Quiche Date

Prompt: Toxic

bisquick simple

“You just beat the eggs,” said Deb. She watched for a moment. “No, not like that.”

Leep had a big orange plastic bowl and a manual egg beater, which was bouncing off the edges of the bowl like stray bullets in a steel-walled room.

Beth (whom Leep called Lizzie, in his head) was sitting at the kitchen table reading the local newspaper which was spread out before her, and she looked up. “Show him, Deb. You weren’t so brilliant either, your first time. Leep, move the bowl away from the edge of the counter, would you?”

Leep was wearing a black t-shirt and jeans, both now covered in egg splashes and smears of Bisquick. He probably should have taken the offer of one of Beth’s aprons, but he thought Deb was making fun of him when the caption was “Don’t Kiss the Chef, or I’ll See You in Court”.

He wasn’t interested in Deb, the widow of one of Leep’s co-workers at the mill, even though she was pretty and had nice legs. She was not interested in him either; in fact she treated Leep with the same kind of contempt and disdain that her murdered husband used to.

Ok, Leep would be the first to admit he lacked some essential social skills. But he’d actually been on a proper date and wanted another one, this time with a cashier called Lucy, according to her name tag. She had made a small joke when he sent the eggs and Bisquick and ham and cheese and a bottle of white wine along the conveyor belt so she could run it through the scanner.

“This looks like a quiche date,” Lucy said with a smile. Leep had never heard of a quiche date— was it a thing? He had used the Bisquick quiche recipe as a way to spend more time with Lizzie, and they completely believed him when he insisted a recipe wasn’t enough. They’d conceded that he’d need a personal demonstration.

Anyway Leep, not much further ahead on social skills despite his recent date, had blushed miserably under Lucy’s eye and attempted a laugh that indicated he knew what she was joking about, which he did not.

She had a dark complexion, possibly Persian? Leep thought she could be Persian. Her eyes were really a bit too big for her face and made her look doll-like. She was rather slim but extremely shapely. Leep had only seen her name tag by accident.

But she didn’t sneer when he blushed and made an incomprehensible sound, like a snorting baby rhino, while attempting to laugh knowingly. She just smiled warmly and reminded him which bag had the eggs in it, which he thought was a nice gesture.

Basically, she wasn’t repulsed by him, like Deb was, or completely and utterly out of his league, like Lizzie. Would she be interested in a quiche date? He would have to find out, somehow.

“Do you have an egg beater at home?” asked Deb.

“Nope,” Leep told her.

“Then you have to beat the eggs with a fork.”

“Or he could borrow ours,” said Beth.

“Or he could buy one of his own,” said Deb.

“Just beat until the eggs are frothy and bubbly,” Beth instructed, half standing up from the chair to see into the bowl.

Leep then added all the other ingredients he’d measured or chopped under instruction into the beaten eggs, and poured the whole thing into a greased ceramic pie plate. Much of the egg mixture missed the plate and spread like an oil spill on the counter. Leep was also not very coordinated, especially when Lizzie was watching him.

“About 30 or 40 minutes in the oven,” said Deb unhelpfully. Which was it?

“Test it with a toothpick,” said Beth. Whatever that meant.

It didn’t really matter. He had at least another half hour in Lizzie’s company, which could sustain him for the rest of the week, and might even give him the courage to speak coherent words to Lucy, sometime.

Hootie and Ham

Prompt: Healthy

Gun Rock-Island-1911-gi-standard-carry450x300

The day was clear and warm, so Leep was walking home from the mill, with the idea of stopping in the 7-11 for some eggs, a can of salmon, and a package of Bisquik. He had a lot on his mind: Hootie, Deborah Demarco, quiche, The Rabbit Hole, and, of course Tony.

But to his great relief, there was Tony Gizmodo, in his usual baggy grey slacks and grimy jacket, back sitting on the curb outside the liquor store next to the 7-11, looking as sullen and unhealthy as ever. Leep stopped, and scrabbled in his coat pocket for some change, and dropped it into the coffee cup beside Tony.

“That’s my coffee cup, you asshole,” said Tony, whose stay in jail had not improved his disposition.

“Sorry,” said Leep, and watched Tony take the two dollars out of the cup and put it in his pocket. “So you are out of jail.”

Tony rolled his eyes. Leep never noticed before that the stubble growing on Tony’s face was grey, so maybe he was older than he thought. Or maybe jail had aged him. Leep knew he could never do jail. He would come out of it grey, too.

“I mean, you didn’t kill that guy, right?” Leep persisted.

“Nah, I guess not,” said Tony. “They were pretty convinced I did.”

“So how’d you get out?” Leep asked.

Tony shrugged. “Some other guy got shot. I was in my deluxe cell, negotiating with Bob for a bit of vodka or cough syrup, anything, at the time of the shooting. They brilliantly deduced I couldn’t be in two places at once.”

“So it was like, the same gun or something?”

“You should be a cop,” said Tony.

