“I got a gift for you, Miss Carver.”
Matthew stood in front of my desk, holding out a big chocolate-chip cookie.
I have to say, I was surprised. Matthew and I didn’t exactly get off on the right foot. His grades were bad, and whenever I corrected him during class, I could hear him muttering “you’re stupid” or “so ugly” under his breath. But I knew his parents were going through a nasty divorce, and he was only nine, so I let it slide.
And it seems my efforts paid off.
“Thank you! That’s so sweet!” I said, placing it in the middle of my desk.
To tell the truth, I didn’t really want to eat the cookie. I was on a strict no-sugar diet to lose five pounds before my friend’s wedding this weekend… so I didn’t eat the cookie that morning. It just sat there, nestled between my pencil holder and stack of flash cards.
But before lunch, Matthew came up to me and asked, “Are you going to eat your cookie now, Miss Carver?”
And finally, I felt kind of bad.
So when Matthew came into class after lunch, and saw that the cookie was missing, he looked shocked. “You ate it?”
“Yes, I did!” I said, with a smile. “It was very good.”
He sat down in the back row, and didn’t say anything for the rest of the class. I admit, I felt bad for fooling him; but I couldn’t break my diet now. It was stashed away in one of my drawers.
In the afternoon, I ended class a few minutes early. I had to catch my flight to Miami for the wedding. As I was packing up to leave, I thought of the cookie. I can’t just leave it here over the weekend – it’ll go bad! Well, maybe I’ll bring it, I thought. Just in case I get really hungry on the plane.
I wrapped it in a napkin, threw it in my laptop bag, and caught an Uber to the airport.
The lines at security were long. When I finally got there, I put my laptop in one of the bins, and threw the rest of the bag on to the conveyor belt. But after I passed through the metal detector, I was immediately pulled aside by one of the TSA agents.
“Ma’am, come with me,” she said, leading me down a hallway and into a back room.
“I’m already late for my flight,” I huffed. “I might not be able to board –”
The door swung open.
There were several people sitting around the table. Some were TSA agents; others were wearing a uniform I couldn’t identify. And they were all staring at the item in the center.
Dread flooded me. My legs began to shake. Matthew’s face flashed through my mind, with his toothy grin. In a small voice, I asked:
“What’s going on?”
One of the officers stepped forward.
“The scanner showed that there’s something embedded inside the cookie. Or, rather – multiple things.”
I stared down at it. My vision began to swim, and I gripped the back of the chair for support. “What? What’s inside it?” I asked, my voice trembling; but I was afraid of the answer –
“Razor blades. Eight of them, baked right into it.”