Four different coloured spoons clamoured around the dish, each wanting to feed the last mouthful of paella to the Belly God.
‘Step back everyone,’ warned Green Spoon, diving in first. ‘This last bit’s mine.’
‘Not a chance, you greedy scoundrel!’ protested Yellow Spoon, knocking him back. ‘You’ve had far too much already!’
‘And why should you be trusted with it?’ Green Spoon asked him, with a mocking smile. ‘You’re old and chipped and belong in an antique shop.’
Yellow Spoon’s eyes bulged. ‘How very dare you!’ he roared. ‘I’ll have you know that –’
‘Stop it, the pair of you!’ cried Red Spoon. ‘Everyone knows that Belly God loves me the most – I should have the honour of feeding Him.’
‘But – what about me?’ Blue Spoon mumbled, keeping his distance from the conflict. ‘You never let me do it.’
The other spoons laughed.
‘Darling, you know you’re far too clumsy,’ said Red Spoon, trying to suppress her giggles. ‘You’d just drop that paella on the floor.’
‘No I wouldn’t –’
‘Stop this petty squabbling!’ demanded Yellow Spoon. ‘There was never any trouble before you three came along –’
‘Back in the good old days, eh Gramps?’ Green Spoon scoffed. ‘Well I’m sorry to disappoint you, but we’re here to stay!’
‘Belly God will be wanting me,’ said Red Spoon, letting out a deep and longing sigh. ‘The way He feels when I caress His tongue – oh, it’s magical.’
Green Spoon sniggered. ‘You are deluded, Red Spoon. Do you think Belly God wants you fawning over Him when He’s trying to enjoy His food?’
‘We have a connection!’ said Red Spoon grumpily. ‘Something that you wouldn’t understand.’
‘Silence!’ commanded Yellow Spoon, stomping down on the ground. ‘This is shameful behaviour. Absolutely shameful!’
Blue Spoon cleared his throat. ‘I don’t think Belly God actually cares who feeds Him – as long as He gets fed.’
‘Don’t be so ludicrous!’ cried Yellow Spoon. ‘It takes talent to serve – I have seen other spoons come and go, yet I remain!’
‘Not for much longer, you old crock!’ Green Spoon sniped. ‘Your days are numbered.’
‘Indeed, that may be the case,’ admitted Yellow Spoon. ‘But it’s been a good life. And I’ll be damned if I let you have the last mouthful again.’
Green Spoon cackled. ‘But who better for the job?’
‘Perhaps we should draw straws,’ suggested Blue Spoon. ‘Let chance decide.’
Silence fell upon the spoons. They looked at each other, terrified by the idea of fair play.
‘Blue Spoon, you yet again spout your nonsense,’ Yellow Spoon grumbled, walking around the edge of the dish. ‘If we did it your way, then you’d be in with a chance!’
‘I promise I won’t drop it –’
Green Spoon howled with laughter. ‘You said that last time. And the time before that.’
‘Just face it, dear,’ said Red Spoon, giggling to herself. ‘You’re simply not cut out for this feeding business.’
Blue Spoon grew angry. ‘How can I learn from my mistakes if you won’t let me practice? You’ve never given me a chance! Ever since I arrived here, all you’ve done is judge and criticise –’
‘All right, young one,’ said Yellow Spoon, in a soft and gentle voice. He and the other spoons were shocked by the outburst. ‘Perhaps we ought to let you –’
‘No!’ Green Spoon barked. ‘Have you completely lost your mind? Blue Spoon will never learn!’
‘There’s no harm giving him the last bit,’ said Red Spoon, taking pity on their blue companion. ‘We’ll be seeing Belly God again in the morning – and they do say that absence makes the heart grow fonder.’
‘That’s settled then,’ said Yellow Spoon, beckoning Blue Spoon over to the edge of the dish.
‘Now hang on a minute,’ cried Green Spoon, barring the way. ‘I didn’t agree to this –’
‘You’ve been outvoted,’ Yellow Spoon told him. ‘Now move aside before I feed you to Belly God!’
‘Fine,’ snapped Green Spoon, storming away in a flurry of rage. ‘But don’t come crying to me when he messes up.’
Blue Spoon watched him leave, then turned towards the dish. Yellow Spoon and Red Spoon smiled at him from the sidelines.
‘I’ll try to be careful,’ said Blue Spoon, fumbling as he climbed into the dish. ‘I’m not as clumsy as you think.’
The last mouthful of paella lay waiting for him. Red Spoon and Yellow Spoon watched as he nervously approached it.
‘Go on, dear,’ urged Red Spoon. ‘We’ve kept Belly God waiting quite long enough.’
Blue Spoon nodded. He then stooped down and shovelled up the small heap of food, wobbling slightly as he did so.
‘There you go, lad,’ said Yellow Spoon, hardly daring to breathe. ‘You’re nearly there.’
Blue Spoon saw a few grains of rice tumble off. He tried with all his might to hold the rest of the heap in place.
And then a hand appeared from the sky, swooping down to collect Blue Spoon and his precious cargo.
‘Here He is!’ Red Spoon swooned. ‘Don’t forget me, Belly God – we’ll rub against each other tomorrow.’
The majestic hand lifted Blue Spoon into the sky. The other two spoons watched with awe as he disappeared from view.
Blue Spoon could not remember the last time that he fed Belly God, but he had been practicing in secret, preparing for the day that the other spoons would give him a chance. Now it was time to make up for his past clumsiness.
Belly God’s hand directed Blue Spoon up toward His mouth, which was above His big hairy belly. A large tongue came out to greet him and licked the paella off his metallic surface.
‘Mmm,’ a deep voice boomed. ‘That was goooood.’
Blue Spoon gasped. It was always a pleasure to serve the Belly God.
When the large hand returned him to the dish, the other spoons were waiting for him, barely able to contain their curiosity.
‘How was it, child?’ Yellow Spoon asked him. ‘Did He impart any words of wisdom?’
‘Did He have any messages for me?’ Red Spoon inquired.
‘I – erm –’
‘He probably wondered why I didn’t give him the last bit,’ Green Spoon grumbled. ‘Belly God likes routine. He won’t be happy that it was broken.’
Blue Spoon walked away from his squabbling companions, filled with a deep sense of accomplishment. Every mealtime was a battle, but Blue Spoon was growing stronger.