“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.
Hudson looked over his shoulder once more, searching the horizon with sad eyes filled with longing; she was late for their lunch date. He checked his watch–too late. She had two minutes to show, or they wouldn’t have time for more than a quick smooch before he had to get back to work. Might as well prepare for the worst, he thought, and began to gather the picnic lunch that had been warming on a moss covered stone nearby.
Two minutes was up, and she was still nowhere in sight. Hudson sighed, and began folding the blanket they’d lunched on more times than he remembered. The breeze plastered an abandoned candy wrapper against the side of his loafer, and he bent to pick it up.
When he straightened, she was there, standing in front of him, wild of eye and mussed of hair.
“Shirley, are you okay? What happened?”He reached out to steady her, but she flinched away.
“It was them, it was them. They’re coming back for me. Too soon, so soon,” she was mumbling, not making any sense.
Hudson reached for her again, and this time he slipped an arm around her, past her wildly streaming hair. He pulled her against him, gently but firmly, smoothing her hair with his other hand and whispering soft soothing sounds into her ear.
He looked down to see that she was only wearing one shoe, the other left who-knows-where. “Shirley, let me see your foot. It’s bleeding.”
She didn’t hear him, didn’t understand the words he was saying. She still stared off into the distance. He slung her over a shoulder and stopped the flow of blood with the blanket. A cursory glance at the picnic basket was enough or him to let it go, and he carried her toward the street, fully intending to hail the next cab he saw, and the hell with work.
Shirley calmed even more when he picked her up, her murmurs becoming whispers of their former selves, until a stranger caught her eye. She panicked, struggling her way right out of Hudson’s arms and onto the grass.
He stopped in his tracks, unsure of how to handle this. People were starting to stare. The last thing he needed was some do-gooder calling 911 and claiming that he was trying to kidnap his own girlfriend. She’d jerked her foot out of his grasp, so now he was left holding a bloody blanket while a girl scrambled away from him.
Bit of a challenge to explain that to a police officer.
He flashed his pearly whites to the gathering crowd and made up something about needing her medication, all the while kicking himself for it. He scooped Shirley back up and she settled once more into his chest.
She was speaking more clearly, but still, he struggled to make out the words.
“This isn’t just a story, Hudson, not a story, not a story. It’s all real.”
TBP OLWG #6
18 minutes writing and editing.
I’m not emotionally attached to this bit at all. In fact, I don’t think I would have minded too terribly much if I accidentally deleted the whole thing. But I can’t bring myself to do it on purpose.
I pick 29.