September 10, 2010

An (Actual) Short Story

I've been working on this -- in bits and pieces -- for months. Not the best way to write a short story, but you do what you can when you can, you know? I'm not a fiction writer. Some might argue I'm not much of a nonfiction writer!

It's sort of a spoof of myself, at least my habits in the kitchen, and it borrows a good bit -- tiny details here and there -- from my own life. It's got some bad words in it, which are also not, uh, uncommon in my real life.

It definitely could use the wisdom of a good editor. But I don't think it's too bad. Honest comments and criticisms are welcome.

UPDATE: Thanks to some wisdom-laced edits and suggestions from a friend, the story was updated on October 14.

Dinner for Six

Daniel dashed down his favorite glass, tarnished, bordering on foggy, the remnants of an “L” floating in the middle of an engraved diamond along one side. Slightly less than half filled at this point, the glassgiven to him by his grandmother not long after his grandfather had diedcontained equal parts Campari and gin, with a welcome dose of sweet vermouth. The ice, at this point, resembled tic-tacs, and the squished lime wedge his lone divergence from a traditional Negroni, which typically calls for an orange slicelay comfortably at the bottom.

Despite its resemblance to a fruity beach drink, he would protest without any prompting, it was still an honest pour.

At the moment, though, it was not the integrity of his alcoholic beverage that occupied his thoughts. Rather, it was that the blood rolling from his left index finger had an eerily similar shade of orange/red as his drink. Despite the considerable pain pumping from his finger, in strange synchronicity with the old school Public Enemy droning from the stereo,

I judge everyone, one by the one, Look! Here come the judge. Watch it here he come now

Daniel was taking extreme caution not to let on that anything other than dicing and stirring (and head bopping and crooked-hand gyrating) was going on in the kitchen. 

He was not in the mental state to tolerate one of Julianna’s “how many times…” speeches.

The injury was courtesy of a slice from a chef’s knife. He had, at least in Julianna’s eyes, become infamous for such incidents. They occurred fairly regularly; one time, Daniel nicked a tendon in his pointer finger during the avocado-surgery stages of guacamole preparation. On the drive to the emergency room, Julianna’s voice never achieved empathy. She had, in fact, predicted that such an injury would occur if Daniel insisted on brandishing his chef’s knife as if he were Jamie Oliver or Mario Batali, bashing through onions or garlic like a culinary Tasmanian Devil.

This empathy deficit concerned Daniel. It was something he had noticed from their earliest dates. They had met at a networking lunch for those in the health care public relations field. Daniel was an attendee. Julianna was the bartender he kept returning to for vodka tonics every 20 minutes or so. She was working her way toward a Masters in Public Health, tending bar to pay rent. Her long black hair and a superfluous undone button on a crisp white polo shirt ensured that she could afford more than ramen and generic Cheerios.

Julianna, Daniel had concluded in some of their earliest conversations, cared about the alarmingly increasing rate of hospital-acquired infections, but never expressed concern for the actual people who were becoming infected. Of course, this worried him less at the time than whether somebody as fairly mundane looking as himself—longish dark brown hair, 10 pounds or so overweight, good dresser but short-waisted—could maintain the fancy of a woman as fetching as Julianna for very long.

But here they were, three years later, and it was, to his mind, still an issue. No wedding date had been set and they had never seriously discussed whether they would have children. But that never stopped Daniel from wondering how Julianna would react, for instance, if one of their young children stuck a bubble-blowing instrument in his or her own eye? From his experience, kids did stupid things like this all of the time. Not long before the infamous “Avocado Incident,” as it would come to be known, he had watched as his four-year-old nephew slithered onto a glass coffee table—arms tightly clasped to his sides, overly long hair tickling his eyelashes (how he wished his sister would “take the kid to a fucking barber, like, just once!” he vented to Julianna on more than one occasion), head up and eyes perched out as far as could be mustered, pretending to be a snake ascending a boulder on which it would warm its body—only to have the table flip backward and pelt his finely-shaped nose, producing a wail that tore through Daniel’s ears and curled his fingers. 

Just moments before the coffee table smackdown, the child’s mother had hollered to Michael from the kitchen to "stay off of it!" Daniel -- flopped back in a well-worn but still ridiculously comfortable leather chair that he coveted as much as he did a brick pizza oven, feet up on an ottoman, sipping on a Campari and soda (from a bottle he had brought over as a gift some time before, fully aware he would likely be the only one who ever used it), pondered the child’s willful disobedience much like a field scientist observing the mating ritual of a Panamanian golden frog. He didn’t even utter so much as a “Michael, buddy, Gabbie… err, your mom asked you to stay off of the table.”

