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One Sick Momma

by Michelle Lindsey


 

Michelle is currently working on her MFA in Creative Writing. She is a high school English teacher, a mom to two English Bulldogs, and a police officer's wife. One day, she will be a novelist and get to work at home...in leggings.


 

 “How do I write a scary story? “ James asks his mother one night while she prepares dinner. Nora turns to her eight year old son and replies, ““Well, you have use your imagination.”

 

She moves to the fridge, taking the asparagus out to prepare, carefully formulating a response to his question.
 

Her son sighs forcefully enough for his bangs to flutter with the force of his breath. Clearly exasperated by the homework assignment.

 “It's easy”, she encourages. “Anything can be turned into a scary story.”

James rolls his eyes and looks back at his white page. That white space overwhelming him.

 “For example,” she continues.

 “Imagine we are giants. Like, you're a giant, I'm a giant, we are giants, right now. You're  working on your homework made for giants and I am preparing us dinner for giants…”

“Moooooom,” he whines. James begins to shift in his stool, as if to flee from this moment.

 “Hear me out,” she smiles. The smile isn't encouraging. The smile is more shadowed and menacing.

 “ I am a health-conscious giant and I want my family to eat healthy foods. So, when I grocery shop, I only select the healthiest humans to feed to my family.”

Now she has his attention. He swivels back in the chair, it's position facing her once again.

“It's a process, this dietary selectiveness. Because, we all know, what the humans choose to eat, essentially can affect our health as well.”

He stares at her without blinking.

She continues.
 

“Take this meal as an example. I went to the vegan section of the supermarket for giants. I carefully examine the specimen, selecting the healthiest looking bunch.”
 

She holds up the stalks of asparagus crammed together with a rubber band. |
 

“See? Some humans are slim, some are wide, some are short, and some are rotten, we throw those away. We prefer the longer, leaner humans, they crisp up better when we cook them.”
 

She cuts the rubber band binding the corpses together. The asparagus plummet onto the cutting board with dull, hollow thuds. Asparagus particles scatter on the counter and she swipes them into the trash.

 “Limbs fall off sometimes if the rubber bands are too tight when binding the clump of bodies together,” she gives him another wicked smile.

Her son pales slightly, “ Mom, this is weird”.
 

“Yeah, I'm not done yet,” she replies. She begins washing the stalks.

 “We wash our humans because we don't know where they've been before their corpses were selected to bring into our house.” She lets one stalk slip from her hands and it falls right into the garbage disposal. She looks over at her son, watching him watch her, as she turns on the switch. The motor roars to life and the resistance of the stalk against blade makes her son squirm in his seat. Her husband's laughter from the other room echoes throughout the kitchen, he has been listening to her tale as well.

“Now, I'm a picky giant. These white ends - the feet, I don't like them.” She holds up the stalks in front of her son. She holds the white end of the stalk with her index finger and thumb and the middle of the stalk with her other index finger and thumb. She bends the stalk, taunting her son with the image of the human body in her grasp, flexing at her will. She continues.
 

“Some giants cut off the feet with knives. But, some feet just squish under the pressure of a dull blade. I prefer to use my hands to snap off the undesirable limbs.”
 

She slowly begins applying pressure to the stalks of asparagus until a very audible “snap!” sounds throughout the silent kitchen. Her son's mouth falls open.
 

She continues to snap the limbs off the remaining stalks. She throws them on the skillet.
 

“I prefer to cook our humans in a skillet. I like their hides to be browned and crispy. You like yours extra crispy, right?” she asks, her eyes twinkling in the direction of her speechless child.
 

After several moments, the mother places the crispy, sautéed bodies on a plate and gives it to her son.
 

“Dinner is served,” she purrs as she gives him the plate. She stares at him, chuckling to herself at the expression on his face.
 

After a few moments spent staring at the sauteed vegetable, James grabs one stalk with his fingers and squishes the stalk between them. He grinds the stalk into a crispy dust that spreads all over his plate. His eyes never turning away, never blinking, never really registering. He drops the stalk and turns to his paper. A sinister sneer spreads across her son’s face while be furiously begins writing dark, deep words across his paper. It was at this moment that his mom wondered what kind of person she may have just created.


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