Kyle Bailey

As I look around this kitchen, I see people paralyzed by a daunting situation. What began as the promise of a nourishing dinner has gone hopelessly awry, but we must be resilient and rise to the challenge before us. The moment has come. We cannot shirk our duty any longer. The time is upon us, my friends, to clean up this soup I just spilled all over the place.

Action must be taken to stem the tide of broth flowing across this floor, and it must be taken now.

The stakes could not be higher. After an ill-fated lifting without an oven mitt, the saucepan tipped over, and its contents splashed in every direction. A hearty chicken and rice soup now sullies every surface: the stove, the countertops, the walls, the curtains, and the linoleum beneath our very feet. In these dire circumstances, it will be tempting to dwell on what has been lost here—the time spent chopping celery and carrots, the half hour of occasional stirring—but we cannot look back. We must instead work to contain this spill and clean it up before it hardens or gets super sticky.

Let us roll up our sleeves and go forth, treading carefully so as not to step in the soup and unwittingly track this mess all the way into the living room. Let us gather our strength so that one of us can use his hands in an attempt to dam the stream of chicken stock pouring off the counter, while another desperately tries to mop it up with a huge, balled-up wad of napkins. We can and must come together in a frantic effort to pick up the rice, grain by grain, before any more of it falls into the space between the oven and the cabinets.

Now is not the time to point fingers at one another and say that Alex is to blame for never putting the oven mitt back where it belongs, or that the fault lies with Margot, who was the one who wanted to make soup instead of just getting takeout, as I suggested. Some may believe I bear a portion of the responsibility for having dropped the burning saucepan in the first place, despite the fact that Dustin is the one who wasted precious time running to get a bath towel when there was a full roll of paper towels right in front of him. However, this is a disaster of our own making, and we all will suffer if this much parsley gets ground into the throw rug.

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Every single one of us here has soup on our hands.

It would be easy to give in, to mop up the excess and leave the rest, accepting that from now on we will dwell in an apartment with the dried remnants of soup splattered everywhere. But if we turn a blind eye to the mushy vegetables all over the windows, the cloves of garlic wedged into the tile grouting, and the bay leaf that fell beneath the burner, where will it all end? If we neglect our duty to clean up this soup spill, what happens when a bowl of cereal is upended on the couch or, God forbid, a bottle of red wine topples onto the carpet? If we don’t take a stand today, there’s no telling how far we’ll fall.

Sure, there will be setbacks along the way. We may accidentally step in the soup and totally soak our socks. There may even be times when it seems as though Alex is actually making things worse by just spreading it around. But do not let your resolve waver. Should we fail to act now, the soup will only continue to pool under the refrigerator, causing the apartment to forever reek. So let us persevere, my friends, and with any luck this kitchen will come out the other side even cleaner than it was before.

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Then, and only then, can we deal with the raging microwave fire currently filling the room with smoke and raining sparks down on our heads.