My neighbor’s six-year-old likes to knock on our door and offer us gifts. Yesterday, for instance, she stopped by and gave us a hand-made “decoration”—i.e. a piece of origami paper folded into the shape of a burrito.

Later in the day, she appeared on my stoop with a handful of jelly beans. “Would you like a jelly bean?” she asked. “They’re pretty gross.”

I don’t much care for jelly beans in general, and especially ones that come with a warning of grossness, but she seemed particularly eager to share her candy and isn’t sharing one of those things that adults are supposed to encourage? So I resigned myself to the icky gooiness that is a jelly bean and accepted the brown piece of candy. She smiled and said, “You have to guess what flavor it is.”

I expected it to be chocolate, but I should have been wiser. It wasn’t even coffee-flavored. At first, it tasted like soap, and then morphed into the undeniably disgusting flavor of potting soil. “Ick! This is gross! It tastes like dirt!”

The kindergartener starting giggling. “It is!” she said, and proudly held up her box of Harry Potter jelly beans, which—I sure I wish I’d seen this before eating my dirt-flavored bean—contained the words, “NEW! Rotten egg and bacon flavors!”

We then proceeded to split the remainder of the beans, rating each on flavor and accuracy. “Earwax” won in the flavor department, but it was hard to compare to the real thing since neither of us had ever tasted earwax. “Soap” came in a close second, being sweet and bearing a striking resemblance to the real thing. “Black pepper” tasted like, well, black pepper.

She was upset when we finished the box and it hadn’t contained a grass, vomit, booger or earthworm jelly bean—darn, no vomit!—and when she announced that she had more boxes at home, I took that as a cue to pretend I had some very important work to finish up.

“But grass is my favorite!” she said.

“I’ll take your word for it,” I responded.

I’m not sure I’ll ever eat a jelly bean again.

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