chocolate is a verb

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Tag Archives: Henry

fragments…Henry ~ 1

Henry scraped a few burned specks of onion from the bottom of the pan and tipped them onto his plate. It was the same brown-gray mound of food that faced him every morning: beef and onions and peppers and potatoes chopped fine and fried together, simple enough. He poured coffee, then carried plate, cup and fork out to the porch, where he’d eat as he waited for first light.

Solomon was curled by Henry’s chair, a desultory flick of his stumped tail the only indication that he was paying attention, his warm breath condensing in a small white cloud with each exhalation.

There was a single light showing low on the slope across the valley. Foster’s up early, Henry thought, wondering, not for the first time, whether Foster could see the dim light that glowed over the stove in Henry’s kitchen, whether Foster looked out across the fields at this hour or merely shuffled, head down, eyes watching the ground, out to the barn and the waiting cows.


I leaned over and brushed the crumbs off the red vinyl seat before sliding into the booth. The window was steamed up and next to the painted flower pot on the sill there were a few clear squiggles where a child had trailed a finger through the moisture.

The rasp of Henry’s radio news was overlaid with the crackling of grease on the griddle and the clinking of silverware on heavy china plates. Behind me, in a dry flutter of pages, a newspaper was shaken open and shut, open and shut, and then wrestled inside out, folded down and flattened onto the table with a couple of quick slaps.

Pattie set a cup of coffee on my table as she walked past with a family’s worth of breakfast plates fanned up her arm. At the corner booth, she set them in front of a trio of eager-eyed children and their tired looking parents.

The tiny bell on the outside door tinked its friendly warning and Joey’s arm appeared, pushing open the screen door, followed by his watch-hatted and pea-coated body. He turned in my direction without looking up. His heels thudded on the wood floor and then the vinyl banquette gave a gasping sigh as he settled himself across the table…