The other day, while waiting for my kettle to boil to make morning tea, I happened to scroll by a message on a psychological fb group with a dire appeal for help from a young man. The guidance was requested in the field of cookery - given a bag of all-purpose flour, a quart of water and 'a bit' cracked egg the task was to produce something edible. Though messages like this might look weird to somebody unfamiliar with youth internet culture I wasn't much surprised. Ever since I got interested in the online behaviourism I've come across plethora of so called challenges where participants were requested to perform the freakiest stunts one can imagine. The suggested starter kit didn't look alarming, only the fact that it was placed under psychological help group was somewhat baffling. Nevertheless, I like cooking and not so long ago watched a couple of videos on 'basic' easy flour tortillas and it looked like a perfect chance to see the recipes in action.\n \n So I offered my help - and we got connected in a video call. I was expecting to see a kitchen full of nicely arranged sets of knives, spoons and other necessary trivia you used to see on culinary shows. Instead, what I saw was barely lit squalid den full of litter and my vis-a-vis seated cross legged in dirty halfly slipped socks. He kept the flour and water clutching them to his chest with one arm and holding his mobile in front of him with another. It definitely didn't look like a comfortable position to set on a bakery adventure instead it seemed that he has stolen the ingredients right now and wants to swallow them before being caught.\n \n Also the line was noisy so I hardly was able to hear the other end and was about to disconnect. But then I understand he is sobbing and trying to whisper something. Don't know why but first thought appeared in my head was that the cooking is a cover up and he might be taken hostage and is trying to reach for help. So I asked:\n “Are you ok?”\n “Yeah, but I'm hungry” he kept whispering.\n “But why you're whispering and why you have to cook that flour with water?” he mumbled something, mobile slipped out his hands and I saw him right above the camera. His face was childish and frightened so I thought to figure out what is going on here.\n “Please calm down and explain what happened” said I\n “Nothing happened, I just want to make some sort of bread of it to eat”\n “Why can't you simply buy it?”\n “Umh, the shops are closed”\n “You don't any food at home?”\n “You're not going to help me, ok, bye then” clearly he was about to burst with tears.\n “Ok, ok, I can help you, I know how to make bread, what kind of oven do you have?”\n “Can't you make bread without an oven?” this sounded like a kindergarten teacher chiding a pupil who can't lace up their shoes. And like a small child who didn't do his homework I tried to quickly come up with something plausible.\n “You can dry it out under the sun” I blurted.\n “Nah, it's dark here. Won't I die if just chew it with water?” The last words were said with such a hope in his voice so that it became clear that it was actually the very question which brought him to the fb.\n “Look, man, sometimes it's quite ok to call somebody for help, I see you're in trouble so let me help you, as one men to another” I tried to summon all my psychological skills to sound friendly and compelling. Surprisingly it worked.\n “Well, I'm kinda grounded here.” I still wasn't able to figure out his age which I thought should be around seventeen but after hearing that he was 'grounded' I felt like he's probably in his very early teens.\n “But they still should let you eat, whatever you did. It's illegal to starve children. Who did ground you?”\n “That doesn't matter, so are you going to help me or not?“\n “Certainly I am, but I don't think eating a raw flour is safe, even with water and egg. I rather think that it's time to call police because you look quite depleted. You're on your mobile, right? So just call 911 and ask them to come, you know where you are, aren't you?”\n “I'm in my fucking home with my fucking sister and if I call police everybody will laugh at me all my life and my mom gonna kill me ”\n “Did she lock you?” the things started to clear up.\n “Yeah, kind of”\n “When your parents are to get back?”\n “Dunno, maybe tomorrow”\n “Ok, can you give her mobile and I'll try to persuade her to let you out?”\n “No way, she won't give it back”\n “How old is she?” I asked\n “Eleven”\n “And you?”\n “Fourteen”\n “And how long you've been locked?”\n “Should be already a day” he sounded miserable\n “And you didn't call your parents?!”\n “They don't care and I'll have even more troubles”\n To be honest at this point I again was about to advise to call police and say goodbye. Not sure what made me to say what I said next but it definitely was not because of any benign intentions. Playing a psychoanalytic for yourself usually is not a good idea but as far as I can now see in my hairy and scary psycho this situation resonated with my recent divorce and I associated this eleven years old girl with my grumpy and authoritarian wife and felt the smell of revenge. Subconsciously of course.\n “Ok, just give me her number and I'll settle this.”\n While he was spelling the number I already regretted it. In my head I sounded like something in between Nanny McPhee and Sauron the Terrible: “How dare you little girl to ground your elder brother?”. But I knew very well that talking persuasively is not what I usually succeed in. But damn, it's just a little girl, she must be simply crushed by authority of an adult. So I dialed the number, first beeps sounded…\n “Good morning” said I and stammered as I realized I don't know her name.\n “It's evening” she sounded cold and confident “who's this?”\n “Uhm, you see, it's a friend, it's about your brother, he seems to get locked”\n “Is it you Jeremy? Your stupid bud tried to steal my ipod last night so he got what he deserves” she said chewing something.\n “Oh, I can't hear you, the line is noisy, just let him out please”\n \n When you're forty years old you already get used to all sorts of shit you're getting into time to time. So I even wasn't every upset, just dropped the line and went on preparing morning tea. Out of curiosity I check his profile couple of hours later, the cooking question was deleted, instead he posted a photo of him grinning over a big plate of pasta.