Dinner by Al McDermid

I didn’t notice it sitting there, in the middle of the table, when I first walked into the kitchen. I should have, but I didn’t. I poured my coffee as usual and stood in front of the sink drinking it, looking out at the not entirely unremarkable red brick wall of the neighboring building. Flecks of peeling white paint suggested traces of an ad that no one had cared about for fifty years. It obviously predated the construction of my building by a very long time. Were I inclined, I could have reached out and touched it. Instead, I thought about today’s trial, and the almost certainly guilty scumbag I’d be defending, and how, were he a successful criminal, he could have afforded his own attorney.

I finished the coffee, set the mug in the sink, turned to leave, and there it was; fat, pink, and severed. Its eyelids were closed and I wondered if the butcher had done that as some perverse gesture of respect. I didn’t know why he would have but I’m glad he had, though I couldn’t fathom why it was there, this head minus its hog; the roasting pan should have tipped me off.

I glanced at my watch, picked up my case, and left for work. Thinking about dinner would have wait.


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Filed under Al McDermid

9 responses to “Dinner by Al McDermid

  1. The ending made me chuckle; I was hoping it was a human head for some reason. Thank You for sharing.

  2. K

    This was a great treat for the reader, I felt like we walked in to this apartment with the narrator and inadvertently walked into something we weren’t supposed to see. That the narrator can walk out and put aside his through of severed head is very telling about his character. That we, as readers, are unable to do so, is very telling of your skill as storyteller.

  3. Visceral, and taut, and dark. Made me squirm with the head in the room, possibly my vegetarian sensibilities.

  4. Strange and yet entirely believable! Good story!

  5. Love the blend of the normal and the odd. Well done, Al!

  6. Cognative dissonance can be a troubling thing, if you let it.

  7. Loved ‘this head minus its hog’! Have to say I think is the story of yours I have enjoyed the most, Al. Have never been a lawyer, but I do know how dispiriting it can be giving a service to someone you believe doesn’t deserve it.

  8. len kuntz

    what an unusual piece. there were a lot of things going on. terrific.

  9. Pingback: Week # 47 – Blind Spot | 52|250 A Year of Flash

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