by W.M. Butler

He stood at the counter top, an egg in his hand. With one sharp crack he brought the egg down on the edge of the metal mixing bowl, a perfect glob of sunshine yellow yolk chased by the transparent glop of egg white spilled into the bowl, egg number three. He opened the drawer nearest the sink and rummaged about. Not finding what he was looking for he instead checked the drawer nearest the microwave, plunging his hand in again with one quick stroke he came out with a whisk. With deft flicks of his wrist he began beating the eggs into a frothy lather, with his free hand he reached over and turned on the tap. He washed the whisk thoroughly, holding it up to the light from the window to make sure that no residue remained, taking a dishtowel from the hook on the cupboard he took his time drying the it and with great care placed it back in the drawer. Strangely he began whistling a song from my childhood, Greensleeves. I tried to remember the tune, whenever I had tried to whistle the song in my sparse sputtering rasp of a whistle it would always turn into the song the Seven Dwarfs sang in Snow White. He turned and directed his gaze at me. His teeth peeked out from behind his lips as he slipped me the faintest of smiles. He was a handsome man, neat in appearance and with only a little spattering of grey in his otherwise jet black hair. He wore a charcoal grey suit with a sharp crisp cut. The tailor who made this suit wasted not a stitch of fabric; it was clearly not “off the rack”.

I love scrambled eggs, how about you?

I did not respond. He tilted his head to the right and looked at me with pursed lips and a squinted eye then turned back to the business of his eggs. He moved partially out of my line of site from where I was I could only see the rounded edges of the powder blue Electrolux fridge door open. He shut the door and moved back to the mixing bowl. In his hand he held a carton of whole milk, he opened the top and raised it to his nose, timidly smelling to see if the milk had curdled. Seemingly satisfied he splashed some into the eggs. Opening the fridge door again he placed the milk back inside. Judging from his previous behavior I could only assume he had placed it back exactly where he had found it. Taking the bowl containing the eggs he walked the 5 paces to the stove where earlier he had preheated one of my cast iron frying pans given to my by a great uncle who was a gypsy. It was my prized possession, I felt a sharp twinge of anger, maybe jealousy that this man had the nerve to use it, but those feelings quickly passed, as nothing really seemed  to remain that important to me.

His back was turned to me now and I could not see in which manner he was scrambling his eggs, but the whole process only took a minute. With a click he turned off the gas range slid open the drawer next to the stove and took out a fork. He turned towards me and moved just far enough from the edge of the stove so he could lean against the counter.

Would you like some?

I didn’t respond. I was not hungry and for the life of me could not seem to formulate a response no matter how hard I tried. He casually shrugged then dug into his meal right from the pan. I found it strange that being a careful man he would not place his eggs on a plate or even sit down at the table to eat. It seemed odd that he was now acting so out of line with his earlier behavior.  Soon he had finished his eggs and again he broke character by leaving the frying pan on the countertop. Instead he returned to the bowl with fork in hand, taking both to the sink. He washed, dried and replaced both back where he had found them. Why not the frying pan? I wondered. Why everything in it’s place but the pan?

Thank you, but I must leave now.

I nodded my head in a lolling sort of way. He smiled again but this time with more teeth.

I’ll let my self out.

He stepped over my body, careful not to disturb the leakage of blood slowly trickling from my jugular and pooling on the floor. Walking to the door he took his coat from the rack, put it on and kindly locked the door from the inside on his way out.


More stories from W.M. Butler