Chow Chase — A Short Story

Light popcorn? Trail mix? I’m not even hungry, so no point wasting all that popcorn…

Bowl of trail mix
Image by rusvaplauke [CC-BY-2.0] via Wikimedia Commons

Once in her room, she settles into her desk chair, unsuccessfully ignoring the crunch, smunch, grunch, crack the trail mix makes in her ear. She sighs in restless exasperation. Come on! What’s taking so long? She shakes her head, looks out the window. The sun hasn’t set yet. Just chill, she’ll be here. She swallows some of her trail mix. I could munch on this indefinitely… I’m hungrier now than I was before. Or am I? I think so…

Scrapper, her teacup poodle, paws at her big toe, a sign that he needs to go outside. Downstairs, the click of the lock signals someone’s arrival. The front door opens.

“Well, um, it was a nice night for running.”

Good, Sandra’s here. Dinner should be ready soon.

“Yes. It was…”

Aw, darn. Chela’s home.

“… Do you want to go again tomorrow? Yes? Ok, what time?”

They’re so polite to each other! They’ve been living together for years… What’s the point of being friends if they can’t be natural around each other? She shakes her head, enters the living room.

“Oh. Hi Damara.”

“Hi. Chela.” Why is she talking to me?

“Good. Yes. Before I forget. You can leave the cheque for the rent on the table tomorrow. Sandra and I are going jogging. So I will not be back until late.”

“Ok.”

“Good. Ok. I’m very tired. I just want to rest. Goodnight.”

Then why does she bother talking to me? “Ok, goodnight.”

She shakes her head and looks at Scrapper.

“Wanna go outside? Ok, let’s go.” She grabs his leash, pops some gum into her mouth, glances at her watch. Can’t be long now…

When she gets back, Sandra is in the kitchen. She sniffs hungrily, smiles, turns to Sandra. “Hey, smells yummy!” It won’t work, it never does. “Whatcha makin’?”

“Oh, um, just some chicken and, um, vegetables and rice…”

“And that sauce!”

“Oh, yeah! It’s really easy…” Sandra laughs.

She’s totally pleased with herself. “Sauce is never easy!” Maybe if I butter her up… “I can’t believe how much effort you put into this. I wish I could cook like that!”

“Oh, um, this is a really easy recipe. I just, um, put it in the slow cooker in the morning and, um, it’s ready when I get home. All I make is the sauce. You should try it. You can, um, use the slow cooker anytime you want.” Sandra pauses, expecting.

Crap! She knows I want some. “Nah, you know me. I’m too lazy!” The girls laugh uncomfortably. As if she won’t share. Jerk. “So, yeah… How was your run?”

“Great, um, we went running in the park. It’s so funny, Chela was running behind me, um, because the path was narrow and it was curving right, but um, oh God ha ha, I didn’t see the trash bin on the other side and when I ran past it, um, a raccoon poked its head out! I yelled and turned and crashed into Chela, and um, she fell! Ok, that’s not funny, just the way I reacted was funny, but um, Chela didn’t know what happened, and ah… Yeah. It was funny.”

“Ha ha. Yeah, that is funny.” Wish she’d learn to speak. Am I really supposed to laugh? “Well, I’ve still got tons of work… Later.”

Reaching her room, she shuts the door. Nothing to do now. She refills Scrapper’s bowl of water from her own glass and puts a handful of dry food into the dish next to it. She sits at her computer, sighs. At least the trail mix is still up here. Scrapper sits by her feet. She lifts him, kisses his nose — absently, mechanically chomping on nuts.

Chow Chase was written for the course The Psychology of Creativity as part of the Creative Book Publishing program at Humber College.

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