He was, in all honesty, waiting for it to happen. The table was low and long, and the supporting structure underneath was tightly centralized. Any undue pressure on one end, even from a scrawny 4-year-old with surfer hair mimicking a rattle snake, would cause the other to swing back over, like jumping on one end of a perfectly balanced see-saw. As he watched, going through his mind was “Why would somebody with kids have a coffee table like that?” His own lack of concern for Michael’s safety had not occurred to him.

                  *                *                      *                      *

With his undamaged hand, Daniel grasped at the paper towel roll hanging under the cupboard and clumsily yanked off a single sheet to wrap around his finger. Blood still flowed. He tried to yank off another paper towel. Instead, he sent the entire dispenser spinning around like a roulette wheel, a stream of paper towels careening to the counter. “Son of a bitch!” he muttered under his breath.

He clumsily snatched his drink with his bloody hand and tipped back a swallow. The rough delivery of the glass back down to the counter jarred the injured finger, which was in just the right position for a droplet of blood to escape through the paper towel and into his drink. 

“Shit!” he said, tossing the remaining contents of the glass into the sink.

“What’s going on out there?” Julianna hollered from the bedroom.


Bass in your face, Not an eight track, Gettin' it good to the wood, So the people give you some a dat…

“You sure?”

“Yeah. Just forgot the flat-leaf parsley.”

“Look in the fruit drawer. The vegetable crisper was too full, so I may have put it down there.”
“Oh, okay. Thanks.”

The bleeding was relentless.

He was screwed. He hadn’t copped to the self mutilation. Julianna would surely be done with her hair and makeup at any moment. She wasn’t going to somehow miss the rouge paper encasing around his left pointer. It now looked like a cast, or an implement teenagers might use on a Friday night driving up and down their town’s main drag, offering single-digit salutes to friends and enemies alike, convulsing in laughter at their deviant invention. 

There was no way he could sneak past her into the bathroom and get a bandage. They were all in a big Tupperware container in the bathroom closet. The container was filled with boxes of band aids—small, large, round, square, water-resistant and antibiotic—along with cotton swabs, some ace bandages, Neosporin, and numerous other first-aid implements. He’d have to dig through all of it just to find something suitable. She’d hear him and know something was up. Even if he could get a bandage without her hearing, she’d see it on his finger. 

Julianna had arrived home 45 minutes before and had gone straight into the bathroom to get ready for their company. (“Hi. I’m home. Gettin’ in the shower.”) She hadn’t seen him, though. If he could get the bandage, maybe soon enough the bleeding might stop. Then, if she asked, he could make something up, something that happened earlier in the day, something non-knife related. Nothing came to mind, though. Blank. He was a bad liar to begin with, and this would take a fabricator savant to invent something plausible.

Beyond that, though, was an equally pressing problem. He needed a bandage that would cover the gouge in his finger but still permit use of his hand with as little hindrance as possible. He had to cook.

                                               *                *                    *                    *

His love of cooking (and eating) aside, Daniel was not looking forward to this little dinner party. Two other couples. Four people. And he didn’t like any of them. Two were Julianna’s friends. The other two were their husbands. Both couples had been married within the last year. 

He had gone to both weddings and gotten terribly drunk on each occasion. Acts of survival.

Julianna’s friends, Lori and Tonia, were idiots. They were as deep as a driveway puddle two days after a big storm. They loved reality TV, white zinfandel, and commercials that played up all of the quirky differences between men and women. Their husbands, Jon and Park, were golf-playing, high-fiving buffoons who spent as little time with their wives as possible and reveled in stories of their Jose Cuervo-soaked fraternity days. 

He didn’t know anybody at the weddings, at least not well. Both were full-Monty Catholic weddings that lasted an hour and a half. Both were in Julianna’s home town, about two hours away. Both were followed by hotel receptions. Cheap wine and rail drinks at the bar. Bad toasts. Bad music. Mothers of the bride in astoundingly tacky mother-of-the-bride dresses.

