The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
by Elaine Pascale
.This was the fifth take, and it had to be good. Hildy was running out of fresh meat.
In her perfectly staged kitchen, she held the knife at eye level and said, “Stay sharp, here comes the meat.”
She was rewarded by a lengthy contribution from the laugh track. She found the laugh track encouraging.
Her apron was spotless; her counter shone as if it had just been installed. She was a fanatic about keeping her possessions nice and also about preserving what she considered as belonging to her.
She was a fanatic in most arenas.
She cut with the procession of a surgeon. She never struggled with the meat despite encountering bone and gristle. She had a trick that she shared with her audience: “cut on the diagonal to retain the juices.”
The audience ahhhed appreciatively.
Despite recording many episodes, the audience remained the same. They gazed at her approvingly through their empty eye sockets. Their jaw bones hung in a slant that resembled either an open-mouthed smile, or complete awe. Speakers were placed behind the wall of skulls for a more authentic experience. Hildy was a fanatic about authenticity.
The one sitting in the chair beside her spotless counter groaned. He was not smiling or in awe like the skulls. He had been the star of the last few episodes when she had made brisket and broiled flank and tenderloin. She knew she would not be getting much more out of this “talent.”
She had liked him, though. She had decided he belonged to her. As with all her belongings, she had taken good care of him. She had cleaned up after him. She had stitched him up. She had given him kratom and had him sniff lavender for the pain.
She had taken good care of him but there was not much left to take care of. She held the large cleaver in front of the camera. The audience grew tense with anticipation. They knew what was coming.
“My grandmother told me that the fastest way to a man’s heart was through his stomach.” Hildy told this same joke at the end of each series. “I then learned it was even faster through his chest with a sharp knife.”
The one in the chair was not laughing. He would learn. He would join the laugh track with those she had consumed before.
Fiction © Copyright Elaine Pascale
Image courtesy of Pixaby.com
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