Okay, so here’s something interesting I want to do on this blog. I’ve written a few short stories in the past, and I hope to write more in the future The Author’s Notes at the end were just my thoughts that came from when I was writing it. This particular story was written in January of 2016, my senior year of college. The title and plot comes from my response to a prompt from the Tumblr page Unblocking Writer’s Block (and in case you’re wondering, they haven’t really updated from the last time I checked, so it may be dead by lack of updates. Here’s the prompt in question:
“I love you from the bottom of my heart, but I don’t trust your cooking. Stay out of my kitchen.”
If you have a better idea for a title, let me know. Without further delay, here’s the story. Enjoy.
OUT OF MY KITCHEN
“Look, I need the kitchen, I’ll be doing a lot of stuff in here, and I need things to be in some sort of order. So, you can’t be in here. I’ll let you know when you can come back, okay?” Those were the last words Jerry was told before his friend Mary shooed him out the door. Mary walked back into the kitchen and she didn’t get to even open the pantry when she heard Jerry’s voice. “Can I at least know what you’re making?” Jerry asked. “Please?” Ignoring her friend’s pleas, Mary opened the pantry and sighed in disappointment. She opened her refrigerator and all she could utter was a single word: “Really?”
And with that, Jerry found himself outside and the door closing in his face. He had to stop to grab a railing just to stop from falling on his butt on a count of being pushed out of the house. But then, he saw the door open and saw Mary. “Since you’re already outside, can you get these things for me?” Mary asked. Jerry inspected the list and saw what he felt were basic things: Milk, eggs, sugar, all-purpose flour, milk. “How do you not have these things?” Jerry asked. But he only saw a door closing before in his face. “A please or a thank you would be nice!” Jerry spun on his heel and walked away from the house and trekked to the grocery store.
At the store, Jerry grabbed a basket and made his way to the dairy aisle. As he reached the milk, he heard a voice ask “Yo! How’s it going, amigo?” Jerry could recognize the voice immediately. It was Nathan, riding a cart and stepping down just a few feet from hitting Jerry. Jerry greeted his friend. “Hey, Nathan, how’s it going?” “Not too bad, how about you?” Nathan answered. Jerry told him how Mary threw him out of her house because she needed to cook without him getting a word in, and giving her a shopping list “That has to suck.” was all Nathan had to say. “Yeah, it kind of does,” Jerry replied. “Besides, she wouldn’t even let me ask if she needed help or anything. I mean, I know I’m kind of messy, but come on. At least give me the honor of being rejected for crying out loud.” As Jerry grabbed a carton of milk, he was unaware a smirk formed on Nathan’s face as he took his shopping cart and moved down to grab some eggs before heading to the baking aisle. “Hey, you’re a good cook, I know you got skills, so how about we show her what she’s missing out on?” Jerry heard his friend’s words and but only uttered “Uh, sure.” before he walked away. Jerry also heard Nathan yell to meet him at the checkout lines.
At the checkout lines, Jerry was stunned to see Nathan’s cart. He head pasta, ground pork, eggs, cheese, and a slew of food. “What is all this crap, dude?” Jerry asked. “Mary gave me a list. The stuff you got…most of it is not on this thing.” Jerry shook the list in Nathan’s face. “Listen, Grasshopper…”Nathan replied. “We’ll get back to my place, we’ll cook up a storm, and we have to get Mary to apologize for throwing you out, man. It’s a can’t fail plan.” After placing everything on the track to be scanned, Jerry replied with “Fine. But you’re paying for all this.” Nathan just shrugged his shoulders and obliged, and the two walked out. Before heading to Jerry’s house, the two boys drove to Mary’s house. Jerry put the groceries he picked out by the front door and rang the doorbell. By the time Mary was at the door, the two were gone. All she saw was the groceries and a note attached to the bag: “Here you go. See you soon. Jerry and Nathan.” Wondering where the two boys went, she took the bag and went back inside.
