TNP2-07 "A Better Meal"

TNP2-07 "A Better Meal"

A Chapter by dw817

"Jackpot !" I said reverently and felt myself start to salivate, GLAD to be free of Tricia's earlier offering. At once we microwaved two Swanson meals and split a box of Pizza Bites between us.


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© July 2014 Written by David Wicker
Please do not reprint without permission

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"Wow." Smithers said with his mouthful, "This is really - good, it - " but he couldn't continue because suddenly he started coughing and lowered his head on the side of the table to cough out his bite in the napkin. And being a magician he did it so professionally I think I was the only one that caught that he spit it out in there.

"'Excuse me." he told her politely, still acting like his mouth was full, then pretended to chew it up and swallow it. "Mmm !" he commented cheerily, "My ! That =IS= quite good ! All-natural, as you said, mum."

I don't know if it was Tricia so much as she did not believe him as if she more wanted to do so and couldn't accept that anyone could take to eating her homemade crap-cakes as quickly as he did.

"That good, huh !?" she said suddenly and grabbed the napkin away from him expecting to see the bite of food he had stuffed in there bounce away, but his napkin was mysteriously empty. He smiled and patted the top of his belly because clearly he was eating it, or so it appeared.

He added, "I'm feeling a little full too, but I think I can finish this, mum." he said pleasantly and reached across the table for Tricia to hand him back his napkin.

Tricia turned the napkin over and over and it was obviously empty. Now I KNEW he wasn't eating his food but where was he putting it ? I watched him closely. For each bite he took he wiped his mouth. Ok, so he was transferring the bite to the napkin. I understood that much.

I watched a little more and saw him put the napkin back in his lap. Peering briefly under the table I saw the bite of food fell perfectly from the right side of it into his outstretched pocket from his dinner robe.

Very clever, Mr. Smithers, I thought to myself. I looked to my left to see that Trudy, of all things actually =WAS= eating it ! I gave her a look like WTF girl !? but she finally whispered to me in an uneasy voice, "I've been here long enough - you get used to eating it, after a-while, David."

And apparently I was off the hook because Tricia to my right was satisfied when I said I was full. I finished a 3rd glass of water and tried to follow Judith's lead. "Well, thank you, Tricia, for this - this - I - ahhm - still need to sort through my boxes, so I guess I'll go do that now."

I got up and if looks could kill Tricia was giving me the stink-eye so hard my own eyes watered in their peppery wake. But then she laughed politely and said, "David, are you sure you want to leave ? I have prepared a lovely dessert as well."

It was if instinct was kicking in my being because I immediately looked to Trudy who almost imperceptibly shook her head. No. You don't want dessert, David.

I looked back at Tricia and smiled weakly, "Thanks all the same. But I really do need to unpack."

Suddenly Smithers stood up, "I'll help you suh, if that's awl right, mum ?"

Tricia looked at his plate, empty. Smithers delicately draped the napkin over his plate, also empty. It was clear she was not going to figure out where that food went but she was quite certain he couldn't just go into devouring it the way he appeared to.

"Sure," she said in an even tone to Smithers, clearly angry at his disappearing trick. "Go and help David. We'll finish up here."

Trudy set down her fork noisily, "Maybe I could - "

"Finish it, dear sister !" Tricia spat angrily, determined that at least one person was going to eat her 'home cooking,' despite how wretched it was, before the night was done.

Trudy moaned uncomfortably. "Yes ma'am." I heard her say timidly. I heard her choke down another bite and it was just gross to imagine her eating it at all. I felt bad for her but I was glad that at least me and Smithers were out of that torture chamber now.

Once we were out the door, Smithers pointed to my left and said, "I think you'll find, it's THIS way, suh." he said and motioned to the elevator.

My room was on the 1st floor so I wasn't sure what he was up to. On the elevator he hummed pleasantly but I was a little frightened by his careless manner. We stopped on the 2nd floor and got off. I started to say something but he interrupted me, "I'll bet you're still hungry, suh ? I know =I= am."

"Yeah !" I nodded my head agreeably seeing he was headed for the kitchen, my worries fading behind me.

"Well, let's have a REAL MEAL then." he said. In the kitchen he opened the freezer and it was filled with Hot Pockets, Pizza Bites, Swanson TV Dinners, and individual cup servings of ice-cream, all flavors.

"Jackpot !" I said reverently and felt myself start to salivate, GLAD to be free of Tricia's earlier offering. At once we microwaved two Swanson meals and split a box of Pizza Bites between us. But instead of us eating in the kitchen, he took my dinner and pizza bites and put them in a tray and covered it with a plastic lid.

