My latest in the weekly Flash Friday flash fiction contest. The prompt was to include the setting of a kitchen along with responding to the above photo. As always, 210 words max. My entry:
We were eating shadows that night. We all knew it.
Those of us in the mess hall watched the cook prepare the meal. Twenty years ago, he raped two college girls in their dorm. Now, with well-worn hands, he carefully flipped the thick patty to conceal all the juices. His tender movements were unnerving and reflexively, I touched my baton.
The meal was simple enough. One thick patty with American cheese, two thinly sliced pickles on a
fluffy poppy seed bun with a dime-sized topping of ketchup and plain mustard. Pretzels and a Diet Coke without ice filled out the rest of the order.
No dessert. I thought that was weird. If I was set to die, I’d be gobbling chocolate pudding and banana cream pie and, well, now I was hungry, but the chef was busy.
Busy preparing his labor of love for a dead man.
I was talking to Joey, my longtime friend and fellow guard, and he agrees. This whole fucking thing’s weird.
Since I woke up this morning, that’s all I think about. This dead man process. The other guards were being nice to him. Warden Jessop was even playing goddamn chess with him earlier. He won, of course.
I didn’t like the taste of shadows.