[Writer’s note: What began as a writing prompt — photo and first paragraph — has become at least the start of a story. I will endeavor to add short sections to it, at lest as long as there is some interest. It might be a little rough in parts, but that’s because it is coming “hot off the press,” which could be part of the fun of it. In the meantime, you are free to jump off from any part of this story thus far and write your own version. Click Holly’s Corner below to get Parts 1 – 5.]
by David E. Booker
Tricia slumped back in her booth seat. There was a slight frown on her face, which only served to make her look even more attractive. She was almost too pretty: blond hair, thin, big teeth, large blue eyes. The wrinkles made her look more human, more accessible, at least to a shlub like me.
“You’re right,” she said. She reached forward and fiddled with her paper napkin.
“Tell you what. I’ll eat the other half as is. As it was made by the chef.”She smiled, but there was no radiance in it. Something told me when she really smiled, lights dimmed in comparison. “Now you’re patronizing me.”
“I’m offering a compromise, which is what happens most often in life. Maybe not in politics.”
Her face wrinkled again. “You don’t know my family. They don’t compromise.”
She sighed and then shrugged. “Sometimes.”
Some things transcend genetics and even behavioral environment. They exist somewhere in between. Some habits fall from the family zeitgeist. Nature versus nurture was an old but simplistic dynamic.
“So, what do you want me for?” I asked.
“I want you to find a recipe.”
I stopped chewing on my sandwich. “The Colonel’s secret sauce?”
“That’s eleven herbs and spices. You’re mocking me.”
I guess I was. I had had a woman shake her rolling pin at me, driving me into the mud, and now I found out the woman was drunk and it was all over a recipe.
“You don’t understand….”
I hate that phrase, but let it go. Obviously, I was missing something. Or she was. I decided to spice up the second half of my sandwich. She saw what I was doing and stopped talking.
“You are obviously not the person for this case.”
“Possibly not,” I said, then took a bite of my sandwich. I didn’t have much money left and if this case didn’t pan out, I was going to have to look for 9 – 5 work, which was something I loathed. But a recipe? Had I stopped so low as I need to chase down some family heirloom the world had not heard of nor was likely even to?
She pushed up from stall seat, turned, and stomped out the door.
(To be continued.)