Leep remembered that at one time he had wanted to be a cop. He also wanted to be a trapeze artist. He heard there was a trapeze school in New York City. Perhaps he should use his savings for some lessons in New York City, as a kind of fantasy vacation. But no, he was too tall, skinny, and awkward. Leep in tights? They would laugh at him. But kids have dreams; Leep still had dreams, lots of them.

Like having a wedding. He would need a girlfriend first, of course, but he remembered the wedding he went to shortly before Vincent Demarco was killed. Ham invited practically everyone from the mill, including Mr Duggin, the manager. Leep sat at his assigned table at the reception, nursed a bottle of Budweiser beer, ate his sliced chicken, listened to the DJ, and watched all the people dance. Ham and his wife Dolly looked like they stepped off the top of wedding cake, as they say, and they spun round and round on the floor. In fact, Leep was suddenly struck by motion all around him– people moving and dancing, laughing, talking, gesturing, moving, moving; a vortex, while he was in the middle, perfectly still in his chair with his hand on the Budweiser. He couldn’t be part of it; it would be as impossible as jumping onto a fast-moving train.

But how he longed to be.

Then Ham’s brother, “Hootie”, disrupted everything, by having too many cocktails and co-opting the DJ’s mic, and rambling on incoherently about the bride, some of the words rather rude, until Ham grabbed the mic and walked Hootie to the toilets, where Hootie was either struck in the face, or vomited. Leep didn’t know. He went home.

But a week ago, when he was out late, he spotted Hootie again. A bit unsteady on his feet, but walking with purpose towards Railtown, where he probably had one of those new converted lofts. He was wearing shorts and a suit jacket, which Leep thought was odd.

Leep still wore the black ski jacket when he was out on the job, but now tied a dark blue scarf around his face so he would not be recognized again. He carried a lightweight backpack.

He intercepted Hootie underneath the broken street lamp, a favourite mugging location. “Give me your money,” Leep said, the usual script. “I have a gun.”

Hootie’s face went yellow, and he fumbled in his pockets in a panic, looking for his wallet. “Ok, ok, ok,” he said, over and over.

Leep took the wallet and said, “I killed Vincent Demarco. Unless you wanna die too, run!” as menacingly as he could. Hootie backed away in terror, then turned to run.

At that moment, Leep drew his gun, took careful aim so as to avoid a major artery, and shot Hootie in the ass. Hootie screamed, and Leep backed into the shadows, removing the scarf and the ski jacket and shoving them into the backpack, before reaching the end of the alley, and disappearing. He could hear Hootie shouting, even when he was blocks away.

Deborah Demarco

Prompt: Abandoned


In her grief over the murder of her husband Vincent, Deborah Demarco made crustless quiches for two weeks, one each day. They were the only thing she could cook, the only thing she had ever learned to cook, thanks to two wet and cold weeks in a cabin in the woods when she was a child, which should have been an adventuresome summer holiday swimming, canoeing, and exploring. In the gloom of shelter from a storm, in a musty cabin that smelled of charcoal, her mother taught her the only recipe she remembered without notes: salmon quiche.

It was crustless because you didn’t pour the egg mixture into a pastry crust, but added some Bisquik to the mix instead. The Bisquik didn’t exactly settle and make a crust, but seemed to help keep the whole thing cohesive.

She was staying with her mother for awhile after Vincent was shot, and her mother indulged her and they ate salmon quiche every second day. The other quiches went to her brother, Victor, and she took two to the mill.

That was the other way she coped, or tried to. On Fridays, Deborah took a quiche to the employees club at the mill, where the boys drank their beer at the end of the work week. She arrived, in jeans and one of Vincent’s sweaters, the grey one. She put on mascara, and some eyeliner, just like she did when she went to pick up Vincent, back when he was alive.

The boys stared at her as if she was a ghost, and the other girls there to pick up their men  from the mill instinctively surrounded her in a kind of protective circle, cooing like mourning doves. Billy and Wayne, who were pals of Vincent and who had come to her little house and eaten hamburgers fresh off the grill, slathered in Vincent’s special sauce of ketchup, mayonnaise and Worcestershire sauce, always hugged her in a carefully fraternal way. She didn’t really know the others, not Jason or that odd one, Leep, who told her the salmon quiche was the best and could he have the recipe? She realized she didn’t really know any of them, yet she couldn’t stay away.

Maybe because Vince had loved it when she went to the mill on Fridays. He loved the mascara and the eyeliner and the way the other guys looked at her, he said, and when they got home they made love the way she liked it, in the bed, a little rough, a little kinky.

There was a terrible pain, like knives trying to escape from her gut, every time she left the mill alone, and went home to her mother’s house alone. The pain was a relief from the numbness. Her mother was suspicious of her silence and kept telling her to let it all out. So on Fridays, she went to the mill and then to her mother’s house and let some of it out.

Deborah could only think and wonder, in a kind of curious despair, about the fact that only two weeks ago, she returned from the mill with her husband Vince, and he tied her to the bed. Now she returned from the mill alone, and pretended to cry in the arms of her mother.