Monday, April 7, 2008

Bathroom Monologue: Oven of Danger

Whenever mom wasn’t around, Claire experimented with the oven. 300 degrees. 400 degrees. She could make it so hot that it hurt just to touch the glass window. But Claire was more interested with the oven always starting by displaying the temperature at 100 degrees. That seemed strange to her, for it to instantly go from room temperature to the temperature under her tongue. In her ensuing experiments, Claire set the oven under 100, to see what would happen. What happened was an angry beep and flashing letters. It wanted to stay above 100. Well she’d have it know that it was an appliance and she was the world’s smartest 9-year-old. When mom went out to the spa for a day, Claire rewired the damned thing to let her punch in lower numbers. 90. 80. 60 – at which point she left the oven door open for a nice Fall-like breeze. 25, in the hopes of being able to get it to snow in her kitchen. That failed, but the descent led her to the final number: 0. And no lousy zero degrees Celsius or Fahrenheit, but what the oven called “absolute zero.” She pushed the buttons eagerly. Unfortunately for the world’s smartest nine-year-old, absolute zero had more consequences than ice cube maker, and the oven suddenly swallowed all the heat on the planet. In the instant before the world vanished Claire didn’t worry about Armageddon, but how many weeks of allowance she’d be out to replace the oven.

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