31. A guest for dinner

I was chopping a sweet potato when the knock came at my door. I really don’t know why they have that security door downstairs.

“It’s open!”

Jeff poked his head in the door. “Paul! How’s your hammer hanging?”

“To my knees. Come on in.”

Jeff came in carrying a grocery bag, which he set on the counter and proceeded to empty. “Mmm. Smells great in here!”

“I haven’t cooked anything yet.”

“Sorry, dude. Lousy sense of smell. Had read that I’m supposed to say that. Aha! ‘To my knees’: Now I get it! That’s very funny.”

“I try. Wait a minute. What’s that in those large water bottles?”

“Oh, that’s just some wine. Home brew. You’ll have to let me know how you like it. How can I help?”

“Pour a couple glasses of wine. Glasses are over the sink.”

Jeff poured two glasses to the brim and set one beside my cutting board. He took a sip from the other. “Mmm. Damn fine wine, if I may say so.”

I took a swallow. It was most definitely okay, but nothing more. “Mmm. That’s good goat piss.” It wouldn’t hurt anyone if I lied to him once in a while. Jeff’s self esteem seemed to need a boost sometimes.

“So you’ve been getting some visits from my ‘friends’ in the Catholic Church lately. Want me to do something about it?”

“Nah, I can handle a bunch of old men in robes. Where’d you hear about it?”

“The Department of Sinful Clergy Monitoring reported to me.”

“Hmm. Must be a busy department.”

Jeff rolled his eyes. “Dude, you have no idea. So what’s for supper?”

“Frying up some sweet potatoes, onions, and yellow peppers to go with our steaks.”

Jeff raised his glass. “Tonight, Paul, we eat like kings!”

You had to like his enthusiasm. I clinked his glass and took a large swig of my wine. It was getting better. No wine stays bad for too many swallows.

Jeff briefly put his glass down. “Paul, I’ve been wanting to ask you about something.”

“Hit me, Darlin’.” This wine was starting to taste good.

“It’s about art.”

“Art Who?”

“I mean works of art dumbass! Pass the bottle. I have to confess that there were some imperfections in my initial human creations. That eventually evolved into human creativity. Imagine my surprise when y’all started creating works of art that rivalled my creations in aural and visual beauty!”

I dumped the sweet potatoes into the frying pan, then pulled out a pepper to chop. Jeff took it from me and started chopping. I drank more of my wine. “So you mean to tell me that art is strictly a man-made phenomena? It’s not like the ‘face of God’ or anything?”

Jeff just rolled his eyes again at that last question. “I have a whole department – the Department of Understanding Human Creativity – that has spent centuries understanding that very …”

“Rip out the core, cut away all the white bits, lose the seeds.”

Jeff handed the knife and pepper back to me, and refilled my glass. “I tried painting, sculpting, carving, it all turned brown and runny. Now I’ve decided to try something less visual. I’ve written a poem. Care to hear it?”

“Throw it at me, brother.”

Jeff cleared his throat and straightened his posture. “There once was a man from Nantucket…”

“I’ll have to stop you right there. That one has already been done.”

“Damn. I thought it flowed a little too easily. Okay this one is a work in progress but: Roses are red…”

“Poetry may not be your thing.”

“Double-damn.”

“And neither is cussing.”

“Smart-ass. Pass the bottle, would you?”

One thought on “31. A guest for dinner

  1. Tess Frost

    Poor Jeff – no good at anything except creation? Not even too good at that? I have a few bones to pick abt what he did to us wimmen….

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