“STUFFED”

A Short Story by Taylor Siolka

 

 

Another G-D casserole.

Doesn’t anybody in this godforsaken town know how to make anything besides a G-D casserole?

A roasted chicken? Maybe some chili? Would it kill anyone to bring a pot of chili?

But no. Just one G-D casserole after another.

Hank, to say the least, had had his fill of G-D casserole. Since his wife passed three days prior, it seemed every neighbor within a 5-mile radius had arrived bearing the “gift” of yet another casserole.

Sue Richardson popped by with her “famous” Tater Tot Hotdish. Famous. Ha. Ain’t that a gas. Famous for stinking up Hank’s fridge, that’s what it’s famous for.

Larry and Marge Roberts offered their condolences with a seven-layer monstrosity of green beans and cheesy potatoes. That’s what really should’ve been buried, Hank thought.

And now, sweet Maria Russo stood in Hank’s doorway, passing along her sympathies in the only way she knew how – with her family’s secret lasagna recipe. Lasagna – Italian for casserole.

“We were all just so sad to hear about Eleanor,” cried Maria, almost verbatim as every other visitor. “If there’s anything I can do…”

“This is just fine… thanks,” Hank gruffed as he reached out for the dreaded dish in front of him.

“Are you sure you’re getting enough to eat? I’m happy to stop by with more—”

“No! No, no… I’m… just… thank you, really. But I’ll be fine.”

Hank slammed the door and retreated to the empty kitchen. Just where did they think he was going to put all these casseroles? Hank stood in front of the fridge and stared at the dozen or so ceramic platters that crowded the shelves. Without success, he shuffled the pans around hoping to cram an extra piece into the already-finished jigsaw puzzle. But no, the fridge was packed and there was only one way out of this predicament. Hank grabbed a fork, sat down at the kitchen table, and began to eat.

What was he to do? Not eat the casserole? Eleanor would never approve of wasting food. So, he shoveled Sue Richardson’s famous Tater Tot Hotdish, and all the pity that came with it, into his mouth. He choked down the Roberts’ condolences. He even swallowed the sympathies of sweet Maria Russo. And with every bite, from every G-D casserole, he thought of his dearest Eleanor. He ate, and he wept, until he was utterly stuffed.