I turn on the taps. A random memory of primary school shoots out. An attempt to make the meals more desirable.
One, two, three. Cover hands with hot water. Smooth over with pink, liquid soap.
Gastric goulash spits brown bubbles, and splutters, designed to weld to the velum and clog the throat.
Six, seven, eight. Scrub backs of hands, splashing and foaming.
Pleural supreme slops from ladle to plate; an aggregate of fleshy white beads which hits the gullet and bursts into sludge.
Twelve, thirteen, fourteen. Interlink fingers with more soap and a side of determination.
Coagulated red cell spaghetti sauce simulates inflamed, bloody gashes.
Seventeen, eighteen, nineteen. Squeeze life from both thumbs.
Play safe and select gnarled fish fingers that lurch towards dehydration.
Twenty-two, twenty-three, twenty-four. Drench wrists under cold tap.
Dole out those re-fries, grease aplenty. Safety in numbers, kids.
Twenty-six, twenty-seven, twenty-eight. Palm to palm dance finale.
Twenty-nine, thirty, finish. I turn off both taps. Shake both hands free of drips and go for the paper towels.
Run for the farthest table with tray. Food fights were not uncommon, nor was projectile vomiting.
I glove and mask up, breathe in the lily of the valley fragranced air of the clean utility and ready myself for the terminal clean on ward seven.
I grab the mop and grip it till my knuckles blanch.
It could be messy.
Kelly Louisa Balliu is originally from the North West of England and now lives in Oxfordshire with her husband and son. She is a regular contributor to Paragraph Planet and when not making cheese on toast, seeks peace and humour in an imperfect world. Find her on Twitter @BalliuKelly.