Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/view_item/item_id/432456-On-the-Grill
by Joy
Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Mystery · #432456
What's cooking on the grill has an accountant worried
         Crimson, violet, and blue embers flickered and shimmered with the droppings of grease from a red savage-looking steak on the grill. "A drop of whiskey," murmured Glen to himself. When he saw my puzzled stare, he laughed. "Don't suffer with hope, Adele," he said, "This isn't for me. Watch."

         He reached for the liquor bottle and poured it on the meat and the fire. Flames shot up, sparkling around the trees like a fourth of July sky, but the meat remained red, pulsated, and enlarged as it drank every bit of the liquid.

         "See, it wants more," Glen said.

         "With all those flames, one would think it would be charred."

         "Not this baby. It's got a big heart."

         "Are you cooking another one of those?" A shrill female voice interjected. I turned around to see a svelte figure with a white turban.

         "Adele meet Claire Burns," Glen said. "Adele will stay here at the Inn for a few days or as long as it takes. Our books need her gentle touch. Claire, why don't you introduce Adele to the others? Here she is making the meat sizzle with envy."

         "Come Adele," Claire said politely. "The rest are in the front yard. You know, because of that drinking flesh meat, people like to watch the barbecue from a distance."

         "Excuse me, Claire," I said, "I must be getting hard of hearing. Did you say flesh?"

         "Oh, dear!" She covered her mouth with both hands. "I meant fresh. Sometimes, words escape, and I can't get them back. Doesn't this happen to you?" Then, she added before I could answer her question, "You must have just met Glen. He seems to be quite taken by you."

         "Oh, no," I said. "You have it all wrong. My husband and I have an accounting firm, and Glen is our client. I'm here on business."

         "You're kidding! Is that so? Your husband sent you here alone? Glen has reputation, you know. Anyway, Glen always has the first barbecue-picnic of the summer on the last week of May. No one dares to light a fire or prepare any other food. Or else..."

         "Or else, what?"

         "Or else they risk being on the grill themselves. Glen is sensitive. If he is not the one overseeing the cooking, he'll take it personally." She smiled. "Glen is fun. With all the dead meat around here, we would get fattened up with grief, if it weren't for Glen."

         She waved at a group of people inside a gazebo under a huge tree. From the Gazebo, a blue-stone pathway curved to a redwood deck behind the mansion. On the deck stood a long table filled with all kinds of food.

         "Come, let's first pile a plate of goodies to eat. Then you can meet the others," Claire said, leading me by the hand to the table. Unbelievable... A skull on a plate, a black hangman on another, a bloody hand with blood dripping on the lettuce leaves, and all kinds of food that didn't look like food but things that could only belong on a scary horror show. I took a step back.

         "I don't think I'm hungry just yet," I mumbled. "Must be the jet-lag."

         "Oh, come on," she giggled, taking a piece from the skull. "Don't you ever chomp on cauliflower? This is a pirate's table, after all."

         She broke a piece off the skull, put it on a plate, and handed it over to me. I took it out of courtesy.

         "Has Claire been feeding you health food, young lady?" A baritone voice came from the back. "Wait for what's cooking on the grill. Finger lickin' good, and all raised locally. Marinated, educated, like you city girls are."

         "Adele, meet Tom," Claire said. "He's a fat-and-muscle man, not just flesh on bones."

         "Yeah, I like mine portly," Tom snickered. "Has to fill you up."

         Playing with the plate in my hand, I watched the other people make their way to the deck. If the costume department of Universal tried, it couldn't imitate the variety and the oddity of what these people wore. It was worse than a Trekkie convention. Moreover, nobody was chubby. Men looked lean. Women were thin. I don't mean just thin; I mean catwalk-model thin. After being introduced, I mentioned how slender they all looked.

         A blond man in a caftan giggled, "We wouldn't last very long if we fattened up. We'd all end up on Glen's grill."

         What? I had all I could take. Horrible food, weird people, hints of cannibalism... I didn't want to stay here any longer. I excused myself to go to the bathroom and dialed my husband on my cell phone.

         "Jimmie, I may be in danger here. Too many weird things are happening."

         "Really..." he said after listening to my account. "Didn't Glen tell you why he does what he does?"

         "You mean why he's cooking people on the grill? No, he didn't. The statements you gave me say he's running some sort of a clinic."

         "You're so silly. He must have thought I told you. Yes, a clinic but different than the others. Glen sees to it that the food is prepared a special way to get the gook out. Those people are his patients, some of them terminal. Humor is his way of getting them to relax and adjust to their future."

         "Why didn't you tell me when you gave me the files?"

         "I tried to but you left in such a hurry. Your skid marks are still on the floor," Jimmie sneered. "Besides, you always remind me that you grasp everything better than me or anybody else. And you said you already knew. Do you need an instant replay?"

         Well...Jimmy Boy...So be it.

         The following quote is from "A Woman's Facts About Men," which my friend Susie forwarded to me, after I had told her a thing or two about my Jimmy. Among other things, the quote says, "Men forget everything; women remember everything."

         I shall remember, and that Jimmie is going to get it from me real soon. I mean it.

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