a tale in weekly parts
This story is open for suggested continuations. I will publish here, with links to your own blog, all I receive. The one I like best will become (or form the basis for) the next episode of this collaborative tale.
You can see the full story so far at this link.
Xander awoke in his own bed, refreshed from his sleep. Truth be told, it was the smell of bacon that penetrated his somnolent fuzz and dragged his brain, kicking and screaming, back to a state of wakefulness.
“Do I smell breakfast, Mum?” he shouted.
“For your father and me, but not for you,” she shouted back, “You’re a vegan now. Don’t you remember?”
“WHAT?” Xander leapt out of bed and ran down the stairs, two at a time. In reality, it started as two at a time, but after three leaps it became eight at a time as first his heels, then his posterior, bounced down the rest of the staircase. He limped into the kitchen, his hands on his bottom like a dog baboon that had just lost control of his harem to a more potent male of his kind.
“I’m not a vegan, Mum,” he whined. “Please can I have some bacon, and… what else do I see?”
“Your father and I are having sausage, bacon, egg, fried mushrooms, hash browns and baked beans. You can have beans on toast; without butter, of course; or the wheat flakes with soya milk that I’ve put out for you.”
“Can’t I even have mushrooms and hash browns?”
“Mushrooms are fried in butter and the hash browns in lard, lad,” his father said from somewhere behind the folds of a broadsheet newspaper. “(animal products).” He added parenthetically.
“But I’m not a vegan, Dad; Mum; honest. Where did you get that idea from?”
“Are you trying to tell us that you didn’t come into our bedroom at quarter past two this morning and wake us, specifically to tell us that you’d decided to be a vegan, on account of you couldn’t bear to see innocent animals suffering or their lives wasted just to feed your appetites?” Dad asked, his head momentarily appearing from behind his newspaper.
“No, I don’t,” Xander said, his head drooping. “Besides, I don’t even think that. I love meat, you know that. Do you want me to explain to you why I think meat is an essential part of our diet?”
“Or why animal products are so important to our physical and mental well-being, to say nothing of the social implications?”
His father raised a hand, “Talk to the hand, son,” he said, “coz the face ain’t listening.”
Xander slumped into a chair and started to introduce the wheat flakes to his mouth. When the first spoonful hit his taste buds, his face registered his displeasure with a contortion that would have won him first prize in an international gurning contest.
“My God, this is disgusting!” he cried, forcibly voiding the contents of his mouth back into his dish, “What on Earth is it supposed to be?”
“Soya milk, Xander,” his mother said, “full of protein, perfect for vegans and people with lactose intolerance.”
“But it’s horrible.”
“You’ll get used to it,” Dad said.
“No, I won’t. Never.”
No sooner had those words left Xander’s lips than he felt an unexpected movement in the air, and his sister appeared in front of him, bearing a plate of breakfast; proper breakfast – sausage, bacon, egg, fried mushrooms, hash browns and baked beans; which she put down in front of him with a triumphal cry of “Bazinga!”
Xander didn’t laugh.
Xander couldn’t laugh.
Xander was far too busy shovelling sausage, bacon, egg, fried mushrooms, hash browns and baked beans into his face with the eagerness of a man who hadn’t eaten for a month, the earnestness of a sniffer dog that had just discovered a shipload of pure heroin, the urgency of a Grizzly Bear in the middle of a salmon run and the intensity of a small Jack Russell Terrier, the one called Chav, that was wandering around his feet, salivating.
Then he laughed, too.
He looked his sister in the face through half-closed eyelids and, with gritted teeth, said, “Good one, Sis. I owe you one.”
Kr’veth’neq’is vanished as abruptly as she had materialised.
“I knew I hadn’t said anything like that,” Xander said to his parents.
“But you might have,” Dad answered, “Your sister explained that you might have travelled back in time from the future to change your diet.”
“Why would I want to do that?”
“She explained that as well. What if – and this is purely hypothetical, of course – but what if, sometime in the future, you find that you had some awful disease that had been triggered by, let’s say, eating bacon? Is it not likely that you would want to come back to an earlier time and stop eating the stuff before it has a chance to do you some damage?”
“Have you been watching Back to the Future?”
“Not recently, although I might come back from the future just to watch it.”
“No way, Dad.”
“Why shouldn’t I?”
“Because you can’t travel in time, for starters.”
“Not now I can’t, I’ll grant you. But who knows what abilities I might acquire or be given in the future?”
“If you do,” Madge asked, “acquire the ability to travel in time, that is; could I come back with you?”
“If I did,” Al replied, “I’d bring you back to before we were married and fix it so you learn how to bloody cook!”
A voice inside Xander’s head laughed.
Madge did not laugh.
This story was started in response to Kreative Kue 18, issued on this site on 30 March 2015.