by Rory McCain, from Sketcher in the Rye, A Portrait of Crime Mystery by Sharon Pape
Last year I was almost done with my Christmas shopping, when I felt the tickle in the back of my throat that usually meant an impending cold. I dragged myself into the house around four o’clock and dropped my packages, coat and purse onto the floor in the entry. Hobo bounded over to greet me, a hundred pounds of love and enthusiasm that nearly knocked me onto the pile. After he calmed down, I realized there was a lot of noise coming from the kitchen. Something smelled pretty good too. I followed my nose to the kitchen doorway, where I stopped dead in my tracks. The good news was that there appeared to be a pot of chicken soup bubbling away on the stove. The bad news was that Zeke hadn’t tried his hand at cooking for over a hundred and fifty years. He might have whipped up some tasty meals on a campfire back when he was a federal marshal in the Old West, but he didn’t know much about modern appliances or how to calibrate his telekinetic energy to the delicate demands of cooking. Spices and herbs of every color covered the counters, carrot peelings hung from cabinet doors as if flung there by gale force winds. Uncooked Rice crunched underfoot. Bits of onion embellished every surface, including the ceiling. And in the midst of it all, stood Zeke. “A fellow on the TV swore chicken soup can help you fight off a cold,” he said beaming, “so I made you some.”
It took me two hours to clean up the kitchen, but the soup turned out to be delicious. That was the first year in ages I made it through New Year’s without getting sick.
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