By Fybs O & Usui
We all get greedy sometimes, some more than others. Kevin, for example, was an only child who took advantage of everything he had. He had a loving family and food on the table. His favorite holiday was Thanksgiving, and he enjoyed having all the food that was offered to him. His mother had always tried her hardest to make him happy, but he was never satisfied with what she presented to him. Most times, his mother would give him treats before dinner, but he would often respond with, “I want more! What else is there to eat?” In fact, he said this so often, that she always had a backup snack for him to eat. This Thanksgiving, they were having lots of family members up, so there was way more food than usual. Kevin’s grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, and even their pets were coming to the big feast! Kevin was looking forward to a huge dinner this year. His mother and grandmother would be cooking together, and he loved their food.
He woke up to the smell of bacon coming from downstairs, along with cinnamon rolls and toast. Very excited, he jumped out of bed and ran down the stairs. He found waiting for him a plate full of his favorite foods. The cinnamon rolls covered in icing, the toast doused in butter, and the bacon still hot.
“Happy Thanksgiving, honey. Your grandparents will be here in a few minutes. Eat up!” His mother smiled brightly.
He devoured the food in minutes. His mother came over with a stack of pancakes drowning in syrup. She warned him not to eat too fast, for fear of choking, but that didn’t stop him from eating at inhuman speeds. After he was finished eating, he went upstairs and changed out of his pajamas. Once he was back downstairs, his grandparents were walking in with plates of food in their hands. The food included salad, cookies, apple pie, and more treats than he could count! His face lit up in awe. He knew at that moment: this Thanksgiving would be great.
Once they had placed the food they brought, his grandma went to help his mom with appetizers in the kitchen while his grandfather went up to the attic to grab the table slat to make the table larger. After a few more minutes, the rest of his relatives arrived with even more food. Everyone was catching up and enjoying their time with each other while Kevin was sitting impatiently in the kitchen, constantly asking when the appetizers would be ready.
“Just a few more minutes, honey! Don’t worry,” his mother reassured.
“You pamper the boy too much, Carol. He’ll end up getting diabetes at this rate! He’ll grow out of it, but if you keep giving him what he wants, it might not ever change!” Kevin’s grandmother advised.
“Oh Mom, it’s fine. He can have whatever he wants, as long as it makes him happy! No one’s getting hurt--no harm no foul,” Carol defended.
“Suzan, we forgot the brownies!” Kevin’s grandfather called to his wife.
“It’s alright, Denis, we didn’t need any more sweets. Kevin has enough to last him the whole week, assuming he doesn’t eat it all tonight!” Suzan joked, quickly realizing that this was most likely what would happen.
“Don’t make it sound like a bad thing, mom,” Carol said.
Just then, the timer on the oven went off, and Suzan grabbed the “pigs-in-blankets” out of the oven. Kevin leaped off the stool he was sitting on and ran towards the food, but Suzan just pushed him away, warning him of the burning hot food. Kevin disregarded the warning and scooped seven appetizers off the tray, two of which he stuffed into his mouth without putting them onto a plate. The rest of his family grabbed a few and continued chatting while more appetizers were brought to them. Before long, dinner was ready, and they all gathered around the table and took their seats. Thanking Carol and Suzan for cooking, Kevin grabbed everything he could and put it on his plate.
“Wait to eat until everyone else is served, young man,” his grandfather instructed.
“But Mom and Grandma are in the bathroom, and they’ll take forever!” Kevin whined.
“If it makes you feel better, I’ll go check on them for you,” his aunt offered.
“Okay,” Kevin pouted.
“Taylor, they’ll be out soon. He can wait a few minutes, babe. It shouldn’t take that long for my mom to go to the bathroom. If anything, Carol is probably checking on her now and making sure she’s down within the minute, so Kevin can eat right away,” Taylor’s wife, Monica, said.
“I’m still going to check on them...I don’t want Carol to rush Suzan and her to end up falling and hurting herself. It’s only the carpet, but she’d still have a bruise,” Monica decided.
“Alright,” Taylor sighed.
“Pass me the potatoes, Dad,” Kevin demanded as Taylor headed upstairs.
“Sure,” his dad grumbled.
“George! Can you come to help us with Mom? She slid on the tile of the bathroom. She said she’s alright, but we’re going to keep her up here to let her rest,” Carol called down to her brother.
“Oh no, that’s not good,” George thought out loud, “I’ll be right up!”
“I’ll go with you. We can bring our plates and eat upstairs to keep her company,” Monica suggested.
“Okay, good idea,” George agreed.
George and Monica headed upstairs with their plates and told everyone to start eating. Now, only half of the table remained. They continued eating, nothing out of the ordinary was happening--their grandmother had fallen before. She just needed to rest. Carol came downstairs and George’s wife, Marla, went upstairs to the bathroom. Carol got a plate for her mother and brought it upstairs to her. Two of the younger cousins, Andrew and Yuri, fell asleep and Carol brought them upstairs to bed. They were finishing up dinner when they heard some weird noises from upstairs.