"Take these back to your room, suh. You don't want Tricia catching us here." he warned me.

* * *

I nodded, took the tray, and returned back to the elevator. I was on the 2nd floor, or so it seemed. Doing what Trudy showed me, I turned out the lights and then pressed the 1st floor button.

Sure enough, 9-floors quickly passed by, and yes, there was a kind of weird green glow coming from what had to be between the perceived first and 2nd floors. Turning the lights back on in the elevator I looked at the control console. There was an emergency stop button. Perhaps I could stop between tracks and visit that floor despite the fact only 3 floors were listed on it ?

Shrugging I took my meal to my room and finding one of my Pick-Your-Own-Path books from my boxes, read it and enjoyed my dinner proper. I was half-expecting to be interrupted by Tricia but that didn't happen.

I looked up at the ceiling for a moment and frowned. "Craziest looking water-sprinklers I've ever seen." I told myself. One of them seemed to wink at me. I winked back. It didn't wink again. I wrinkled my face up in disgust and went over to one of the counters in my room.

Sure enough, there was an instruction manual on how to use my waterfall. And as I suspected, it wasn't really designed to be a waterfall, not originally, it was a high-tech holographic television. I thought it was as it was perfectly 4x3 in dimensions in size (wide-screen TV not being known in this year).

The drink server was cut into the wall behind it so really Tricia didn't have to work too hard at my 'impossible' request.

After spending more than 10-minutes reading the documentation, I finally learned how I could get Cable TV on it and at once located the Cartoon Network, my favorite channel, outside of CNN.

As soon as it clicked on, though, I heard Susan talking to me.

"David ! Let me out of here !"

"Oh, sorry, Susan." I told her and let her out of the hospital bag which was tossed aside. I held her in my arms and she seemed to look around where I was staying.

Then she faced me accusingly, "And what makes you think this is a better place to live ?"

"Free cable TV ?" I told her with a smile watching one of the cartoons on the iridescent bead design. It was perfect the way it was designed and really looked like the characters from the show were in my room.

Susan shook her head in disgust, "Do you remember what I told you earlier ? You're being led in a direction you don't want to be ?"

"Yeah, but you didn't say whether or not I had a choice on it." I reminded her.

"No, I didn't." Susan replied cryptically. "But I wouldn't get too comfortable here. This place gives me the creeps. It's too ... clean."

"And what's wrong with that ?"

Susan stirred in my hand to reach out and touch my nose with her furry paw, interrupting me from my cartoon, "David, I know you. And I know clutter. And when your place is cluttered, I know you're happy in your head; I know you're doing well. This place is clean. Too clean. It - it's going to get to you. I know you too well."

"Well, not tonight it's not. What time is it anyways ?" I clicked on the remote and saw the clock appear in the bottom-right-hand corner. 11:26pm.

I hugged her, "We need to get some sleep anyways. And I want to talk to Tricia tomorrow about getting my phone working. I - want to talk to Dad - and see what's happening. I still think things are moving too quickly."

"Did you want to get married to her ?" Susan said looking up at me.

I brought the remote with me to bed and lowered the lights by half while stripping out of the 'dinner' robe, dropping it on the floor. "What kind of question is that ?" I asked her. I placed her beside the pillow where she looked up at the ceiling. Clearly she was suspicious of the water-sprinklers too.

"It's an important question, David. DO YOU want to get married to Tricia ? Do you even know what that means ?"

"I dunno." I shrugged. "She's pretty isn't she ? Young. My boss at work. And she said she'd help me with my money."

"Rose could help you spend your money." Susan said with a mischievous grin, making herself comfortable in bed.

I tweaked her fuzzy ear, "ANYONE can help me spend money, Susan."

"But isn't that what you want ? To make Rose happy ? And now she's moving back to New Jersey ? What's happening here, David ? Do you even know what's going on ?"

"No. But you don't either. Look, let's just get some sleep and we'll worry about it all tomorrow. It's almost the next day as it is, okay ?"

Susan's eyes had became hard plastic again and the odd shimmer in them vanished. She was done talking for the night. I looked to the remote and clicked off the holographic TV. Then curled up in bed with Susan with the sheets half over me and the lights still set at dim but not entirely off.

I looked to the ceiling where the curious water-sprinkler faucets were and one of them seemed to be shining a light of it's own but then faded out. And Just like me, in consciousness, I did the same, and I was soon asleep ...


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Loved it, :-)))

Kaze~ :-))

Posted 8 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


8 Years Ago

I'm - actually having a little difficulty writing this story, Katherine. For some reason it's far ea.. read more
♔ CrownedDevil ☾

8 Years Ago

Oh ok. Can't wait to read the next one. And you too.

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