“Who was it, Melvin? Huh? Who?” Nadia stood looming over her son, his hands duct-taped behind the back of the chair.
“I swear, Mom, I don’t know!”
“I don’t believe you, kid.” She leaned down, placing her hands on the arms of the chair, and stared deep into his eyes. Her shirt, loose, hung down, and Melvin’s once source of nourishment now loomed threateningly in his peripheral vision. “Tell me who it was who stole the cookies.”
“I don’t know, I don’t know! I got home from school and they were gone!”
Nadia straightened, folding her arms. “Oh really? And the crumbs left on the counter? If it was Sir Barksalot, he would have licked them all up. I know it was you, Melvin. Confess, and you’ll get dinner. Keep denying, and you’ll go to bed hungry, nothing to eat until breakfast tomorrow morning. And I even made a pie for dessert tonight.”
Melvin gulped, looking up at his mother. Her straight hair framed her face, the harsh look of judgment and scorn making him sweat. “Uh, did you get a haircut today Mom? It looks really nice.”
“Don’t change the subject, boy. Yes or no. Did you steal the cookies?”
“What kind of pie is it?”
“OKAY, I DID IT, I DID IT! I ATE ALL THE COOKIES! THEY WERE RIGHT THERE, AND UNGUARDED!”
“And you tried to blame it on Sir Barksalot?”
“YES! I’M SORRY, I’M SO SORRY!”
Nadia nodded, turning away and returning with scissors. “Well, since you’ve spoiled your dinner, you won’t be eating with your father and I. Go to your bedroom, and stay there for the rest of the night. Get your homework done. If you get hungry, ring the bell and we’ll consider allowing you down for a small meal. But no pie.”
“No pie? But you said – ”
“I made no promises about dessert. We’re being lenient here, Melvin. Remember this the next time you want to be a glutton.”
Nadia cut the tape holding his arms back, and Melvin stood. He rubbed his wrists, restoring feeling to his hands. Nadia pointed, and he hung his head, shambling toward the stairs and his imprisonment for the evening, feeling only shame and remorse.