DINNERTIME by Rick McQuiston

I’d never noticed it before, the way my wife’s left eye twitches ever so slightly when she smiles. Don’t ask me how I never noticed it until now. I like it though, it gives her character. Makes her human…well, almost.

“Do you want some more hon?” she asks sweetly.

I couldn’t help but smile. After fifteen years of marriage she still holds the key to my heart … And then there’s the kids. They are the glue that holds us together. We’re the bread, they’re the peanut butter and jelly. We’re the gloves, they’re the hands. We’re the…well, you get the picture.

I reply politely, “Yes dear, just a little more.”

I know I need to watch my weight but its not often that we have such a delicious meal.

I love meat. My whole family does. Barbecue, broiled, smoked, whatever. It is all good.

My wife smiles again, twitching eye and all.  She shovels another large portion of juicy red meat onto my plate. My two young sons both look up at me. Their faces reflect their love, which is matched only by their innocence.

Life seemed incomplete before they came along. I felt like I was on a boat sailing endlessly through open waters with my wife along for company.

Kevin, my youngest, flicks tiny pieces of meat between his knife and fork. I sternly tell him that’s its dinnertime, not playtime. Sometimes you have to be firm, although I must admit that my wife is far better at tough love than myself.

Dinnertime has always been somewhat sacred to me. Sitting down with loved ones to enjoy a good meal is one of life’s greatest unsung pleasures in my opinion.

Stevie, my oldest, chuckles loudly.

“What a dummy,” he says as he looks at his brother.

“Stevie!” my wife snaps just as I nearly choke on a piece of meat too large to swallow.

“That’ll be enough! Now finish eating.”

Stevie was always on watch for his little brother to make a mistake or say something foolish. I guess siblings can be like that sometimes. But Lynn and I know they really love each other.

After three servings I concede that I’m full. I push myself away from the table and saunter lazily towards the couch in the living room. Lynn soon joins me. She looks over toward the window to the left of the front door. A perfect circle the size of a grapefruit decorates the glass pane. Directly above it, the lock mechanism remains unlatched.

“I wonder why the thief bothered to close the window,” she says while she positions a mauve colored pillow underneath her arm. “Like we wouldn’t notice.”

I smile at her and add, “ Well, those types aren’t the brightest sort.”

She nods and pulls the afghan she’s been stitching up onto her lap. She then begins her work.

After finally settling on a channel, a rather graphic documentary about lions, I notice the pizza boxes stacked by the front door. I’d left them there earlier, forgotten all about them. They were meant to be our dinner.

“Think we should put the pizza in the fridge for tomorrow?” I ask.

Lynn pauses from her stitching only long enough to respond.

“Good idea honey. We can have it for dinner then.”

I nod and get up off the couch. Picking up the white cardboard boxes, I stride into the kitchen and toss them into the fridge. Then I begin to clean the kitchen. I toss the hands and feet into the trashcan, never did like the extremities, and begin to wash the dishes. My thoughts drift back to dinnertime. Such a well-prepared meal as only my lovely wife could do. I lick my fangs at the thought of it.

THE END

* * *

Rick McQuiston is a forty-three year old father of two who loves anything horror-related. He has had nearly 250 publications so far, and has written four anthology books, one book of novellas, and edited an anthology of Michigan authors . He also recently started work on his second novel Where Things Might Walk.

His book As Mean as the Night is available here.

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