Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Prompt: The Pillsbury Dough Boy

“You just rest, I’ll start some soup and some tea,” Kate called out as she walked into the kitchen. Her casual call to her best friend Emily had turned into a “rescue mission” when she realized Em was sick at home with no food and no one around to help out. Kate had made a grocery run, including some fresh flowers to brighten up Em’s bedroom, deli chicken soup, and chamomile tea. She couldn’t stand the stuff, but Emily loved it, and Kate knew she would appreciate it.

She’d used her own key to let herself into Emily’s apartment, and good thing, because her friend was flat out in bed, spiking a temp and hardly able to lift her head when Kate walked in with the flowers. She had rummaged around the bathroom cabinet and found a thermometer.

“102. Okay, you don’t have to go to the hospital. Here, drink this whole bottle of water. I’m standing here until you do,” she had glowered at her friend, correctly surmising she had not been drinking enough water the past couple of days.

“You’re such a martinet,” Emily grumbled, gulping the water greedily.

“I’m sorry, I couldn’t hear you over the sound of taking care of your sorry self,” Kate replied with a dismissive wave of her hand.  Bottle empty, she carried it out to the kitchen for a refill, then returned to fix the promised soup and tea.

She admired Emily’s clean kitchen – not even dirty dishes in the sink – and chuckled over the labels on the cabinets. She had helped Emily put those up when she moved in two years ago. “So you don’t have to open five cabinets until you remember where the mugs are,” she had teased as she tapped out labels on the labeler.

She filled Emily’s teapot, shaking her head in bemusement. An actual teapot. Honestly, the girl didn’t even own a microwave. “Bad energy doesn’t belong in our food,” Emily would intone with mock pomposity. But seriously. No microwave. Kate sighed, pulling out a pot to reheat the soup on the stovetop. She poured the soup in and thought she would add some of Emily’s favorite spices: curry and coriander.

She opened the cabinet labeled “Baking | Spices”, and the Pillsbury Dough Boy looked up from his magazine and waved to her. She closed the door.

She wasn’t conscious of moving, but she must have walked back to Emily’s room, because she stood in the doorway and said, “What. Was. That?”

Emily looked up at the tone in her voice. “What was what? What’s wrong?”

“What is in your cabinet?”

Emily frowned and thought for a moment, then her face brightened. “Oh, you must mean the Pillsbury Dough Boy.”

“No shit, Sherlock. What. Is. It. Doing. There?”

“Honestly, Kate, he lives there. Couldn’t you tell?”

Kate felt like she had walked into a Twilight Zone episode. She shook her head at Emily’s nonsensical responses and walked back into the kitchen. She stood in front of the cabinet for a moment, then opened it slowly. Yes, he was still sitting there, perched on a sideways Jiffy’s Corn Muffin Mix box, resting his feet on a stack of chocolate and banana pudding mixes. She stared. He lifted his eyes over the top of his magazine, looked back at it, then signed and closed it.

“Hi,” he said.

“I…I can’t believe it! You’re…you’re really the—”

“Pillsbury Dough Boy. Yeah, yeah, kid. You got a name? Did you move in? Is Emily gone?”

Kate opened her mouth and closed it again.

“Look, kid, I understand. This seems to be hard for people to accept. Want to close the cabinet and get back to me when you’re ready to talk? I’m not going anywhere for awhile…”

Kate nodded and slowly closed the cabinet door. She opened it again and peeked in. He was settling back onto the boxes, opening his magazine. He looked up, irritation peeking through the smile pasted on his face.

“Do you mind? Or, are you all ready to talk?”

Kate shook her head and closed the door…

Dogs in house
Houdini, Brindle

Daughter’s piano lesson

Time writing:
40 minutes

July word count:

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