Liz pulled the chain with the house key on it from under her shirt and let herself inside. She threw her backpack onto the sofa and headed straight for the kitchen. She was always starving when she got home. She was the smallest in her class at the moment, but she didn’t intend for things to stay that way. She plucked a few Oreos from the package on the counter and swung open the refrigerator with one Oreo held between her teeth. Her mom hadn’t been shopping for a while and choices were scarce.
She shifted to the pantry and settled on SpaghettiOs, the kind with meatballs. She dumped the can into a kettle on the stove, noticed the time, and rushed to turn on the television. Jeopardy! was just about to start. She ran back into the kitchen and stirred the SpaghettiOs while Johnny Gilbert introduced tonight’s contestants. There was a school teacher from Peoria, Illinois, a CPA from Boston, and the returning champion, a mechanical engineer from Denver whose two-day cash winnings totaled $49,101.
Liz sat down with her bowl of SpaghettiOs and a fresh stack of Oreos just as Alex Trebek finished telling the contestants about the categories for the round. Liz felt confident as she surveyed the contestants. She hated the mechanical engineer. He was so smug. Boys are always smug. The CPA from Boston looked just as bad. She hoped the school teacher would kick their butts. Her name was Judy. “Get ‘em, Judy,” Liz spat through a mouthful of tomato sauce and noodles. She always saved the meatballs for last. They were her favorite—the perfect combination of good and gross. She liked to suck the sauce off and then squish them against the roof of her mouth with her tongue instead of chewing them.
Going into Double Jeopardy! Judy was in last place. Liz wasn’t worried. Things may have been rough so far, but anything could happen in Double Jeopardy! Judy was ready to show them all what a school teacher from Peoria, Illinois could do.