Friday, August 12, 2011
FICTION: BACON AND EGGS WITH A SIDE ORDER OF GHOST by Wendy L Schmidt
It’s two o'clock in the morning and the spicy smell of sizzling bacon is wafting through the air. Suddenly, an order of scrambled eggs with a side of toast pops into my head. Only I’m not in a restaurant and no one in this household would dare to get up at the ungodly hour of two am to fry up a mess O’ pork. I’m a long time vegetarian which makes the matter even more confusing. The last time I jabbed a knife into any kind of meat was twenty years ago at an ex boyfriend’s wedding reception. I was forced to gnaw my way through a thick, fat streaked steak. It was a tasteless dinner to match the tasteless bridal gown. I still wake up from the occasional nightmare with a powerful need to floss phantom stingy slivers stuck between my teeth. That horrid experience may have been the catalyst for relinquishing the red. So how come my granola crunching, veggie munching mouth is watering with desire?
It’s not the first time this has happened since we moved into our charming 1940’s Cape Cod. I’ve crept down the staircase on several early morning jaunts fully expecting to catch my hubby in the act of preparing a meal fit for his queen. Despite the sad fact that in all the years we’ve been married, the closest I’ve ever come to breakfast in bed is bits of Cheerios left between the sheets. So obviously when I walked into the kitchen, there was no indication of any food preparation. Not one spatula, skillet or tasty morsel was in play. There was little evidence of any cagey cookery afoot.
Disappointed and more than a little disturbed I ask my sleepy carnivore just what he thought he was up to with such a nasty trick. Where had he hidden my morning mystery meal of fluffy eggs and crispy bacon?
“Come on big boy. What’s cooking, I'll serve you a little dessert after you serve me some breakfast, you sly dog," I said in my best bewitching tone of voice.
“Are you crazy? I've got to get up in 4 hours," he grumbled. "I'm not in the mood."
"Where have you got it stashed? I asked.
“You’re dreaming,” he replied.
“But the kitchen smell so ... so, incredible. Come on, where’s the loot."
I began pushing him back and forth trying to force a confession.
“Right, we’ll have a hot meal in that kitchen when hell freezes over,” he sniggered and rolled on his side with a final sarcastic snort.
This was not the time to have another argument about frozen dinners. Mr. Personality was innocent. So who or what was causing my olfactory hallucination?
Our vintage house is a true gem, complete with lovely red brick fireplace, hardwood floors, open staircase and just possibly it’s own ghostly chef. Perhaps it is the lost, lonely spirit of a housewife from years gone by who is still dutifully making a delectable breakfast for her family. She and I have nothing in common on that score, but I would imagine the scene in the kitchen whenever the wonderful scents filled my nostrils.
It could be a vibrant memory of childhood except my mother’s morning meals usually consisted of pasty lumps of Cream of Wheat and charred toast. A wonderful cook she wasn’t. What other explanation for such excess? Heavenly aromas floated out of the kitchen like a celestial cafe getting ready to open for sunrise service.
So here I am again. It’s the middle of the night and the clock is about to strike two. A blissful blast of free frying bacon urges my stomach to growl and demand satisfaction. What is a card carrying, organic buying vegetarian to do? As soon as the cave man wakes up I’m dragging him off to Denny's for the Lumberjack Slam. Sorry pink piggies everywhere but momma’s got a taste for some pork sausage, eggs over easy and black coffee, hold the ghost.