Green Misery


Write a new post in response to today’s one-word prompt. 


In my sophomore year at college, a small school, I worked in the campus dining  hall as a waitress.  During the lunch hour, my nose kept telling me something was wrong with whatever was under way for supper.

I went back into the kitchen, and the smell hit me like a wall, making my stomach roll.  I was on good terms with the head cook, so I found her and told her what I was smelling.  She’d been working with it all day, and didn’t smell anything “off.”  She shrugged, kept working.

I set up my tables for the evening meal, which was going to be creamed chicken over toast, Some of the guys referred to it as “barf on a board.” I decided I’d rather go hungry than eat what smelled so bad.  So–I was one of the lucky ones who was NOT hit with vomiting and diarrhea around 2 a.m. the next morning.


I’d never seen so many sick people in one place. Icky green faces, misery multiplied.

The only ones who weren’t sick were the ones who hadn’t eaten that meal. Our punishment for being healthy was that we got to carry trays for the suffering. Trays of jello, clear broth, or cream of mushroom soup.   Toast. Tea.

After a while, the smell of the mushroom soup made me feel just as nauseated as the smell of yesterday’s supper had. To this day, I won’t eat cream of mushroom soup just by itself.  I use it in cooking, but even then the smell of it brings that miserable couple of days back to me in living color.


6 thoughts on “Green Misery

  1. Cook asking for a second and even third opinion might have spared the sufferers and saved the day. (Hindsight being 20/20.)
    An interesting take on the prompt. My mind went to mushrooming clouds, as I’ve just learned that my nano novel takes place the summer of the 3 Nevada nuclear tests —July 57. That would have been big news of the day.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I remember seeing the mushroom clouds on TV. I was 10 that summer. Unforgettable.

      There is more to my story, of course. Kids called home to tell their parents how sick they were, and some of the parents communicated with each other. Of course it wasn’t long before the story of stomach flu was called into question. I was actually called into the president’s office and told that I was not to talk to any news reporters about my telling the cook it smelled bad. And I was not to talk to anyone at all, really, about what I had suspected. Made me furious, and I responded that I would not lie. Period. As it turned out, no one asked me. I’m sure the powers that were kept my name out of the story 🙂


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