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Some say that it was an argument that started over passing the butter as the mother celebrated her 50th birthday at sea.  Others say that they heard the words “What’s that suppose to mean?!” before it started.  Yet for whatever twisted reason, an apple was thrown by the youngest daughter.

After the event, a table nearby reported to the captain that all five family members were involved.  There was screaming, cursing and food in the air that dreadful evening on the cruise ship.

The apple found no target and then every possible particle of food was thrown.  It didn’t stop with food; condiments, flowers and utensils were used as weapons.  The husband, having not warmed up his arm properly for a food battle, threw his arm out with his very first toss of cauliflower.  Having one arm lifeless next to him, he then had to resort to throwing food with his left arm and later just squirting condiments.  His son yelling out “YOU THROW LIKE A GIRL!” was overheard by the band members that stop playing.  It was a very sad scene on the sea to nowhere.

It was apparent to many that this tragedy will only come to an end by one thing – pure exhaustion.

The captain, in a full white uniform, arrived and yelled out “DON”T MAKE ME TURN THIS SHIP AROUND!” The commanding and powerful figure quickly changed when he was hit in the chest with a Chicken Parmesan patty.  The red stain appeared as thought he was shot in the chest.

It was after this chest stain occurred, things turned even worse.  The younger daughter grabbed another apple, obvious to others her preferred arsenal for the evening.  The fruit was intended for her smiling and taunting sister across the table.  Of course, once again, an errant toss happened.

It is ironic in life how things occur.  Some say that events happen for a reason.  Others believe that our destiny is in place throughout our life.  For whatever reason, Gramma Emma’s destiny was set as the apple left the daughter’s finger tips.  Sitting next to the food fight table was an old and feeble grandmother.  Emma was about to celebrate her 100th birthday at the stroke of midnight just two hours away.  The band was prepared to play “Happy Birthday” at that time.  A huge cake was to be rolled out, enough to feed all those in the dining area.  It contained a lone candle that represented a century of birthdays.  Emma’s favorite son looking exhausted after a sleepless night worrying about his prepared speech.

The apple seemed to take hours in flight before hitting Gramma Emma in the temple.  She left this earth in no pain.  It was instant.  Her face fell gentle into her mash potatoes.  Mash potatoes she had grown to love over the years as the only food that she could eat.  Mash potatoes that welcomed her to her last seconds on earth.  Mash potatoes that kept her alive the past few years were now bringing her home safely to a better journey.

In the end, it wasn’t exhaustion that would bring this family to stop the shenanigans.  It was not the lack of food since the waiters continued to bring food to the family during the fight.  It was not the captain’s commanding and powerful words that could stop the horror; it was Emma.

At port, as the family was taken off in handcuffs, there was much shouting and screaming by the passengers.  “I hope someone in prison hits you with an apple” was heard, “Hey condiment man, how does it feel to be mustered up a conviction?!” caused some chuckles in the crowd.  There was a large gathering on the dock after the twelve hour CNN broadcast “Cruise Food Murder at Sea”.   Pictures of past pets of the family were shown.  Neighbors interviewed captured the father’s brother saying “I hope they all get what they deserve!”.  Mother’s friends claiming that they never knew her – “pure evil and never liked” they stated.  High school kids captured on TV jumping up and down yelling “I know a murderer!”  and a large state university on record with “No comment, we have enough problems”.

What was a celebration of 50 years on earth by the mother of three now became a nightmare because of one errant apple.



John H. Baldwin, born in Youngstown, Ohio USA – October 30th, 1961.  Director of Hardware development for Network Wireless.  Started to write short stories to help deal with the loss of my son.  It has really helped.  This was my first one shared with the family.


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