At Lori’s wedding, dinner was a choice of dry chicken breasts or even drier mystery fish with mushy steamed vegetables and rock-like buttered potatoes. Chalk masquerading as cheesecake for desert. The only menu difference at Tonia’s wedding was the substitution of the fish with a gloppy plate of pasta that was supposed to be, according to the choices on the invitation at least, a primavera pasta (“with spring vegetables”), but that, in fact, was more like Fettuccini Alfredo. The only discernible vegetables were a few hard carrot slivers and 3 or 4 peas that had the appearance of having been in a bathtub for far too long.

His solution: 7 & 7s. Lots of ‘em. A roll of one-dollar bills in his pocket a mechanism to ensure that the bartender would, after the first few drinks, have his next beverage pretty much made by the time Daniel had finished ambling, and eventually stumbling, across the dance floor toward the bar.

Tainted love, oh-ooh, tainted love

Julianna had not been pleased. He didn’t really care.

The last time the six of them had gotten together was at Tonia’s house. She still lived in Julianna’s home town, middle management at a local bank. Park—also a bank employee—lanky and slouching with blond locks thinned to the point that the lone bits left on the frontal region of his head looked like a few desperate tomato plant shoots searching out open space for unfettered sun, had recorded early-round play of some golf tournament from earlier in the day and was watching it while slugging back Miller Genuine Drafts. “Honey, turn that off,” Lori weakly protested—to no end—every 15 minutes or so.

At some point, Park and Jon—the latter of whom loaded about 250 pounds on a 5’8” frame, his belly pouring over his tightly cinched belt like a waterfall in suspended animation—bumbled through a vociferous argument about which was the worst golf course on which they had ever played. Daniel, who had forced down two MGD’s after arrival, joked that a miniature golf course was the worst he had ever played on. Jon and Park stared.

Dinner, Daniel concluded (and that Tonia confirmed soon after, in response to the obligatory “This is delicious…” compliments), was frozen lasagna from a big-box store. The dinner rolls too. And a salad. Bagged iceberg, complete with croutons and shredded carrots. With ranch dressing, from a bottle the size of a Chihuahua.

At one point in the evening, Jon had a claw-like grasp on Daniel’s hand, his pointer and thumb pinching rather vigorously at the intersection between Daniel’s thumb and pointer. It was a pressure point where, Jon explained with maniacal vigor, if he squeezed hard enough he could completely disable Daniel. He would then deliver Daniel to his demise with a stiff-fingered jab just below the Adam’s apple, poking him with his stubby fingers to demonstrate the fate he could bring about, if he so chose.

Daniel had passed out as soon as they got home from dinner. He awoke around 3:00 in the morning and spent the next two hours in the bathroom, reading through two days worth of newspapers and tagging pages in a Thai cookbook he had picked up on sale a few weeks earlier.

Now, staring at the increasingly blood-soaked paper towel around his finger, it struck him: He had band aids in the kitchen! After the last finger-slicing incident, he had finally determined it would be wise to keep some wound-repair supplies nearby. Under the sink!

A strategy quickly formed in his head: a small band-aid tightly around the cut, and a slightly larger one around that. He removed the paper towel and, it appeared, the platelets were doing their work. The bleeding had slowed dramatically. He ran the finger under some warm water. Another paper towel to dry and keep pressed tightly to the wound for 30 seconds while he used his teeth to open the first small band-aid.

Off with the paper towel, on with the small band-aid. Quickly opening the second. Apply. Luckily the cut was between the knuckle and cuticle, and the range of motion on his finger was not severely limited. He watched it closely for signs of blood. Just a little spot.

But then again I got a story, that's harder than the hardcore, cost of the Holocaust, I'm talkin' 'bout the one still goin' on…

Fridge opened, flat-leaf parsley secured. Chef’s knife under some hot water. Wiped and quickly sharpened. Parsley under some cold water, a vigorous shake, patted with a paper towel, and down to the counter. Deep breath. Handful of parsley and yank. Onto the chopping board. Left hand fingers down and curled. Knife through the parsley…


“Hey, babe… How’s it goin’?”

“Great. Yoga was awesome. Maria is so much better than that freak Kate.”

“That’s cool. Why don’t you just only go when Maria is teaching?”

“I try. But her mom has cancer or something, so her schedule is all over the place recently.”

“That suc--.”

“Can you turn that down?”

“Yeah, sure. I was just about to chan—”

“Did you hurt your finger?”

“Yeah. … Roasting the red peppers. Dropped one with the tongs and was trying to get it and didn’t realize my hand was close to the burner.”

“You should be more caref—”

“What time are they getting here? Isn’t it like 15 minutes? Want to grab the greens out of the fridge for me? Oven is preheated. Just need to pull together the salad. The potatoes I won’t put in until the chicken’s about half-way done.”

