How to Get the Guinea Pig

“I suppose it would be too much to ask you to cook normally?” Beth pleaded, fiddling with the zipper on her jacket, with a hopeful face despite her despairing tone.

Linnie barely paused as she continued working grated yellow cheese into a pale dough, and she didn’t look up from the kitchen counter.  “I haven’t the slightest idea what you mean.”

Beth, a normally congenial soul, had no patience with that kind of attitude.  “You do too.”

Linnie did eye Beth this time, but it was a glance with mischief behind it, and her answer, in Beth’s opinion, was not helpful at all.  “I am simply following the recipe I found for garlic and cheese biscuits, which is what you requested for the party tonight.  At this point I am to ‘gradually add cheese to the dough and toss with flour until no longer sticky.’  I grant you I am making a mess, but I am following the instructions, unless you can think of a better way to ‘toss’ dough.”

Beth frowned at her roommate.  “That’s a new recipe, isn’t it?  I know what you do to new recipes, I’ve lived with you for two years.”

“You don’t want to be my guinea pig?” Linnie inquired, in a falsely hurt manner.   

“I just want to eat garlic and cheese biscuits!” exclaimed Beth.

“Well, you don’t have to be the first one to try them,” replied Linnie, in that ridiculously reasonable tone that so infuriated Beth.  “Just wait until someone else does, then feast to your little heart’s content.  Or feed it to Rachel’s dog.”

“Rachel said she’s not letting us feed any more of your new stuff to her dog, as she’s not letting us torment her poor little ‘honey’ anymore,” complained Beth. “And everyone else who’s coming tonight also knows not to be the first one to try your new recipes, and the ones who don’t will probably be warned by Mary.”

“What was that?” came a voice from down the hall.  The third roommate, Mary, quickly bustled into the kitchen.  “I heard my name mentioned and something about a warning, and that scares me and I felt the need to be here to defend myself.”

Beth pointed accusingly at Linnie.  “She’s making garlic and cheese biscuits, out of a new recipe!”

Unfortunately for Beth, Mary had had a long day.  She’d had two midterm exams and the deadline for a grad school application, and thus, she had very little sympathy left and had become of Linnie’s ilk of reasoning.  “Didn’t you ask her to make garlic and cheese biscuits, because you just really wanted them?” demanded Mary.

“Yes,” admitted Beth.

“And didn’t you hear her say that she’d never made them before and would have to find a recipe?”

“Yessss,” Beth said again, exasperated.

“And you know what she does to new recipes,” continued Mary.  “You are the one who wanted garlic and cheese biscuits, and so you deal with this.  I’m going to my room to take a nap.  Call me when people get here.”

“But…” began Beth.

“No buts!” called Mary, disappearing with a slightly manic giggle.

After a short silence, Linnie spoke.  “Actually, I invited a new person tonight, one who won’t know any better.”

“Who?” Beth asked, surprised.

“Just a guy from Spanish class.  He and I really hit it off.”

Linn-ie,” demanded Beth, “Is this your weird way of vetting a potential boyfriend?”

Linnie began shaping the biscuits.  “Mayyybeee.”

“That’s terrible,” Beth said.

“Yes,” agreed Linnie, placidly.  “But if all goes according to plan, it will tell me a great deal about his character, in particular his ability to take a joke.”  

There was a pause, during which Beth wondered for the 999th time why she was roommates with Linnie.  

“Look,” continued Linnie, “it’s too late at this point.  The dough is already set and I used the last of the milk.  So unless you want me to throw out the dough and we can have no garlic and cheese biscuits…”  

Beth’s desire for said biscuits was stronger than her empathy.  “No,” she said, in a forlorn tone.  

Linnie gave a satisfied smirk, and continued her work.  Beth watched her for a bit, before interjecting: “Add more garlic.  There’s no such thing as too much garlic.”

“I already added plenty,” replied Linnie, absentmindedly checking the oven temperature, “and too much might counteract the sp…” She managed to grab the garlic container as Beth lunged for it.  “NO!” Linnie barked.  “This is my cooking.  Out of my kitchen, it’s small enough as it is.”

Your kitchen?” exclaimed Beth, as she retreated into the living room.  “My parents pay rent here too, you know!”

“Oh, suck it up, Buttercup,” growled Linnie, as she placed the biscuits in the oven.

Seven o’clock arrived, the hour when Beth and Linnie had told everyone to come over for “dinner and a movie.”  True to form, Ross arrived precisely on time, while everyone else showed up at intervals of five, ten and even thirty minutes later.  Linnie’s proposed conquest, who was introduced as “Trent,” knocked on the door at the ten minute mark.

“A ten minute buffer zone…could be better, but not bad,” murmured Linnie, as she answered the door.  Beth rolled her eyes.

But she made no protestations as Linnie – with a dirty look towards Ross, who was the most liable to spoil the trick – told Trent to help himself to some food.  She especially recommended the garlic and cheese biscuits, saying, “I’ve never made them before, so whoever tries them first will be the guinea pig!”  Eagerly, Trent thanked her, reached for a biscuit, and stuffed it in his mouth.

No one who knew Linnie was at all surprised when, with a soft pop, Trent transformed into a guinea pig.

Well, there was nothing to be done about it now.  With a sympathetic sigh, Beth stepped over the poor creature, who was squeaking in confusion on the carpet, and put two garlic cheese biscuits onto her plate.  Oh, he’d transform back into a human in a minute or two, and they’d see whether he was the sort of fellow who could stomach her roommate’s weird little brand of magic.