something that made him want to be a milkshake. Eva came out of the bag, adorned in all her carnations.
Fully said, “Hey! Hope they put us in the fridge soon.”
She replied, “I don’t need any chilling. I’m already chilled, but it looks like you could use a frost.”
The next thing they knew, they were being poured and mixed together in a fruit bowl and then left in the freezer to cool down.
Eva looked at Fully and said, “Now I know what you wished for!”