Monday, February 4, 2013

The Real Story of Cincinnati Chili, Part 8

Well now, it hasn't been nearly as long between installments, so I'm sure you could just scroll down to review, but for those of you who want to make life more difficult, here's the link to Part 7.

Ah, Hannistina, there's nothing that makes you feel worse about karate chopping a man in the face than when he forgives you and unselfishly makes you a gourmet dinner.  Happens to me all the time.  Let's continue... 

     "Dudley, after all we've been through. . .," Hannistina murmured.  "When my world is spinning out of control, when uncertainty's hands cling to my future like over-baked cheese clings to my iron skillet. . . You know my own thoughts...(sigh) my own cravings before even I do."  

     With that she nearly fainted as the aroma from the contents of the box wafted gently to her nostrils.  She wiped back an errant tear with the arm of her fuzzy pajama sleeve, finding yet more comfort in the feel of the fabric against her face.  Come what may, one could always count on certain things to boost the spirit! 

     She gathered her emotions as she carried the package to the coffee table where she set it down and proceeded to the kitchen to procure a clean fork.  "I'm 
not even going to care about the disaster in here, " she consoled herself.  "I 
have happiness in a box waiting for me in the other room."  With that she 
resolutely produced a beaten up, but still intact utensil packet leftover from a bygone trip to KFC some months. . or was it years. . before?  Never mind that - she was thankful for the plastic now, and she had more pressing matters at hand.  That wonderful creation of a meal would get cold if she dawdled any longer.  Now 
that would be a crying shame! 

     Hannistina padded back to the living room with her knife and spork.  She was 
about to seat herself and give her emotions entirely over to the enjoyment of this heaven-sent meal when she realized she had forgotten a drink. 

     Tension was starting to mount again.  Amidst frustration over the quickly cooling spread that lay before her Hannistina could feel herself beginning to lose it when she re-entered the disheveled kitchen.  At once, like the odor of garlic that takes over one's refrigerator when the jar has been spilled and 
the contents lost forever in the packed shelves, all of the events of recent days 
washed over her.  She sank to the floor next to the trash can, buried her face 
in her hands and began to weep bitter tears. 

     "What's wrong with me?  Daddy's upset with me, Georgio is an ogre, my reputation is in shambles, and now my appetite for Dudley's peace offering is all but gone.  I have got to get a handle on this.  I need chocolate!" 

     Forgetting the meal and the fact that her head was now resting on the side 
of the trash can, she leaned back, closed her eyes, and began to daydream about 
true happiness.  Was true happiness a possibility?  All these years she had 
been yearning, searching for happiness and here it seemed that all possibilities 
of happiness were in shambles around her. 

     Without further thought, Hannistina jumped up, grabbed the boxed meal and 
paraded her pink poodle clad body straight over to the Bonmuffin bakery.  She saw Dudley standing behind the counter with his jaw almost touching the floor.  It was only then that she remembered her strange apparel.  Too late to turn back now.  She squared her shoulders and proceeded to the counter.  She placed the box in front of Dudley.  

     "What is the meaning of this?"  How Hannistina managed to sound offended when she should have felt overwhelmed with gratitude was beyond even her own comprehension. 

     Dudley could have come back with a fitting reply, for many sarcastic remarks 
came to the tip of his tongue, despite his normally sweet disposition.  Instead, 
he squelched the urge to laugh at her, recognizing the desperation in Hannistina's eyes.  Quietly, he replied "Don't you think it's time to move on?".

     "Move on, move on," she stuttered, "how can you move on after being publicly humiliated?".  

     " I realize that you are talking about your own humiliation, but having lived through my own fair share of humiliation, I have to tell you the one way I have found."  He paused and Hannistina noticed that the bruise on his head was 
only a faint brown mark.  

     "Forgiveness." he finished. 

     "Forgiveness?" she blurted out, "Who am I to forgive, I am the one who publicly shamed myself, and you.  As a matter of fact," she said as she glanced down at her attire, "I continue to embarrass myself more every day".  

     "Yourself."  Dudley said definitively.  "I have, and now you must.  Move on 
Hannistina.  Go home, clean yourself up.  Make a pot of that wonderful chili." 

     "You liked the chili?"  she started, and then finished with "You forgive 
me?  I haven't even apologized." 

     Dudley laughed, "Yes, I liked the chili, and no you don't have to apologize in order for me to forgive you." 

     "I am truly sorry, Dudley.  There is no way that I can take back my rash actions." 

     "It is all in the past, now go home and make a pot of chili.  I'd like to 
try to sell it in my shop.  I think it would really take off.  If people like 
it, maybe you could take over the shop next door.  You know that Mrs. Fairly is 
selling her perfume shop.  I don't like the idea of having an empty space next door.  I'd be glad to help you get started." 

     Hannastina stared back in open shock.  "You would do that for me, after 
all this?" she finally replied. 

     "Yes, now go home and fix a pot of chili for me!"  Dudley laughed. Her tender smile was returned by his unwavering glance...his eyes were full of hope.

Well now, I must admit, that was a much more meaningful summation to the chapter than I personally had in mind.  Apparently Dudley is the moral compass of this bizarre story.  My only other thought in this installment is for Dudley...."RUN!!!!!!"  I think that's how I would have phrased it if any of my brothers had met Hannistina in real life.  Stay tuned...the next installment introduces a new and exciting character!

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