On Friday we were gathered on the cafeteria floor, waiting silently for the remaining classes to file in and sit down for our weekly assembly. Two of my students suddenly began pointing at the floor and exclaiming excitedly. I walked over to investigate.
“What’s up?” I asked quietly.
“There’s blood on the floor,” B and D said, pointing to a bright red spot between them.
“Ew!” B said, squirming, “I don’t want to be near it!”
I looked closely at the glob of hardened mysterious substance on the floor. “Oh, I don’t think that’s blood,” I said, reassuringly, “It’s probably just some food. Just scoot a little bit this way and don’t worry about it. Assembly’s about to start.”
“It could be ketchup, “ D said. “That’s red and sticks to stuff.”
“It could be,” I said, ushering B to a different spot.
When I turned back to D, to guide him to a new spot, he said, “Don’t worry, Mrs. Hogan. It isn’t blood or ketchup. It doesn’t taste or smell like anything.”
I froze. “D,” I said slowly, “Did you taste it?”
I’m sure my facial expression must have been interesting, as he did not answer immediately. After a moment he hesitatingly said, “No…..” and then picking up speed, he continued, “but I smelled it and when I smelled it, I could taste it and it didn’t taste or smell like anything.”
I stood still, staring at him, trying to translate exactly what he had just said. Could that possibly be right? Did he or didn’t he taste it? I glanced at the blob on the floor. It seemed intact. Could he really have just smelled it?
As I was debating what to do next, the Assistant Principal approached. He pulled me slightly to the side and whispered , “Molly, did you know that D was just licking the floor?”