A few hours later, Mary would hear the doorbell again. Opening the door, she saw Jerry and Nathan, holding foil pans of food “Hello, boys.” She cheerfully greeted them. But when she saw their stunned expressions she asked, “What’s up?” “What’s up with what you’re wearing?” Nathan asked. Mary looked down and saw how they were looking at her dress. It was a green conservative dress, something out of Little House on The Prairie. The two boys didn’t even notice the bonnet on her head! “Like what you boys see?” Mary teased. She twirled around displaying her dress and signaled for the two boys to come inside, and the two followed her into the kitchen.
When Jerry and Nathan walked into the kitchen, the two were stunned to find on the stovetop there were cookies, a pie, and some biscuits…as well as a mountain of dishes built up in the sink and the trash can starting to overflow. Finally, Nathan broke the silence. “So, what’s with the getup?” he asked. “I’m glad you asked,” Mary answered. “You’re looking at the new Pioneer Jane”. “Pioneer Jane?” Nathan asked. “Yep,” Mary answered. “You are looking at the newest mascot of Samuel Morris High School. Home of The Pioneers. Except Pioneer Joe isn’t here.” Nathan was dumbfounded, and all he could say was “I’m not following.” Jerry explained, “At our school, we have the mascots Pioneer Joe and Pioneer Jane. They have their own costumes and their own backstories, and their own characteristics. It changes every year, and starting next year, Mary here will be Pioneer Jane.” “Ah,” Nathan said. “I think I’ve seen someone dressed like you when we play you guys. We brought food because Jerry here was peeved you wouldn’t let him in to help cook.” “Well, what did you cook?” Jerry and Nathan uncovered their hotel pans to reveal macaroni and cheese; sausage patties topped with fried eggs, and even some freshly made sausages. Mary’s mouth was agape. “Now, why couldn’t Jerry here be in here?” Nathan asked. Mary regained her composure and closed her mouth and answered, “Because you were cooking, and I was baking. There’s a difference.” Nathan could only respond with “What? What are you talking about? It’s all about expression when you’re in the kitchen.” Mary came back with “Yeah, but you can do crazier stuff when you’re cooking. I bake. I have to make sure everything is precise and every measurement is just right, and I have to be sure that I take everything out at the right time. Cooking is an art. Baking is a science. Does that make any sense? Also, I kind of didn’t want you to see me wearing this.” The two boys raised their eyebrows with that last statement. “Wait, Why is that?” Jerry asked. “Yeah, do you like my buddy Jerry?” Nathan added. “No,” Mary answered. “It’s because I’m going to show off my costume at the pep rally tomorrow and I don’t want you two babbling on about it to anyone”. Jerry adjusted Mary’s bonnet. “We wouldn’t tell anyone. Besides, none of the people in this kitchen are what you would call popular, so who would we tell?” And if we did tell, who would listen or care?” Mary rolled her eyes and bonked the top of Jerry’s head. “How about this?” Mary propositioned. “My parents are coming home in about an hour, and the cookies and stuff are how I’m going to tell them I’m going to be Pioneer Jane. If you guys help me with the dishes, I’ll eat your food and I’ll tell you my Pioneer Jane story.” Jerry and Nathan wasted no time in their response. “You got yourself a deal”.
So this was a fun thing to write. Most of this I wrote in a few hours listening to the music on my iPhone. I’m kind of like a machine that way. The idea for the Pioneer mascot comes from an idea of a series of high school football rivalries I had thought of a few years ago, where I would showcase a (fictional) high school football rivalries and this would be featuring rivalries from around the country. The idea of the Pioneer mascot came from High school mascots where it was an actual person as opposed to somebody in a costume (think Notre Dame’s The Leprechaun), and the idea of giving the Pioneer character a backstory comes from The Doctor from Doctor Who. The reason being is that while The Doctor is the same character despite the change in actors and each Doctor is different in how they dress, how they take on enemies, and their likes and dislikes. I find that cool. Also, sorry for not showing any cooking. I once tried to write out cooking and I even thought about writing it out here, and thinking about it, I’m not really the best in writing out cooking and making it super interesting. But anyway, I hope you enjoy this story.