Oh, wait…that's what I do on a daily basis.
BUT,this weekend I will be doing it with other writers. So, when I finish a masterful piece of literary treasure I can
For my part, I'm bringing Fully Loaded Baked Potato Soup, some Sausage Jambalaya and my camera; the weather should clear up, and best of all…
They have horses.
In the mean time, here for your reading pleasure is a piece of "Flash Fiction" I wrote for a contest. I was limited to 600 words, so for me it was a Herculean task, being that I tend to run on and on and on…
Don, the Chicken Man
Out of my element when we moved from the suburbs of Chicago to rural Missouri, I was fortunate to make a new friend just down the road. Don was our neighbor; tall and wiry in his late 60s, he told me that he'd been born in Minnesota, raised in "Missoura", and was one of sixteen or seventeen kids— he couldn't recall the exact amount. Despite Don's lack of mathematical prowess we became buddies.
My husband traveled a lot, one week in Kansas City, the next in Denver. I was a stay-at-home mom with a toddler in unfamiliar territory and without family near to occupy the endless hours alone on our hobby farm. Don stopped by occasionally in the evenings to check on me, the ignorant city slicker, all alone on the wild prairie. Plus he discovered our fridge is always full of beer. Dropping by to visit for a spell is a neighborly thing to do.
One June evening Don asked if "the little one", his name for my daughter, and I would like to join him at the local bar for supper.
"Wednesdays are forty-nine cent taco night," he explained. Don's a savvy bargain hunter.
Tired of only having a short person with limited vocabulary for company, I jumped at his invitation. Down our gravel road to the bar we drove, and once we were settled at a table, ninety-eight cents worth of tacos in front of me, Don talked about his week.
"I cook out on the grill when the weather's fine," he said in his slow drawl. "I usually make chicken and sausages on Sundays. I wrap the sausages in foil with onions and peppers. They're pretty good, if I do say so myself."
I nodded, unable to speak because my mouth was full. "The little one" was finger painting the table with her taco.
"I cooked out this weekend. I made chicken and sausages and had a couple a beers."
Knowing Don is mathematically challenged, I figured "a couple a" meant "a twelve pack". I was unable to comment, busily deflecting a steady barrage of shredded cheese flung in my direction.
Don continued, "I came home for lunch on Monday, and I looked in the fridge for the leftover chicken. I knew I didn't finish it all, and I was hungry."
I kept nodding. Apparently he really wanted to discuss his culinary skills.
"I looked all over my fridge, and it wasn't in there. So— you know what I did?"
I shook my head no, trying to listen to Don while scraping demolished taco into my napkin. The "little one's" restlessness was making our table look like a Jihad at the Taco Bell.
"I went out into the yard, and you know what— I left that chicken on the grill all night long."
"Was the grill still on?" I asked, a sudden suspicion clenching at my gut.
"Nope. So— you know what I did?"
I calculated the equation put before me: Chicken left on a grill from a sunny 80 degree Sunday, overnight, into a sunny 80 degree Monday at noon, and shuddered.
"I took a bite out of one of them pieces— and you know what? It tasted funny."
Words exploded out of me, words like salmonella, listeria, diarrhea.
Don calmly ate his taco while I railed. Finally he said, "You know what I did then?"
"Threw it out?" I replied, wondering what other options there could possibly be, trying to hide my urge to gag.
"Nope. I took a bite out of another piece, just to make sure."