kitchen cabinet.

The Parliamentary Committee of Kitchen Utensils (the PCKU) came to order. In the chair was the Wooden Spoon. After a career of always coming last in everything she did, her colleagues had honoured her with the position of umpire.

On the left sat the Dishcloth, the Dishmop (the two should not be confused, though they both have a soft underbelly), and the Bucket. On the right sat the Scouring Pad (the head of the Committee, a rough fellow) with his sidekicks, the Grater and the Paring Knife. It always seemed an uneven battle in the PCKU.

On the agenda this afternoon was the vexed question of various uninvited bits of flotsam and jetsam which had been flooding into the kitchen by way of the kitchen sink.

“That flotsam is floating junk,” declared the Scouring Pad.

“The jetsam has been thrown overboard!” shrieked the Grater.

“But I’ve met these newcomers,” said the Dishmop, shaking her curly head. “They may make fine members of our kitchen community. One was a piece of orange peel…”

“Coloured foreigners!” yelled the Paring Knife, who was known, even to his friends, as a bigoted old bastard.

“Unwed mothers! Single-parent families!” cried the Grater. He had some sexual hang-ups. He was full of holes, and all kinds of substances rubbed up against him.

The Dishcloth fluttered in a perturbed way. He had nothing against the pieces of orange peel, potato scraps and broken toothpicks that were floating into the kitchen, but he knew the cutlery and crockery were getting a bit restless about it. Cutlery and crockery are a bit dense, and they’re all the same, and they tend to believe anything when a lunatic like the Grater starts spouting bile. It gives their smooth, homogenous lives some interest. So the Dishcloth knew he had to shut up the Grater somehow. He might be soft, but he was smart. He’d been places, too, and he’d seen the whole surface of the kitchen. He’d even visited the exotic country of the oven.

Without giving the Wooden Spoon a chance to call ‘order!’ the Dishcloth fluttered up into the air and descended gently over the Grater, enshrouding the loud-mouthed boor so that all that could be heard were some muffled curses.

At this point, the Bucket, who’d been sitting quietly throughout the debate, began to tip about. He was much larger than anyone else, and though the other utensils usually said that a fat guy could never be leader, he had his ambitions. With a little maneuvering he managed to upend himself over the entire Committee.

The Kitchen Cabinet was adjourned.

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