Food Fight-A Holiday Short Short Story, стр. 1
Christina F. York
Published by Tsunami RidgePublishing at Smashwords
Copyright 2010 Christina F.York
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Christina F. York
"Honey, how do you like thecandied yams? I made them special for you." Lori wiped her foreheadwith the back of her hand, pushing her bangs to one side. Thefatigue and stress were evident in the quaver in her voice. It wasimportant that everything be perfect.
It had been a long,nerve-wracking day, the first holiday meal she had cooked on herown. The table was set with their best dishes, everything was done,even the pumpkin pie cooling on the counter between the kitchen andthe dining nook.
Greg paused, a forkful ofmashed potatoes and gravy dripping onto the turkey on his plate."They're OK. Pretty good, actually, but not like my mom made them.She always put orange juice in the glaze, and ..."
"Not like my mom made?"Lori's voice rose an octave. "Not like my mom made?" She wasscreaming now. "Look at the mess in the kitchen. I've been workingfor hours to makeour first Christmas really special, and all you can say is 'notlike my mom made'? Well, then maybe we better not eat them." Shetook the cover off the casserole dish of yams, and dumped thecontents onto the tile floor. "Maybe you should just go getyourself a hamburger."
"For heaven's sake,sweetheart, there's no reason to come unglued! They weren't thesame as mom's, but they were alright. Look at the mess you made.You're being unreasonable. Now come on sit down and eat something.You'll feel better."
"Don't patronize me,Gregory Rose! I hate that gee-you're-cute-when-you're-madbullshit." She turned away, huffing toward the kitchen, and nearlytripping over Bones, the Scotty she'd had since highschool.
Greg hesitated, then pickedup a roll from the basket on the table. Ten years of Little Leaguepaid off, as he pegged Lori in the back of the head. The soft breadbounced off onto the floor. Bones grabbed it and retreated underthe table to enjoy his booty.
Lori whirled around, eyesblazing. "Funny man, you are gonna be sorry." She reached the tablein two long strides, and emptied the basket of rolls over Greg'shead. Then she topped them with the dish of cranberry-orangerelish.
"Why'd you do that? There'scranberries all over my shirt, and in my hair." He fished a handfulof sweet glop out of his shirt pocket and dropped it on top of theyams, which Bones was devouring. Greg scooped up a handful ofmashed potatoes, leaving cranberry streaks in the fluffy whitemounds, and dropped them down the front of Lori's shirt. "Here, howabout a little gravy with that?"
Before he could pour, Loriknocked the ladle from his hand, sending an arc of gravy spattersacross the wall. Greg picked up the potato bowl. "Oh, is that whereyou want 'em?" He flung the potatoes along the same arc as thegravy. Lori responded by pouring the remaining gravy on Greg'sshoes. Bones abandoned the potatoes and licked rapidly at the gravylake on the floor.
Greg grabbed the stuffingbowl, and shoved the serving spoon in his mouth. "This isreally good," he mumbledwith his mouth full. "But it's not at all like mother's, so out itgoes!" He jerked the bowl upwards, and watched the contents splatagainst the ceiling before joining the rest of the food on thefloor. Corn, peas, olives and sweet pickles were added in rapidsuccession. Neither Greg nor Lori spoke as they pelted each otherwith vegetables. Neither dared touch the turkey, but Lori had onemore bit of ammunition.
Stepping around thewaist-high divider into the splattered kitchen, she picked up thepumpkin pie that was cooling on the counter.
"No!" After the speechlessminutes, Greg's voice shocked her. She hesitated, arm half-cocked,ready to give him the old pie-in-the-face routine. Gary's mouthfought with a grin, losing as he finally blurted, "You forgot thewhipped cream!"
Lori stared as Gregstruggled to suppress his amusement. What was so damned funny, shewondered? Their first Christmas was ruined. She had worked so hard,tried so hard to make it memorable. Well, it would be memorable. Her arm relaxed,as she looked at Greg, hair sticky with cranberries, gravy on hisfeet, a sweet pickle caught in the neck of his shirt. What a mess!Her lips started to twitch, then broke into a broad smile as sheunleashed the pie, and a whoop of laughter at the same time. Gregducked, the pie crashed into the wall behind him, then dropped ontoBones who was too busy eating to notice until it was toolate.
Greg laughed then, too. Thelittle Scotty peered up from under his coat of soft brown custard,evidently waiting for the next load of manna from heaven. Lookingat his eager face, Lori laughed harder. Greg picked his way throughthe debris, to take his gasping wife in his arms. They leaned oneach other and whooped and chortled 'til tears ran down theircheeks and they had to hold each other up.
"Look at this. Willyou ever be ableto forget our first Christmas?" Lori gasped.
"Never. Uh, I don't thinkwe're going to have this for dinner." Greg waved an arm around theroom. "How about we clean up some," he fished mashed potatoes fromthe front of her shirt, "and go get something to eat? I'm kindahungry after all that exercise."
Lori nodded. Workingtogether, they cleared the table, wiped the walls, and finallyinterrupted Bones' feast so they could clean the floor.
The hamburgers weren't likemom used to make, but they were the best Greg had evertasted.
Afterword from theauthor:
Our local writers' workshophas a Christmas tradition: the last meeting before the holidaybreak, we each read aloud a story of 1000 words or less. Each yearwe pick a different theme, and the stories must somehow relate tothat theme.
In this particular year,the theme was "Holiday Food."