If there was anyone willing to put up with Coyote's antics enough to be considered his friend, it was Spider. They liked pulling pranks together, though Spider was not as clever as Coyote and often found himself ending up on the wrong side of a joke. He eventually grew tired of this but, still wanting to spend time with his friend, decided to share his other interests with him.
Spider invited Coyote to his home to learn how to cook a new recipe he had created. He did not tell him what it would be, knowing how much his friend liked surprises. After leaving his wife with an armful of squash to prepare he hurried away to collect more ingredients. New ideas kept dropping into his head for adding deeper layers of richness to the soup he could imagine tasting. He lost track of time searching out everything he needed to make the soup just right.
Coyote arrived and let himself in. He peered over the woman's shoulder. "What'ca doin?"
Spider's wife elbowed him in the ribs. "Cutting squash for the soup. Back off and let me work. My husband will be here soon."
Coyote eyed the knife in her hand and decided to give her some space. He wrinkled his muzzle. "Squash? Eewww!"
Spider's wife tensed, and then resumed her chopping. A rustling noise from behind made her turn.
Coyote had picked up a basket. He shook it and water splashed out of a small opening at the top and soaked his fingers. "Nifty!"
Her eyes bulged and she reached for it. "Careful! My husband spent weeks making that!"
Coyote stretched on his tiptoes and held it away from her. "Oh come on, I'm sure he wouldn't mind if I looked at it while I waited for him."
The basket was one of the most ingenious things he had ever seen. How could it be woven so tightly that no water slipped through? He picked at it with his claws, prodded for signs of leakage, and made satisfying crunch-slosh sounds when he squeezed it.
Spider's wife made another lunge for the basket. Coyote held it over her head and went crunch-slosh. Crunch-slosh, crunch-slosh, crunch-slosh. Crunch-splatter. "Oops."
She stared up at him with a red face framed by long, dripping hair. She bit her lip.
Coyote grinned so wide she could see his back teeth and handed her the crumbled basket. "Real ingenious guy, Spider. He'll have a bunch more of these whipped up in no time. Where is he anyway? Should we just get started without him?"
Spider's wife took a deep breath. A smile tugged at one corner of her mouth. "I suppose so. You can start by putting the chopped squash in the cooking pot. Surely this is a task even someone like you could not fail to carry out."
Coyote made a face before touching the squash, but succeeded without dropping a single piece on the floor. "Now what?"
She tilted her head and ran a finger along the edge of her knife. "There is only one more ingredient I can prepare until my husband gets back with whatever he's busy collecting. Now, spread your legs and hold still, please."
Coyote's knees knocked together and his ears dropped. "Um… what?"
"Last week he discovered the perfect recipe for a soup made of squash and buffalo testicles. Such tender meat! It was so delicious; he swore he would try out as many variations as possible to see which was the best." She pointed the knife at him and pouted. "What are you looking so worried for? You'll get them back the next time your body is restored from the afterlife."
She took a step forward. Coyote ran out the door.
He found Spider outside, barely able to see where he was going over an armload of baskets full of herbs, nuts, berries, roots, and other things he had picked up along the way. They collided and Spider fell back in a heap of spindly limbs. Coyote tripped over a basket, regained his footing, and kept going.
Spider stared while his wife helped him up. "What got into him?"
She shrugged. "He asked me what we were having. I told him it was squash soup. He was very passionate in his disgust over the idea of eating it."
Spider groaned, then ran after Coyote. Already huffing for breath after his day out, he could only call to the fading view of his back. "Why must you be so stubborn? A little taste will not kill you!"
Coyote called over his shoulder with an edge of panic in his voice that seemed wholly unreasonable to the aspiring chef. "With ingredients like that, I'd rather it did!"