Female 16-25. 267 words. Kate: “Puppy Chow” from When the Levee Breaks

By Paul Pasulka

You know, whenever I complained that there was nothing to eat, even though there was plenty of food, my mother would say, “Well, I guess you just aren’t hungry enough.” But I didn’t care. After a while I got to - well I won’t say hate, 'cause without them I would have starved to death. But I will never again eat graham crackers and puppy chow with apple cider vinegar. And then when I found out it was Puppy Chow I felt so bad for the puppies. Not because I was eating their food, though I guess it turns out I was. No. I thought it was made from puppies. That’s when I knew I had to learn to read. I saw it had letters and numbers: A, B-12, D-3, and K, and I wanted them. Then, that they put crayons in it. That was just weird, but kind of fun. Yellow 5 and 6; red 40 - that’s a lot of red, by the way - and blue, only 2. I swear I pooped rainbows. I would say, “I’m gonna go make Roy G. Biv.” But I only made violet once. And it had corn, soybean, barley - even garlic. That explained my breath. And the metals: copper, iron, zinc. I started wearing a cape to school. You know, Supergirl: Child of steel. But chicken by-product? I didn’t know for sure, but I thought the chicken probably didn’t consider it a by-product, unless it was, well, you know - Ew! And animal digest. What even is that? And fish oil - well, if you took that from them, could they even live?