The No Choke Zone

I am trying to drink a glass of water but it won’t go down. Six people with gray ski masks over their heads are standing there. My parents and I are sitting in IKEA chairs. Our legs are tied to the legs of the chairs. I pick up the glass of water from the IKEA kitchen table in front of me. I try to drink it again. The water gets part way down my throat. A burning sensation erupts. I ralph it back up.

“Why can’t I drink this water?” I ask.

“That’s something for you think about while you sit there,” says one of the masked people.

One of them puts up a hand. The hand motions towards a door. They leave.

I stare around the room. It has no discernible colors. Mother is crying. Father is breathing heavily with his eyes closed. I look at the door in front of me. I smell something coming from under the door. It smells like onions, steak, garlic, salt, pepper, and cheese. I want to open the door. I want to eat Philadelphia cheese steak, or deep-fried sushi. I clench my fists. I unclench my fists.

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