Written by Brother Grimace
The sound of the vacuum cleaner echoed through the entire house.
"Jake! Dinner's ready!"
Jake Morgendorffer turned off the vacuum cleaner, and went to the top of the stairway in the Morgendorffer household. "I'll be down in a minute – I just need to finish vacuuming up here!"
"It's the second time you've vacuumed upstairs this week, Jake! Now come downstairs – your dinner's getting cold!"
Jake unplugged the vacuum cleaner, carefully rethreaded the cord around the spindles for the cord on the back, and picked it up to take downstairs. He walked past the door to Daria's room; he stopped, took four steps away from the door, and hesitated...
"Jake! Stop cleaning everything and come downstairs!"
For Jake - a baked chicken cutlet, broccoli florets, wheat rolls, and two slices of cranberry sauce.
He was splurging tonight.
Helen sliced her cutlet into nine thin slices, and dipped a slice in the French dressing on the small salad she had made for herself in place of the florets and cranberry sauce. She let the sliver of meat wander about within the green-and-orange of the salad for several long moments, tracing about with small, deliberate movements and not moving far from the spot where she first placed her fork.
Jake ate his cranberry sauce.
Helen drank the remainder of her water, and rose from the table.
"Would you like something else to drink, Jake?"
Helen brought the half-full plastic water jug to the table, and refilled her glass.
Jake looked up from his place.
"Maybe we should have had peas."
"Broccoli is better for you."
Jake looked up from his plate, and glanced at one of the two empty chairs at the table.
"Maybe we could have lasagna tomorrow."
Helen's eyes moved across the table, bare except for the two dinner plates, two water glasses, and the water jug.
Her eyes met those of her husband.
"We could have lasagna tomorrow."
The Morgendorffers looked back to their dinner, and continued to eat.