Skip to content

Legend of the Almost-Expired Milk

May 26, 2020

(image via wikimedia)

When I was in sixth grade, I knew not to drink expired milk.  Everybody knew.  Even the dumb kids knew not to do that.  When dumb kids drank expired milk, it was because they hadn’t known it was expired.  Sometimes dumb kids didn’t check the expiration date on the cartons or didn’t sniff the milk before they drank it.  But everybody knew not to drink expired milk if they knew it was expired.

Almost-expired milk was a little different.  A bunch of us sixth-grade boys (and maybe a couple fifth graders too, now that I think about it) had collected stacks of almost-expired milk from the cafeteria ladies (you can read more about it here).  My classmate Kevin had just challenged me to a milk-drinking contest, and there were only a few minutes left in lunch.

We had to establish the rules quickly.  We each would drink a carton at the same time.  After were were done, we would drink the next one simultaneously.  Whoever gave up first, lost.  I don’t remember if we shook on it.  The winner didn’t get anything out of it except pride.

Bets weren’t always like that.  Sometime that year (I don’t know if it was earlier or later), some kid bet me $20 that the droids in Star Wars, R2D2 and C3PO, were real robots.  I knew there were actors inside the droids, so I took the bet.  Weeks later, I found a magazine that had an interview with one of the actors (the internet didn’t exist back then, so stupid bets could take a long time to settle), and that was that.  I didn’t even take the money, it was such a stupid bet.  My mom actually got mad at me for not taking the money because she knew that kid would have taken mine (and probably would have tried to charge me interest).

When it came to drinking milk, pride was enough.  We drank the first pint-sized cartons together just fine.  The second was uneventful too.  I don’t even think the third was a problem.  To be honest, I don’t remember how many I drank.  I just know that at some point my stomach told me to stop, so I bailed out.

“I can’t do anymore,” I said slowly.  I hated saying it.  I really hated losing to Kevin.  A couple classmates behind me called me names.

Kevin took one gulp from the next carton and slammed it down on the table.  The boys cheered.  Most of them had wanted me to win, but they cheered anyway.  If we had kept drinking milk, I told myself, we would have gotten in trouble for being late to class.

As we were walking out the cafeteria and into the school lobby, Kevin kept badgering me.

“Hey, stick.  Who’s the Milk-Drinking King?  I am.  And don’t you forget it”

And he kept going on.

“You think you can drink more milk than me, stick?  I’ll beat you again tomorrow if you challenge me.  I’m the Milk-Drinking King.”

Kevin sat behind me in class too.  The classroom was set up in rows of five, and I was in the fourth desk of a row.  The teacher was late (it was okay for her to be late, but not us), and most of us were just sitting around talking, and a couple of boys were wandering around like they always did and would keep wandering until the teacher told them to sit down.  I think I had a comic book out while I waited.  I was reading when I noticed that Kevin wasn’t talking anymore.

I turned to see what he was up to.  The smirk was gone.  His eyes looked a little glazed.  He stared straight, but he wasn’t looking at me.  His mouth hung open a bit.

I recognized that look.  Oh no, I thought.  I didn’t want to say anything.  Saying something could make it worse.  I was in Kevin’s direct line of fire, but if I moved abruptly, I could cause him to… I didn’t want to think about it.

Nobody else seemed to notice Kevin.  They had forgotten that he’d consumed a bunch of almost-expired milk.  Milk drinking wasn’t the kind of contest that people remembered for long, unless afterwards the contest caused the participants to…

“Kevin,” I said slowly and quietly, “do you need to walk to the bathroom?”

His eyes focused for a moment, and he nodded.

“I don’t think the teacher will mind,” I said.  She wasn’t even in the room.

Kevin stood up.  I really wanted to jump out of my desk and get out of his range, but I kept still.  It’s weird what causes me to panic and what doesn’t.  I’ve been in life-threatening situations where I handled things cooly and without thinking.  In other times, I’ve panicked and freaked out over nothing.  I’m not sure this situation was life-threatening, but my instincts told me to be very still.

Kevin took a step and looked down at me, his glazed eyes watering.  I pointed the opposite direction to the door.  Please at least look toward the door, I thought.  He looked at the door and took another step.  Then another step.  And another.  And he was past me.

I slumped in my desk.  I was safe.

Meanwhile, Kevin kept walking, step by step.  He made it to the front of the classroom by the teacher’s desk and turned toward the door.  The class was silent.  Even the wanderers had stopped moving.  The wanderers were frozen in the back corner of the room.  They weren’t going anywhere.

Kevin kept his steady walk toward the door.  Just make it to the hallway, everyone thought collectively.  Not in the classroom, we thought, not in the classroom.  Kevin was almost to the door.  He had one more row of students to pass.

He was going to make it, I thought.  It was just milk.  He could make it to the bathroom if it was just milk.  He could at least get out of the classroom.  He had only a few more steps…

And then Kevin stopped.  And a a girl screamed.

You know what happened next.

To be continued in Revenge of the Almost-Expired Milk !

From → Dysfunctileaks

  1. Anonymous permalink

    You have some vivid memory. Waiting to read what happened next. 😀

  2. I hope you called him the Vomit King after that.

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. The Tale of the Almost-Expired Milk | Dysfunctional Literacy

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: