A GRAIN OF SALT • by Dianne Majzoub

“Oh, look. A new study finds that sugar causes depression. How about that, May. I guess we’ll have to quit eating sugar. We don’t want depression. Depression will kill ya.” Harold’s hands tapped his viewing screen, making it scroll.

“Yes dear.” May’s focus never wavered from her needlework. Since Harold retired last week, his hobby had become adjusting their lives so they would live forever.

Harold’s eyes widened. “Oh wow, and just listen to this, May. This study says butter clogs your arteries. You’ll die of a heart attack if you eat it. We’d better stop eating butter, too.”

“That’s what we’ll do, then.” She jabbed her hook between threads and pulled up a loop.

Harold whistled. “Coffee! Coffee will kill you deader than dirt, May, and before it does, it will make you depressed just like sugar. Take that off the breakfast menu.”

“Off it goes, dear.” Her hook pulled up two loops and she twisted them around each other.

“No more eggs and cheese and milk and cream, too, May.” He brushed his screen and his eyes widened. “Oils! You know, like corn and vegetable and even olive. This says that they not only contain chemicals that damage your brain, but they also cause dangerous inflammation in your bowels.” He sighed. “We’re so lucky we live in a time when they find all these things out about our food, don’t ya think so, May?”

“Yes, dear.” She wrapped string around the hook and knotted it.

“Did you know that meat and chicken and fish are full of chemicals and hormones that will give men boobs?” He looked down at his sagging chest, then back to his screen. “Oh, and just listen to this: Kale and lettuce and all those fruits and vegetables are full of pesticides that cause your skin to shrivel and suck the life out of your kidneys—and they damage your liver, too.” He scratched his chin. “This one says that wheat and grains are full of gluten that makes you simple, and rice is full of arsenic that kills you dead in a second. Heavens, even the water is full of chemicals that will kill ya. This study says to drink only bottled water, but this study says the plastic in the bottles leach chemicals into the water after it’s been purified.”

“No more fruits and vegetables, oils, bread, rice, and water, then, too, dear?”

“I guess not. And from what this study says, it looks like no more juice. It seems that juice is making us fat and giving us diabetes. But looky here, May, this one says black pepper is good for you, and salt is ok if you use only kosher sea salt, but you still have to be careful of how much of it you eat.”

With her pointy metal scissors, May snipped the last thread holding her work and hook together. “I’ll get your breakfast.”

“Great. I’m starving. Oh, and May, no processed foods like cereal. They have stuff in them that makes your brain decay.”

“Really? Huh.” May said from the kitchen.

His stomach growling, Harold shut down his screen and settled himself at the table.

May placed a plate with two heaping tablespoons of pepper artfully spread around the edge and one grain of Kosher sea salt in the middle.

“I thought you might take your pepper with a grain of salt, dear. Enjoy,” She said. She kissed his head, grabbed her purse, and headed to the Piggy Palace for their “death by bacon” breakfast.

Dianne Majzoub writes in the little town of Halfmoon, NY.

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Every Day Fiction