“Um, uh-huh.... Sure.”

It worked. He almost never asked for help. He had become a kitchen freak. It was his domain. For all intents and purposes he might as well have urinated all over the floor. In this instance, though, obfuscation, confusion, diversion were his allies.

                                           *                *                      *                      *

The menu: Braised chicken. Roasted potatoes with rosemary. A salad of field greens, sliced almonds, fontina, and dried blueberries with a lemon vinaigrette. 

Julianna had said to keep it simple, that she didn’t want Daniel spending the entire night in the kitchen.

Daniel had replied that he was, in effect, making chicken and potatoes. What could be more simple? Just stick a few things in the oven and let them cook for a little while. Very little effort beyond what he would be able to get done before the guests arrived. This latter part was, to a certain extent, actually true and was the lone flaw in his original plan. He had wanted to make sure he would be busy enough in the kitchen that he would not have to dodge any of Jon’s jungle warfare survival techniques.

Daniel was studiously halving fingerling potatoes when the doorbell rang. Immediately he tensed up. The damaged digit, about which he had nearly forgotten, began to throb again. He took a big swallow of a freshly made Negroni. He was, he had to admit, nervous. 

Somehow, in the three years that he and Julianna had been together, he had never cooked for these people. He preferred that, when they got together, they travel to them, so that the departure would be on his (and Julianna’s) terms (“Hon, do we have to leave already?” “I’m just really tired...”). Why the nerves? He seriously disliked these two men and women. 

Hate is a strong word, and he had devised a formula for deciding whether he truly hated a person. It was: Could he think of one thing about the person in question that could make him smile, and not in a schadenfreude-type way. If not, then he knew it was truly hate.

And then he thought, if I do indeed hate these people—and he was fairly certain that he did, just not yet 100 percent positive—it’s absurd to be nervous. If anything, he felt, he should be irate, because he was willfully inviting them into his apartment and expending a good amount of effort to feed them.

Two drinks and well into a third under his belt, a move away from Public Enemy to David Bowie, Daniel quickly finished the potatoes, tossed them in a bowl with some olive oil, chopped rosemary, salt, pepper, and poured them out onto a spankin’-new baking sheet. He had picked it up, along with some good Spanish olive oil, only the day before, for no reason other than the two that they already had were rather dingy (but still perfectly functional), and, should anybody peep into the kitchen, he didn’t want them to think poorly of his cooking wares. 

I still don’t know what I was waiting for, and my time was running wild

And there was the doorbell. Right on fucking time! he thought.

“They’re here!” Julianna shouted through a rapid shuffle down the hallway. 

Door opened. Lots of “Heys” and “So good to see yous” between the girls, hugs all around. Daniel remained in the kitchen, Julianna using it as an excuse for his absence. 

“You know him and his cooking.”

Realizing that it was all starting and that he had to show his face at some point, he wiped his hands on his apron—a petite red one with a simply drawn chicken shaped in gold that he had bought at the culinary institute during a special holiday dinner to which he had taken Julianna last year—and slow-marched into the living room. 

“Hey, everybody. How’s it going? Thanks for coming.”

Semi-enthusiastic “heys” in return, polite hugs from the girls, some waves from the boys. 

“Can I get you something to drink?” he asked.

“Oh, yeah. Can’t believe I haven’t asked that!” Julianna said. “Do you want a rum and coke or a white wine or some beer or something? I’m not sure what kind of beer we have.”

As much as it pained him to do it, Daniel had bought 2 six-packs of an American mega-brew for the Omega Pi boys, and two bottles of a fairly sweet white wine for the girls. Whatever they did not consume tonight would not be consumed at all. Julianna was not much of a drinker, and he had two bottles of Grenache that he got on sale only weeks before, amazed that they would even be on sale to begin with. Just the mention of the word “dry” would be enough to kill any interest this crew might have in it.

“Is this, uh, …”

“David Bowie.” Daniel interrupted Park’s question.

“Is it old?”

“Yeah. You know, the whole ‘Spiders from Mars,' 'Hunky Dory' era. One of my favorites.”

“Oh. Never really listened to him.”

“Well. … Uh, I have to get back to the kitchen,” Daniel said, already two strides toward his version of a man-cave.

