Dinner at Eight

by Eleanor Adams


Grins were exchanged and tech toys pointed out.

One was very hungry. The other one was always ready for a meal, but with tea?

“Get out of here with that stuff. Tea is wack!” He wrinkled his nose in disgust.

“Not this one,” his friend answered. “It tastes like chocolate.”

“We can have chocolate. I got some cake.”

“It’ll taste better with the tea. It makes anything taste better.”

“No!”

“Yeah.”

It went on like that for a while, until his friend started to cry. Repulsed, he took one swallow to shut him up and then he took two more swallows because the tea did taste good. When he became groggy, the new friend took out a hammer and knife and began.

The walls weren’t drenched, neither was the furniture, for he had many sheets of thick heavy plastic. That was his first lesson. Prepare first, action next, smile last.

He was still in action when the telephone rang. Sometimes he would scream out to her and perhaps she heard him. She kept calling and her voice gave him the courage to keep struggling.

3:15 pm “Hello. Is anybody there? I hate answering machines. Pick up! No?”

3:20 pm “Hello? Hi?”

3:30 pm “Norman, I love you and hope your play date goes well but you did wrong. Going straight from school to your new friend’s home without my permission! And you just told me his phone number, not where he lives. What if something goes wrong? I don’t know where to find you! He might hear what I’m saying, so protect yourself! I should try and not leave messages. If he hears this, he’ll think I’m crazy!”

3:40 pm “I know I shouldn’t leave messages but... I’m a Mom! Must protect my own. You know you should have asked me first before you went... I could have helped you get along but... you’re such a big boy! Twelve already! And you wanted a chance to find someone since we moved here. You tried so hard. Joined so many clubs. Had so many false moves. It’s called mishaps — a new word for you! Missing Daddy too. Finally you found one and maybe he’ll last for a while. He’s a big boy too? Give me a call, O.K.?”

3:45 pm “Is your good luck working Norman? I shouldn’t be afraid to leave calls, yes? I told you to call me.”

3:48 pm “Stop having so much fun and pick up the phone!”

3:54 pm “Hello? Hello!”

4:02 pm “Is anybody there? You said you would be there!”

4:05 pm “Why doesn’t anyone answer this phone?”

4:12 pm “Hello!”

4:15 pm “Norman? Norman please!”

4:22 pm “I’m really afraid now. So long and I haven’t heard from you. Why won’t you pick up the phone?”

4:30 pm “Please Norman, call me. I’m scared!”

It was over now. He had thought John would be his only kill, but after hiding his body, John’s parents had come home early from the movie because they wanted to meet him, so they met the same fate. Norman had been afraid, but remembering what his Dad whispered to him during the prison visits calmed him. Now he grabbed the phone on its second ring and happily told his mother the news. She was glad for him and so hungry.

She said, “Norman, this is great news. You really are a big boy not waiting for me! Now, I know you like the kidneys but Daddy needs my pies so don’t touch! Just snack on the fingers and toes. I have to work late tonight so I won’t be home till seven, so we’ll have them at eight.”


Copyright © 2007 by Eleanor Adams

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