Story prompt: The story’s protagonist is male and an inventor. A towel plays a significant part in the story. The story is set in a kitchen in the present. The story is about honesty.
Jeff fanned the steam away from the boiling pot with a blue kitchen towel and then realized he could have turned on the fan. So he did. As the vapor was drawn away, he looked into the pot to see how his dinner was faring. Then realizing his glasses were fogged up, he activated the mini-wipers. Two quick swipes and they were clear again, so he peered into the pot.
Chicken chow mein, frozen in a plastic bag that was prepared by placing the plastic bag in boiling water (AKA boil-in-bag) was his favorite quick meal since he was a child. In his mind, boil-in-bag dinners were the greatest invention even although they were much harder to find these days. He bought them by the case from the Piggly Wiggly® website. He had a very large storage freezer that was way too much for one person – unless that person liked to store five cases of frozen chicken chow mein boil-in-bag dinners. He also had a case of beef stew and one of sweet and sour pork for variety’s sake. Jeff didn’t like to waste a lot of time thinking about what he was going to eat.
Jeff liked to boil his dinners because he didn’t trust the microwave. He had fried several when he forgot and put an aluminum TV dinner tray or a fork in and turned it on. The sparks were amazing, if a little scary. Microwave ovens were not designed to operate under those conditions and most would quit in protest. Since he could not seem to remember not to put metal utensils in them, he gave up after the fifth one turned in its resignation.
Just as the little egg-shaped timer dinged to let him know his dinner was done, the doorbell rang. Startled, Jeff paused to turn off the burner and the fan. Then he put the blue towel back on his shoulder and headed for the front door. He paused to look through the peephole and seeing a pretty young woman, unlocked and opened the door.
“Yes?” he asked her, hoping she would get to the point so he could go back and eat his dinner.
“Hi? My name’s Amber and I live across the hall?” she replied. She had a habit of raising her voice at the end of her sentences so they sounded like questions.
“What do you want?” Jeff responded.
“Well, I was really hoping I could have a chance to talk to you?” again raising her voice and inching her way into his living room.
“And my dinner is getting cold, so please explain what you want quickly,” as he fell back startled at her bold move.
“We-e-l-l-l, I am new in town and I was hoping I could find somebody to show me around?” as she moved now quickly from the living room to the kitchen.
“As I explained, I am busy. Please state your business or come back at another time.”
“You mean you won’t take me out to dinner?” she pouted standing in his kitchen.
“Why would I want to do that?”
“Guys always take me out to dinner? You could take me out to dinner?” she purred as she started to pull the blue towel slowly off his shoulder with her fingers.
“No, I could not. I have dinner plans.” He grabbed the towel away from her and stepped back.
She sauntered over to the stove, peered into the slightly steaming pot and grabbed a corner of the plastic bag, pulled it up, dangling it over the pot. “This” she pointed at the bag, “is not ‘dinner’ and it is definitely not ‘plans’.”
Swiftly he grabbed the bag out of her right hand with his left and dropped it back in the pot which he grabbed with his right and spun away from her. He set the pot down again and adjusting his glasses on his nose, he looked down at her. “This is MY dinner plans. Your dinner plans are an entirely different matter and you should leave me alone and go take care of them.”
Undeterred, she started to inch closer to him again, giving her best pretty girl pout. “But I’m hungry and I don’t know anyone?”
“Th-th-that is not m-m-my pro-pro-problem.” He was startled by his disobedient tongue and then realized she was rubbing herself against him. Knowing that he would not be able to speak clearly until he was again at a safe distance, he shrugged himself away, stepped around the table, quickly placed a kitchen chair directly in front of himself and kept his hands on its back.
Amber climbed up on the chair one knee at a time and started to reach for the towel again, running her fingers up his arm to play with it. She smiled.
He snatched the towel out of her fingers and stepped away from the chair. “Young lady, I am not taking you to dinner. If you are truly as hungry as you say, I am willing to prepare another meal like mine for you to eat. Otherwise, you should go bother someone else.”
Sensing she would not get any further tonight. She pouted and then stepped off and pulled the chair up so she was seated at the table. “Okay? I would like dinner, please?”
Breathing a sigh of relief, Jeff threw the towel back over his left shoulder and went to the freezer. “Chicken chow mein, beef stew or sweet and sour pork?”
With thanks for the story prompt to The Speculative Fiction Muse http://www.katfeete.net/writing/specfic.php
And to my writing partners, Mary C Sutton and D Anthony Brown danthonybrown.me for the support and the laughs.
What do you think? Did I honor the spirit or the letter of the writing prompt? Enter your thoughts in comments below.