                                           *                *                      *                      *

Every few minutes Daniel would pop in and out of the kitchen. Potatoes in, out to the living room, stand, smile, make meaningless comments, back to the kitchen. Juice some lemons and make the vinaigrette, out to the living room, stand, smile, meaningless comments, back to the kitchen. Pull out the knives, forks, napkins, water glasses, set the table, back to the living room.

By the time he and Julianna had refreshed everybody’s drinks, the items in the oven were done. In total, he had probably not spent more than 12 minutes in near proximity to their guests.

Julianna came into the kitchen to help him plate the food and deliver it to the table. With three Negronis and a generous glass of Grenache in his system, Daniel’s nerves were no longer an issue. He was ready to eat.

“I’m so glad you all could come. I don’t know why we’ve never done this here before,” Julianna said.

“I know, I know,” Lori giggled. “Everything looks delicious!”

With some more pleasantries, the six people around the Crate & Barrel dining room table, underneath an outdated chandelier that seems to be a requirement of rental apartments, began the process of eating dinner. Daniel was just a few bites in to his meal when he noticed Tonia cutting at the meat with some trepidation. 

“Everything all right?” he asked.
“Uh, yeah, yeah, definitely,” Tonia replied. “We just don’t eat dark meat very often.”

“Oh, really,” Daniel said, a little perturbed. “I’m kind of a dark meat junkie, I guess. Just in case, I did get a few white-meat pieces, though. They’re just a little smaller than usual.”

“Great, thanks.”

The others were less reticent, and even seemed to be enjoying what they were eating.

“Dark meat or not, this is freakin’ good!” Park said. “The meat just sort of falls apart, like ribs. I’ll take that piece, hon.”

“Yeah,” Daniel smiled (a smile of which he was fully aware), taking a big swig of wine. “Braising does that.”
The meal went on. Tonia got some white meat and happily went on with her meal. Everybody else also seemed to be enjoying the food, and Daniel actually found himself participating in the conversation: about another friend of Julianna’s who had just gone through a divorce after her husband caught her cheating on him (“with some loser from high school, of all people”), about getting a dog someday, and about vacations.

“I’m dying to get to Europe,” Daniel said. “Just need to save some money so we can do it right. Like two weeks, some time in Rome, Paris, Madrid. I just don’t know if I’d want to come back.”

“Eh. Fuck Europe,” Park blurted, five beers fueling his already over-inflated bravado. “They all think they’re better than us, anyway. Why should I give them any of my damn money?”

“I don’t think the people in Europe think that they’re better than us,” Julianna retorted. 

“I do,” Lori checked in. “I remember, when everything first started in Iraq, you’d see, like, political people from Germany and France, on CNN or whatever, saying how ‘arrogant’ we were, how we thought we could do whatever we wanted.”

Julianna was looking flustered. The tone of the conversation had turned in a direction she didn’t expect, and it was obvious she didn’t know what to do.

“Who knows if we’ll—” she tried to say, but she was quickly cut off.

 “And what about the food, Daniel,” Tonia said. “You love food, right. Cooking all the time and stuff. Like in France and Spain, don’t they eat cows' stomachs and intestines?”

“Yes. So?”

“That’s disgusting!” Tonia nearly shouted. “Why would you want to eat a stomach!?”

Daniel paused for a moment. He took a tidy swallow, sloshing it around in his mouth before sending it to its final destination.

The words innocently came forth: “What do you think you’re eating now?”

“What do you mean?” Tonia said.

“The food. The meat. On your plate. What do you think it is?”

“It’s chicken.”

“You sure?”

“What in the hell is that supposed to mean?”

“It means,” Daniel went on, pausing again to take a mid-phrase glug of Grenache, “that it’s not chicken.”

“Then what is it?!” interjected Jon, who Daniel wasn’t even aware had been paying attention to the conversation.


“What?!” Tonia choked out.

“It’s rabbit. You know, big ears, cotton tail, ‘What’s up, doc?’”

“It is not, Daniel, and you know it,” Julianna snapped.

“No. It is. Really.”

Where did you get rabbit?” He knew Julianna’s concern was not over having unwittingly eaten rabbit, but that her friends had.

“At the farm market, last week. Some woman from a farm in some town about 50 miles away I never heard of. I’ve always wanted to try it.”

“Dude, that’s fucked up,” Jon slurred. “You can’t do shit like that.”

“Shit like what?” Daniel asked, still composed. “Cook you a good meal that you clearly enjoyed. What makes a rabbit any different than a chicken?”

“It just is.”

“I see. So you’ve really given it some deep thought.”

“Fuck you.”

