I moved in with my husband when we married.  A painless experience except the spankings.

A gas grill sat out back on the porch.  The thing was so easy and convenient.  For a while, I cooked with it.  My dad, when I was a kid, used both gas and charcoal at different times, and I always knew which from the taste.

One day at the store, I bought a small charcoal grill, charcoal, wood chips, and lighter fluid.  My husband was unimpressed and I quote, “We’re a gas grill family.”

Piss on that.

I had never actually lit a charcoal fire, but I’d watched a hundred times when Dad did it.  I followed all the steps, and soon I had a pyramid of glowing coals.  I added Mesquite wood chips, and three six-ounce burgers followed.  Cheap USDA Select ground beef, but it was 73% lean and usually tasty.

I paid close attention to make sure nothing got blackened, besides you know a little black.  Flip a burger too often it’ll never cook.

My husband was truly impressed with the meat and let me dole the spanking instead for a change.

I did it again the next day with steaks.  I put the Mesquite chips on.  Somebody whistled, and I looked up.

A lady stood at the edge of our yard holding a bowl of something.  “I smelled your grill, I’m your next-door neighbor to the north.”

What did she want though?  Like why would smelling my grill mean interrupting my precious solace?

“I brought coleslaw,” she said.  “Surely you have enough meat we could share.  I’m Beth.”




So, we had dinner with Beth.  The coleslaw was tasty, and the bacteria in the human gut love cabbage and other forms of indigestible fibers.

Beth was maybe forty years old with a cotton dress on.  Blue eyes and light brown hair but not blonde with just a few hints of grey.  She Never Stopped Talking.

Technically, she was the first guest in our house since we married.  Maybe a good thing.

A couple of days I didn’t grill.  Work kept calling me in.  I was odd one out at the company, and I’d get called in if a shop was short a person.  Best job I could get.

Seemed to be grilling with charcoal was the only way I could curb my husband’s insatiable hunger for flesh.  I started bratwurst and had a dread feeling so I cooked a whole package of six.

Beth showed up with a man in tow, wearing khaki shorts and a red shirt.  They had a younger male maybe twelve wearing perfectly matching khaki shorts and red shirt.

“The adult male prototype is George,” Beth said.  “The younger prototype is Sam.”

That is not how she introduced them, I embellished that.

All three of them carried containers or something, and after the amazing coleslaw, curiosity piqued.

The boy, Sam, held up a pan of brownies cut in perfect squares.  “Caramel brownies.”

Clearly, these people were welcome at my house.

George held out a bowl.  “Potato salad.”

Beth smiled wider than ever.  “Fruit salad.”

“Welcome,” I said.  “Hubby is chopping up onions and heating just a bit of chili if anybody wants chili dogs.”

Before any trolls can interrupt, yes, chili brats are an interesting concept, but if you haven’t tried it, shut your trap.

All too much stimuli for me in the end.  I found myself hiding under a weighted blanket in the dark.  Hubby brought me a midnight snack of nachos with cheese and jalapeno wheels.

He let me have the bed to myself and slept on the couch.  I did drift off in the end before it got too late.  He was savage in the morning but I needed it as much as him.  We synced up perfectly with the events at eight times a week, any less and a dire melancholy set in.

Soon it was time to grill again.  Two slabs of ribs.  I think I used more mesquite than charcoal.  Not only did Beth’s clan show up, but another couple who claimed to be my neighbors from south of my house.

The newcomers brought loaves of French bread with butter and garlic, and all told we had six side dishes to go with the ribs.  Nobody left hungry.

I retired early to my blanket fort.  Too much.  My husband made sure I wasn’t hungry, providing fruit flavored candies of every variety.  One night under the blanket wasn’t enough and I hid partway into the next day.  Lucky work didn’t call.

Not so much hiding, but I needed the dark and quiet for long periods to recharge my battery after so much chitter chatter from everybody.  And their seeming expectations for me to reply.

My husband admitted that the first time I grilled, he called Beth, and secretly invited her over.  The rest of the people were not his doing, and he insisted it was my grilling bringing them over.

I wasn’t giving up the charcoal, but I did acquire a bigger grill with more room for big helpings.  The crowds always drained me, but the time off from certain events, led to better events.

The End

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