Dermot was a nice boy even if he did eat fast. He never squished a bug unless his mama asked him to, he always let the girls go first, and he couldn’t ever pass a flower without leaning in for a good old fashioned sniff. Oh, and he didn’t complain. Not ever. It just wasn’t in his nature. Maybe that’s why he didn’t know watermelon wasn’t supposed to make his tongue itch or that peanuts weren’t supposed to make him sneeze. Come to think of it, before Dermot was thirty-seven there was a lot he didn’t know on account of his not complaining and to tell you the truth, most of it had to do with the state of his tongue.
It didn’t look funny. And Dermot talked just the same as everyone else did. So why would he think something was wrong with his tongue? He wouldn’t. He didn’t. He just kept living the way he always did. With itchy watermelon and peanuts that made him sneeze. That is of course, until he hit thirty-seven.
The big day wasn’t just his birthday, it was also his first date with a woman he had loved since high school. He was biding his time, waiting for the right moment and finally, after twenty-one years, that time had come. He had asked her out to eat and she had said yes. So he was driving to get her in his souped up black Ford, the windows rolled down to wipe the early blush off his face.
“Hi Dermot!” she was waiting on the stoop outside.
“Hi Claire! Hop in!”
So she did. And before he could say another word, she was kissing him like a mad woman. (Or maybe she was just a thirty-seven year old girl kissing the boy she had loved since high school.)
“Hey Dermot?” she said between breaths.
“Ya?” he didn’t want to talk but he thought he better.
“Happy Birthday. And Dermot?"
"Why you got such a slimy tongue?”
“Its slippery like the side of a plastic pool. I ain’t never felt a tongue like yours before.”
“Its all good,” he said. “Lets just keep kissin’.”
So they did.
But that night after he got home (they never did make it out to eat), Dermot went into the bathroom to take a better look at his tongue. He stared at it good and hard. Nothing looked slimy to him. All seemed fine from where he stood. But just to be extra certain he opened the medicine cabinet and took out his tweezers.
Before he could finish a single tweezer-scratch, Dermot had already realized he was onto something. It started like a gust of ice cold wind and then he thought he tasted metal. So he did it again. Made another scratch. Soon he had scratched the whole surface of his tongue off, the film he had lived with for thirty-seven years—gone, a tiny pile of clear junk sitting in the bottom of the sink. Dermot blinked.
You see, for the first time in his life, Dermot William McFarland had uncovered his ability to taste.
...to be continued