1. Dinner Time

This is the first installment of Digging in the Dirt.


Jim lifted a spoon to his mouth and took a taste from the pot. He paused and let the smells infuse his senses; he closed his eyes and meditated on the flavors.

“Mediocre,” he thought. “Oh, well,” and yelled, “Dinner’s ready!” as he wiped the spoon off on his shirt.

The papery, disinterested house was not in the mood to respond. He waited. “Dinner, guys!” One last dramatic drag brightened the glowing end of a discount cigarette. He smashed it out, folded his arms and waited again. Nothing.

Rolling his eyes, he swung open the cabinet to his right, meaning to slam it open in disgust. But because he’d been rolling his eyes instead of focusing on the handle, he missed a little and it slipped from his hands and only opened halfway.

Annoyed, he brought out three bowls and began angry-ladling the pot’s contents, exhaling smoke.

Dammit. They weren’t coming.


Todd’s door burst open. “You hear me callin’?” asked Jim.

Todd, sitting in his bed reading a comic book, jumped and smacked his elbow on the wall behind him. “Ow. Jeez. You knock?”

“It’s dinner.” Jim looked around the room. “Wow. How’d you learn to get chaos theory to work so perfectly in here?”

“By watching you with women?”

“Nice. Where’s Dad?”

“Outside. He’s stealin’ cable, I think.”

Jim walked over to Todd’s window, lifted the blinds and squinted.

“Yep. Climbin’ the pole in the back. Still got his robe on, too.”

“What’d you make, anyway?” Todd slid off the bed.

“Food.”

“Oh, something different…”

“Listen, Emeril, you can make dinner anytime you want.”

The brothers ambled to the kitchen. Todd grabbed a bowl and a spoon, and sat down at a scuffed up kitchen table

Jim creaked open the door. “Pops! Dinner!

“Pops” was about seven feet off the ground, but he leaned back and gave an indifferent wave, his robe violently billowing.

Todd took a bite of the stew. “Oh, gross!”

Jim turned around. “It’s not that bad.”

“I wish I had a time machine, so I could go back in time one minute and not eat that. What is this?”

“Squirrel Stew. Shot the squirrel myself.”

No.” Todd pushed the bowl away and ran to get a glass of water, overturning the chair.

“It’s ok! It’s from a recipe!”

“Are you sure that squirrel was ripe?”

“I tasted it. It’s not that bad.”

Todd was already rinsing his mouth out and had spit several times. He stopped and turned to his brother. In a low voice, he said, “I need tongue replacement surgery.”

“I made it with the fresh rosemary, too.” Jim seemed to look through the pot on the stove, shaking his head. “I don’t know what went wrong.” His voice dissolved in quiet disappointment.

From outside, there was the sound of a loud thud. Then, there was yelling.

“Dammit,” said Todd. “I told him not to climb that thing in his slippers. We should bring him in and get him cleaned up.” Todd set his glass down on the counter next to his brother. “And don’t tell him it’s squirrel.”

“Right.”

Continued in part 2.


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