She sat in the straight-backed chair, curled around her busywork like a cat rabbit-kicking a toy. A steady skrit-skrit-skrit came from beneath her fingernails as they picked at the dried acrylic paint in the dozen paintwells of her palette. Every now and then she pulled her hand away with a ragged string of paint, a gleam of success in her eyes and a slight smile on her naked face. She knew the palette would come clean with little effort if she were to wash it with clean water while the paint was still wet, but that didn’t offer the same sense of fulfillment that picking did.
“These fries just make me mad,” she said through a mouthful of visually-seasoned potato. “They’re supposed to be Cajun fries. Look at this. They’re the right color. Look at this angry red one! That fry should be spicy as shit. That thing should burn my mouth.”
She picked it up and ate it.
“But no! Not even close to burn. It’s like they painted some bay leaves red and then ground them up and called it Cajun.” She frowned down at the fries that were slowing spreading their grease throughout the brown paper bag on which they lay.
She expressed her frustrations to her husband. He agreed that the fries were not impressive.
He disagreed, however, with her summation of the seasoning. “It’s not bay leaves, though,” he mused.
“Yeah, you’re right,” she admitted.
“It’s something else too, I just can’t put my finger on it,” he continued.
“I don’t know. That gross stick seasoning. I don’t remember what it’s called. But it’s not spicy either.” She shrugged, willing to concede. “Maybe when I try them again in a few years they’ll be better. Or maybe I’ll have forgotten how made those fries make me.”
“Just make me mad,” she muttered under her breath, crumpling the bag around the remainder of the fries. She stood and threw the whole wad into the trash can.
They weren’t even salty enough. But they did give her horrendous gas later that day.