Barry had always flown the six continuous shuttle taxis between Albany and Springfield. The airborne noise had finally eked his compliance. His days of fighting someone else’s ever-so-veiled pointed banter, alas, have found closure. At age 51, Barry was tipping his pilot’s cap one last time. His anxieties as an underplayed carrier, after-midnight errand boy, and a mute, blind, and deaf witness were humming their swan song.
His restless days worrying about the endless many projects requiring signatures and initials on court bound papers were dwindling: Barry’s replacement, his roommate Nippy, was to begin at 8am Monday and by week’s end, he’d be in Antigua nursing premium Mai-Tais and gorging on Rock Point oysters and Bay lump crab meet. He’d be alone but, at age 51.
Nonetheless the week passed in a healing, rejuvenating atmosphere. Except for the curiosity that was quickly building over Miss Smoot-Steins assurance that she’d redeem the roundtrip weekend ticket he had left for her. Between “romps”, they were to fantasize about the many parts to their redemptive stance. Again postponed yearnings had been stirring in both Barry and Deana’s loins. A pungent and greasy unfulfillment cloaked Barry’s ode and attempts be cheerful. His “Finger Lake” resilience had melted.
Curious and “stood up”, and numbed Barry unlocked the door to the emptiness of Albany, his dusty pre-War flat, and his yet unnamed puss who was nearly five. He fed the puss and turned on the television to catch his favorite shows. He walked into the the kitchen, recalling all the goodies he’d had roasted before his departure. Deana wanted to box the hot oil sesame noodles and take them home.
She left shortly thereafter, forgetting some of the tightly boxed “to-go” goodies. Barry searched the icebox hoping to stumble upon a marinading head roast he had been hungry for all week long. There on the top shelf squeezed between the spring mustards and 2% milk was a platter with a human head resting upon its optical center. What a perfect Sunday treat for Barry and Nippy to share if not devour!
Barry had realized that the head was uncovered and unprotected, naked on a chipped yet colorful Meisen platter, which Barry unearthed only on holidays. Anger and fury seized and redirected the words he was spewing: “Damnation. Let’s just go to Dairy Queen, Crackle Barrel, or even Denny’s. I’ll leave the tray outside. Perhaps the cats, dogs, coyotes, and raccoons will find satisfaction in the unexpected feast.
Nippy and Barry arrived home just after 10pm, unable to sip tea, inhale some amyl nitrate, or even slowly savor ons genteel and dainty peppermint truffle.
The outdoor brood, however, was still on the front lawn … nibbleless and still well-groomed from Barry’s attention that morning, Barry was facing another sad cranial roast, perhaps his last.
Nippy reached into the 50lb bag of Royal Canine food … healthy, easy to digest, and a rare opportunity to feel appointed, anointed, and sprung from the “jointed!” He dished a huge, if not “Pelican State” helping into their bow.
Barry quietly stormed inside — SLAMMING and bolting the door. (I readied for bed where I’d pray to the muse of syntax and spelling and nibble some Lorna Doones.)