856. The way it can be

856recipe

Quite frankly Trevor was tired of cooking for one. Since his wife had passed on, about six months earlier, he had cooked for himself. It was always rather ordinary; maybe chops or sausages, with boiled or mashed potato, and a salad.

Today it was raining. He thought it was time to make an effort. Using one of his late wife’s recipe books, he selected something delectable, and made a list of ingredients. Some of the things were already in the house, such as beef stock, and onions. But he didn’t have any caraway seeds, for example.

Off he drove to the supermarket. He needed some bacon rashes. There were so many to choose from; there was middle bacon, and shoulder bacon, and streaky bacon, and bacon pieces. The middle bacon seemed to be the cheapest, and came in packets with fewer slices. He didn’t needed twenty slices of bacon. What would he do with them? So he settled on the middle bacon packet of six.

Then he needed one small turnip, but he couldn’t find turnips anywhere. He asked one of the shop workers if there were any turnips, and they said they would check out the back. They returned and said they were out of turnips, but one small rutabaga would do the trick. So he put a small swede in his trolley (because in his country swedes are what rutabagas are called!)

Trevor had quite a bother finding the caraway seeds, but eventually he realized that the spices were alphabetical, but according to brand. And the brand he was looking at didn’t have caraway seeds, but he found them under a different brand name on a different shelf.

He needed some pork sausages, which were simple enough to find, but the shop had got all creative and had packets of pork sausages with all sorts of flavours and spices and herbs. Trevor wanted simple pork sausages. He found them hidden down the bottom of the creative pork sausage stack.

All was complete for his recipe, but he got some apples as well. Trevor went through the checkout without having to wait in line for too long. Thank heavens for small mercies, he thought. Now to remember where he’d park his car!

In the car park he was hit by a car and killed.

46 thoughts on “856. The way it can be

  1. Cynthia Jobin

    This story involves the moving pathos of a solitude who determines, despite his loss, to creatively step into a more vibrant habit, and of his pilgrimage to acquire the means. It is described in piquant and poignant detail, appealing to all the senses as he carefully selects among victuals and spices. What could go wrong? The closing, however is especially inspired, since it occurs sans the usual tedious lengthy denouement of circumstances, in a wonderfully contrived plot device known to literary highbrows as a deus ex machina. Bravo Bruce!

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    1. Bruce Goodman Post author

      Thank you, Cynthia. The deus ex machina was a technique (naturally) that I borrow from Handel operas. I did think of Pauline when I wrote this, and thought “oh too too cruel” – but the title of the story was intended to appease any feelings of desolation – as “these things happen”…

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          1. Cynthia Jobin

            This link is wonderful, Bruce. I do not know anything about Barbara Strozzi, but this kind of music is “up my street,” as the Brits say, and I will continue to learn more about Barbara and her works. Though I have never been what’s popularly known as a feminist, I am tickled to discover women like this….like Louise Labé from the 15th century, whose sonnets I have been translating….Thanks for tuning me into this!

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          1. Cynthia Jobin

            Isn’t he wonderful?! Bruce implies he is a castrato….who knows? I don’t want to know, actually, none of my bidness…just a god-given beautiful voice! And that aria…just about a tree….is a favorite of mine.

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            1. thecontentedcrafter

              I was curious so googled him 🙂 I’m assuming he’s not – which just makes the voice even more amazing to listen to. But you are right, none of our bidness! The thing I love about opera is that entirely heart and breath-stopping arias can be built around one simple thought or sight or thing. I was devastated when I finally learned enough Italian to understand the lyrics 🙂

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              1. Bruce Goodman Post author

                I taught music with an “old” man called Ralph Lilly, who was regarded probably as the best treble voice trainer in the country. He would have the tenors and basses sing treble at the drop of a hat. And when a couple of the treble singers were away their place would be filled by 18 year old “basses”. “Your voice doesn’t break,” he used to say, “You get a second voice.” I suspect that’s very much the case in this instance.

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                  1. Cynthia Jobin

                    We have gone from deus ex machina, to Handel, to Ombra Mai Fu to Andreas Scholl, to castrati, to opera, to Bruce’s former colleague Ralph Lilly, to trebles and basses whose voices don’t break…..a totally lovely side trip! 🙂

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  2. thecontentedcrafter

    That’s what I said when I read the last sentence………….. with a groan of course. Just when I was sure he was going to succeed in becoming all culinary and opening a new interest in his life you send him off to join his wife………….. Which is not all that bad a thing really, but still not at all what I was expecting. In short: Didn’t see that coming at all!!

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    1. Bruce Goodman Post author

      As I just said to Cynthia – I did “feel for you” when I wrote this; knowing your not overly attraction towards an unhappy ending. However, I think it’s something I learned via Virginia Woolf. In “To the Lighthouse” I got my biggest shock ever when the heroine died all by-the-by in brackets in the middle of sentence! And in “Orlando” (not named after a particular cat!) on the first day of the 20th century it rained and he stuck his head in the gas oven. I’ve never recovered from either literary death!

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      1. thecontentedcrafter

        The trouble with Virginia Woolf was she was overly methodical in documenting life as it really occurs. And there is nothing wrong with this story, as you can see you succeeded in dealing me a great literary shock! As our greatly beloved American author would say ‘Bravo!’

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  3. arlingwoman

    Bruce, you are the reincarnation of Thomas Hobbes who wrote in his Leviathan about the common man: No arts; no letters; no society; and which is worst of all, continual fear, and danger of violent death: and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short. Grk.

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  4. umashankar

    There are ways to lose your life to grief. The car was only a means to an end. The scene in the store is symbolic of both callousness of the culture and vanity of the living. As I have said before, I always love it when you write longer.

    Liked by 2 people

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