Oh, no,” the sarcasm highly titrated. “Please don’t eviscerate me with your pinky toe.”

Jon stood up quickly, shaking the table and sending a mostly empty glass of white zinfandel tumbling.

Daniel remained seated but had a firm grasp on his fork, his faculties alcohol-suppressed just enough that he either failed to recognize that the steak knife he had set out, but not used, was a more appropriate weapon, or preserved to the extent that he realized grabbing a knife could possibly land him in jail for involuntary manslaughter.

“Honey!” Tonia jumped in. “Sit down! We’re leaving in a minute anyway.”

Daniel picked up his wine glass and, with a deft lift, emptied it. He wiped his mouth with his napkin, picked up his practically cleaned plate and, as if nobody was even in the room, took it into the kitchen.

“I’m so sorry about this, you guys. I don’t know what to say,” Julianna mumbled, her voice cracking and wobbly.

“It’s not your fault,” Lori said. “We’d better get going.”

“Really, I’m sorry,” she continued, as the women grabbed their purses, gave her hugs, and slumped out the door with their husbands, who had remained angrily silent since Jon’s lurch from the table.

The closing door was unbearably loud to Julianna. She stared at it for about 30 seconds, her dismay finally interrupted by the sound from the kitchen of clinking plates and running water. She turned and shuffled quickly to the kitchen.

“What the hell was that?! Rabbit, Daniel? Freaking rabbit!”

“It wasn’t rabbit.”


“It wasn’t rabbit.”

“But you said...”

“I know what I said. But it wasn’t rabbit. I did buy two rabbits at the farm market a few weeks ago. They’re in the freezer. But they’re whole rabbits and I don’t know how the hell to butcher the damn things. So dinner was just chicken.”
“Then why say it? Huh? Why would you say it was rabbit? Because of what they were saying about food in France? What, did a comment about French food somehow disturb your culinary sensibilities?! Freaking comrades in cuisine or something?”

“No… Well, that was pretty annoying. But it really didn’t have anything to do with the rabbit. I just wanted to see how they would react.”

“So, it was some grand sociological experiment then? That’s the reason you decided to drop your god-damned bunny bombshell?”

“No. I wouldn’t call it that,” Daniel said. They looked intently at each other for a moment. Then Julianna finally looked away.

“You want a piece of pie?” he said, trying, weakly he knew, to defuse the tension. “Been dying to dig into that thing all day. Thinking like a coffee martini or something with it.”

Julianna stared at Daniel, not so much in disbelief at the question she had just been asked, but that she was just realizing—or at least willing to finally admit—that the last few years had been a waste of time. That the engagement was a sham. That a wedding, even if it did ever happen, would be a huge mistake.

She turned and took a few plodding steps toward the door. The last few steps were faster, as she clumsily grabbed keys and a small handbag from small basket on a table by the front door. The hesitation had entirely dissipated as she exited the apartment.

Daniel heard the door close, but did not bother to actually watch Julianna leave.

He took the peach pie out of the box—he was not a baker, but he coveted good pies and certainly had his favorite bakeries—removed a small knife from a butcher’s block, cut a fairly gargantuan piece, grabbed a plate from the cupboard and, using the same small knife, slid the sweet and sticky triangle from the box onto the plate, careful to not lose any of the crust.

Too lazy to make the aforementioned coffee martini, he drained the last of the Grenache into his glass, which had an unsightly smear on one side of the rim—the remnants of his last bite of chicken and potatoes. 

He flipped open the aged Dell laptop that seemed to live on the kitchen counter, brought up his iTunes, and double clicked on an old R.E.M. album that Gabbie had turned him onto in his teen years. 

With Michael Stipe murmuring about “A birdie in the hand,” Daniel opened a web browser and typed into the search engine: “How to butcher a rabbit?”

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Daryl M. said...

Very nice! Love the plot and the pace of the narration. Excellent ending.

Fillippelli the Eater said...

Thanks! I appreciate it. I'll have to revisit it in a few months and see if there are any major changes I'd like to make to it. Still too close to it at this point.

Grant said...

I really enjoyed reading this story, Carmen. Thanks for posting!

Jesse said...

Definitely enjoyed the story... the characters are impressively well developed in a short amount of space; the conflicts occur naturally with a good resolution.

The main change I'd suggest would be culinary. Conversation before dinner or not, a braised chicken would have to be pretty well on its way by the time the guests arrived in order to have its texture be falling apart like ribs during dinner.