Down Under the Way.

The wobbly old road down that side of the way was wreathed with moss and buggage in the form of some spider webs and some wormies when it rained. This place was called the way. Stephen was the youngest of ten children who lived there in the way, and he was the wisest of them all.

Some wise people think that covering things up with unnecessary elaborateness is what makes a fellow wise. Stephen knew it was more straight to the point. The truth with no sugarcoating.

He touched his foot against a rock and felt the moss brushing up to it. The old lady said the moss had healing power. Stephen didn’t agree.

“Come here Bach,” Stephen asked softly. Soft because if not soft the fish would be scared away.

Down in the way there were veins of water around the wobbly old road. There was a fish big enough to feed the two boys there and Stephen knew the fish wouldn’t be easy to catch because older, big enough to feed two boys kinda fish had survived longer for a reason. But Stephen also knew he was hungry, and Bach would be hungry too.

Stephen pulled up a stick from the ground and asked Bach to look for some leftover wormies from the rain the night before.

Bach found one after a moment’s glance and handed it over, a bit sad that the wormy wouldn’t make it much longer past this, and that it would be Bach’s fault that that particular one had to be eaten by a fish on this day of all days. Bach refused to show this emotion to Stephen as the wormy was taken and placed in the water where the fish rushed to it in a matter of minutes.

The wormy ate the fish and then jumped out of the water, growing to the size of a man.

It was a long worm with a mustache and a pipe and a bit of fish hanging out of its partially open mouth.

It smiled.

That part of the way where the fish had been had deep water. The worm man grabbed the boys by the collars of their shirts and leaped into the water.

They descended further and further until they came out onto a piece of land. There was sky overhead and the sun was much stronger than it had been in the way.

The worm man spoke. “We’re back”

Bach was the first to respond. “Where are we?”

“Where we’ve always been. Come with me,” the worm man spoke. “We’ll get food.”

The two boys walked for about fifteen minutes, staying to themselves behind the worm man.

There was a small Mexican restaurant in the distance, and the worm man mentioned that that was where they were going to stop.

They were hungry, so they just followed him in. Before long they had their seats and menus.

“Order anything you’d like,” the worm man smiled and said as the waiter brought out chips and salsa.

The boys were from a place where there were no restaurants. They didn’t know what anything was so Bach asked the worm man what a taco was.

“Ah!” the worm man chuckled to himself, a bright and cheery chuckle not wormlike at all. “It’s like a flat piece of something that’s almost bread. It has meat on it and sauce somewhat like the salsa the waiter just brought. Why don’t you try some?”

Bach picked the salsa up and took a sip. “AAHHHHHH”

The worm man laughed. “Spicy, is it?”

The waiter came around and the worm man asked for some water for Bach.

Bach liked the taste of the salsa but the feeling was strange. It wasn’t bad enough to make him stop though so he kept eating. This was nothing like anything he’d had before.

“Try some, Stephen” Bach said.

Stephen had been just sitting and watching. Sitting and watching the worm man. How could a worm become so large. It excited him but he didn’t want to show it. For now the worm man couldn’t be trusted. But they would probably be safe to eat at this place. This was a restaurant like the ones he read about.

Stephen reached for his own bowl of salsa and took a chip to go with it. The chip was hard and salty. He dipped it in the bowl and the taste was amazing. He would have to focus at least some on the possible danger and not just the food, he made a note of.

The worm man ordered twelve tacos for himself and asked the boys what they would like to eat.

Bach got tacos and Stephen got nachos.

“Very well,” the worm man said.

When the food arrived the smell was unlike anything the two boys had ever smelled. It was rich and smoky and it made them want to have some very quickly.

The first bite was delicious. And so was the second. They ate their entire meal and it was all wonderful. Rice and beans and tacos and nachos and beautiful red and green vegetables and salsa. They almost didn’t want to go back home now.

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