There was a package sitting next to Charlie’s plate at the dinner table. Charlie frowned as he sat down. “What’s this?” he asked. “Is it from Aunt Doris?”
“What do you mean?” Marianne asked.
“She sometimes sends me weird stuff,” Charlie said. He picked up the package and squinted at the return address scrawled on the back. “It is from Aunt Doris.”
“Well, open it,” Isaac said. “Maybe it’ll be something nice.”
Charlie sighed. “Maybe you’re right.” He smiled. “Maybe it’ll be a toy dinosaur, like the one in stores with the cowboy hat. It roars, you know?”
“You won’t know what’s inside until you open it,” Marianne said.
Charlie ripped at the edges of the tape. Unfortunately, the entire package had been laminated in layers of tape. It wouldn’t open. “Can I borrow some scissors?” Charlie asked.
“Sure,” Isaac said. He stood up and retrieved some scissors from his desk.
“Thanks,” Charlie said. He took the scissors and attempted to find a way to slide the scissors under a layer of tape. The scissors kept sliding off the tape. “This isn’t working,” Charlie said. He stabbed the package with the scissors, and then used the puncture hole to cut the package open.
“Charlie,” Marianne said. “That could have damaged what’s inside the package.”
Charlie scowled. “It worked, didn’t it?”
Marianne sighed. “Next time ask for help.”
Isaac leaned forward. “So, what’s in the box?”
“There’s a card,” Charlie said. He handed it to Marianne. “And there’s something wrapped in tissue paper.” He held up a lumpy bundle.
Marianne opened the card. “Aunt Doris said that she found a healthy recipe in one of her parenting books, so she decided to bake something for Charlie.”
Charlie unwrapped the tissue paper. “It’s cookies,” he said. “But they’re not normal cookies. Ew, look.”
The cookies had large chunks of vegetables in them. There were pieces of broccoli and carrot and zucchini. “Is that onion?” Isaac asked. “I’ve never seen onions in cookies before. Wow!”
Charlie handed him the plate of cookies. “Well, tell me how they taste,” he said.
Marianne frowned. “You need to try at least one, so that you can tell Aunt Doris you tried them when you write her a thank you note.”
“I’ll say thank you for the cookies and leave it at that,” Charlie said.
“It would be polite to at least try one,” Marianne said. “Aunt Doris spent time making these for you.”
“I can thank her for her time without eating the cookies,” Charlie said.
“Fine,” Marianne said. “I guess that’s fair.”
“More for me,” Isaac said.
“They’re all yours,” Charlie said.
“You can have one if you’d like,” Isaac said. He held the plate out to Marianne.
She looked at the cookies and scrunched up her mouth. “Maybe after dinner,” she said.
But, after dinner, she had errands she needed to run. Charlie and Isaac did the dishes. Then, Charlie wanted Isaac to check his homework. Isaac brought the cookies into Charlie’s room and set the plate on the desk.
He nibbled one of the cookies while he looked over the math problems. “Hey,” he said. “These aren’t bad.”
“The cookies or the math?” Charlie asked.
“Both are pretty good,” Isaac said. “But check the second to last problem. You forgot to carry.”
“Oh, you’re right. Thanks,” Charlie said. He fixed the problem and looked up. “What happened to your ears?” he asked.
Isaac shoved the rest of the cookie into his mouth and used his hands to check his ears. They felt fine. “What?” he asked.
“Go look in the bathroom mirror,” Charlie said.
Isaac hurried to the bathroom and looked in the mirror. His ears were bright green. As he watched, the color faded and disappeared. Charlie came into the room. “They’re back to normal,” he said. “Did you see when they were green?”
“I did,” Isaac said. “Do you think it was the cookies?”
“Eat another one and see,” Charlie said.
So, Isaac ate a cookie with chunks of carrot. “Well?” he asked.
“Orange nose,” Charlie said. “Just like a snowman.”
“I ate a broccoli cookie before,” Isaac said.
“I want to try,” Charlie said. “What do you think an onion cookie would do?”
“I have no idea,” Isaac said.
Charlie started eating the cookie. “These aren’t terrible,” he said. “So, what is it?”
“Your eyes are yellow, like hawk eyes,” Isaac said.
“Really?” Charlie asked. “I want to see!” And he raced to the bathroom mirror. “Wow! I wish it lasted longer.” He came back into the room. “I want to try one of the zucchini cookies next!”
By the time Marianne came home, the cookies were gone. Isaac was washing the plate. “How were the cookies?” she asked.
“Really good,” Isaac said.
Marianne turned to Charlie. “Put that in your thank you card,” she said.
“I will,” Charlie said. “And I’ll ask her to send more. If I asked for the recipe, would you make some?” he asked.
“Then you tried them?” Marianne asked. “I’m glad. As a reward for being willing to try new things, would you like some ice cream?”
“No thanks, I’m full,” Charlie said. “Maybe tomorrow.” And Charlie left to write a thank you note.