“What was that?” Denis asked.
“What was what?” Carol puzzled.
“It sounded like muffled screaming,” Jennifer, Kevin’s older cousin, stated.
“I don’t know, pass the corn,” Kevin ordered his younger cousin, Karl.
“You’ve already had corn, though!” Karl fought.
“So?” Kevin gestured for Karl to give him the corn anyway.
“So you’ve had enough,” Karl protested.
“Kevin, don’t be greedy. You’ve had a lot tonight, you should be satisfied,” Denis added.
“There it is again!” Jennifer interrupted their dispute.
“I’m going to go check and see what’s happening up there. It’s been quiet, too. Usually, Uncle George is the loudest of the group,” Jennifer reminded.
“I’ll go with you. Suzan would’ve wanted to be downstairs and eat with us. Strange, is it not?” Denis pondered aloud.
“No, it's not. She needed to rest, so Monica and I thought it would be best to have her lay down,” Carol stuttered.
“I thought Taylor was the one who decided that with you. She was the one with you at the time,” Karl questioned.
“Yes, I meant Taylor,” Carol’s face was pale, and she seemed horrified.
“Then there should be no problem with us checking on her,” Jennifer restated.
“I also find it weird that both of the younger cousins fell asleep, but I know that they go to sleep later, and they have a hard time sleeping most of the time. It’s odd-” Jennifer was interrupted by a cry of help from Taylor.
“Mom?” Karl yelled to her but was answered by only more muffled screams in response.
“Carol, why are they screaming?” Kevin’s dad asked.
“Why would I know, Greg?” Carol questioned her husband.
“You were with them last,” Greg responded in a monotone.
“Mom?” Kevin looked up at his mother with sad eyes, “Did you hurt them?”
“Kevin,” Carol stopped when Kevin abruptly stood up and walked to the stairs. She went to say something else but once again stopped herself, fearful of making it worse.
Kevin ran up the stairs, the others behind him, including Carol. He got to the rooms his mother claimed his relatives were in, but no one was there. He went to every room on the floor, more muffled screaming, and then as he got closer, he could tell where it was coming from. He ran to the end of the hallway and swung open the closet door, revealing everyone who was missing from the meal. Monica, Taylor, Suzan, Andrew, Yuri, and George were all tied up on the ground of the closet with handkerchiefs in their mouths, preventing them from talking. Taylor’s was falling out, just enough to have gotten one good scream in.
“Mom,” Kevin trailed off.
“I did it for you, honey!” Carol urged.
“I’ve called the police, they’re on their way,” Denis said, putting his phone away.
“Why would you just tie them up!” Jennifer yelled, untying them as she spoke.
“So Kevin could have more food to eat, then he’d be happy, and then he’d smile,” Carol trailed off, “It didn’t work out that way. I never meant for anyone to get hurt, but...” She trailed off again.
“You can’t hurt them just to make me happy, how would I have been happy with more food?” Kevin said, disappointment in his voice, even as he spoke calmly.
“You would’ve had more food, so I thought that, well, you’d be happy?” Carol shrugged, not sure of what to say.
“You’re going to get arrested,” Kevin trailed off then started to laugh, “This was my fault. Just like you said, grandpa. I shouldn’t have been so greedy. It was hurting people, I didn’t realize how much I had. Wow, but I‘m going to lose my mother because I drove her to this point. I’m sorry,” Kevin stopped laughing as tears started welling up in his eyes. He seemed shaky but managed to stay standing. Jennifer had untied everyone, but they were silent.
“Don’t apologize, it’s not your fault. Don’t worry, I’ll take care of you. I might not give you all the food in the world, but I think you realized that food isn’t everything,” Greg explained in a soothing voice.
“Kevin, you weren’t the cause of this. We didn’t get hurt because of you, but I hope you understand that you were greedy. I think you know that, though,” Taylor said.
“I know. I just didn’t know what else to do in order to be happy. So, I really don’t know. I don’t have a good reason for being greedy. I’m sorry, Mom. I’m sorry, Dad. I won’t do that again,” Kevin smiled weakly, and Carol started crying.
“You can be greedy, everyone’s greedy sometimes, but you just took it too far. Sometimes you need to show people that you care for more than just food. I know people who are so greedy that they lost everything because of it. As long as you realize that you have what you need and not just what you want, you won't have a problem like this. Some families don’t have much, they only have each other. We have family, shelter, food, and clean water. We have a lot, and we don’t need anything else. I’m sure this is a lot for a thirteen-year-old, but you’re smart. I’m sorry this happened to you,” Denis explained.
“Thank you,” Kevin trailed off.
Carol was arrested, and Kevin stopped eating every hour. A lot happened that day, but Kevin was affected most. Since then, they’ve had many Thanksgivings together, smiled, and remained thankful for everything they had.