How many days do we have in this month? Thirty-one??!? ~groan~ Are we there yet?
This one really belonged on this blog’s Food Day, yesterday, but I’m doing the pictures in the order I randomly numbered them, so it’s today. Bite me, Mr. Monk.
by Marian Allen
Besides you? Lola thought, but she knew better than to say it out loud. Nelson only had a sense of humor where mocking other people was concerned.
“I made chili.”
“Oooo, that’s always weird! Have it on the table by the time I get back downstairs, right? On. The Table.”
He went up to change into the baggy pants and disgusting zombie t-shirt he wore around the house.
Lola checked the display on the kitchen phone: Line In Use. He didn’t even care enough to use his cell phone to call Her. Why should he? The house was his, the phone was his, the bank account was his, the food was his, and she, Lola, was his.
It had happened so gradually, she hadn’t seen it coming until the slope was so slippery she couldn’t claw her way back up.
His voice came back down the stairs: “How’s that chili coming?”
“Setting the table now.”
She put out the two place settings, making sure his liquid nicotine was where he could put his hand right on it if he needed it for an after-dinner “smoke.” Nasty. She had heard that second-hand vapor was as dangerous as second-hand smoke, but Nelson laughed at that.
Chili was supposed to be a one-pot meal, but that isn’t how it worked in Nelson’s house. She grew up in Cincinnati, and she liked spaghetti noodles in hers. He thought that was stupid, so she made the noodles separately and added them to her bowl. They both liked kidney beans, but he liked more than she did, so she made those separately and she added those after cooking. He liked sauce hot enough to peel paint and she liked hers medium, he liked chunks of steak and she liked finely ground beef, so she made separate pots of meat sauce.
The Line In Use display went off.
She dished up Nelson’s chili and poured a bowl full of oyster-shaped crackers for him.
“Ah! Good girl!” He dumped himself into his chair with a satisfied grunt and picked up his spoon while she was still assembling her own bowl. “Hope it’s really weird. I feel like a challenge tonight.”
He rolled a bite around in his mouth. “Not chocolate, I hope. That’s an old one.”
He took another two bites. “Cardamom!” Another bite. “Cardamom, right?”
“But there’s something else, isn’t there?”
“You’re good.” His second-favorite words.
Half-way through the bowl, he said, “Mint!”
“You are amazing.” The three little words he loved most to hear.
He finished the bowl and demanded another. By the time that was gone, he was sweating and red-faced.
“Hot enough to give me the trots,” he said. “Just like I like it.”
He clutched his liquid nicotine and took it into the downstairs bathroom with him so he could “smoke” while he watched a replay of last night’s football game on his phone.
Lola listened to his cheers and curses as she cleaned up. She poured the little food that was left down the disposal and ran crushed charcoal after it, washing the dishes in mild bleach, then detergent.
Nelson’s vocalizations stopped. Heavy footsteps stumbled to the couch and the television switched on.
She folded the dishtowel and went into the living room, where Nelson sprawled, face white and saggy.
“Are you all right?”
“Yeah. Shut up.”
She went to bed once he slipped into a coma.
The nice policeman who responded to her tearful call the next morning said they were seeing more and more of these cases.
“Those damn eCigs need to be regulated,” he said. “Pardon my language. And I say that as somebody who don’t like the government in my personal business. Nicotine’s a poison, did you know that?”
“It is? And they let people just have it, just like that? Now, isn’t that weird?”
~ * ~
Speaking of Mr. Monk, do any of you alphabetize your herbs/spices? I used to. The kids used to laugh at me, but I was like, “They do it at the grocery store, don’t they?” We ate no fast food at home and very little out while the kids were growing up, and I sometimes had to throw a meal together in a flash, so being able to put my hand on what I wanted quickly made sense. Nowadays, I only have them separated into powdered and whole. That is not weird. It is not!
A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: Write something with spices in it.