Friday, March 18, 2016

Free Fiction: Vegetable Medicine (part II)

The soft, repetitive crunch crunch crunch woke Freddie from his sleep. He listened for a minute, letting the dream he'd surfaced from dissolve away, and regretted that in a moment he would need to leave the comfortable position he held in the warm bed. Freddie stretched out a foot but made contact with nothing but cool sheets on the other side.

Rodney was not in the bed.

Freddie pushed back the covers. He reached out and clicked on the bedside lamp and then quietly got to his feet. The small light filled the room with a shadowy glow and revealed for certain that it did not contain Rodney. The glowing red numbers on the clock gave away the time: 2:45 am.

Freddie pulled his bathrobe on and slipped out into the hallway. He inched his way toward the kitchen and the closer he got, the louder the crunching became. Crunch, crunch, crunch.

The kitchen came into view and Freddie leaned against the wall. He folded his arms across his chest. "Are you going to eat the entire bag?"

Rodney jumped about a foot into the air, bag in hand, and in alarm, his arms gave a jerking motion. Potato chips flew everywhere. Rodney put a hand to his sternum. "Warn a man, would you?!" He looked at the mess on the floor. "Now I've wasted half a bag." He picked up a chip from the floor and looked it over. "Three second rule." He put it in his mouth and crunched it.

"Rodney!" Freddie waded into the room and squatted down, scooping the spilled chips into a pile. "Where did you even get that?"

"I bought it at the store, of course."

"But you promised you would stop eating all the junk food!" Freddie deposited handfuls of the chips into the trash. "If your cholesterol doesn't go down the next time you go to the doctor's, she's gonna put you on meds!"

Rodney gave Freddie a look. He put the chip bag on the counter and put his hands on Freddie's shoulders. "I'm sorry, Fred, really. I know you want me to be healthy and all that, but it's hard. I like junk food. I like potato chips. No, wait, make that I love potato chips." He shook his head. "I was craving them like you would not believe. I walked past the convenience stores and they all called out my name. Rodney. Yoo-hoo, Rodney. We know you want us. We could be all yours. We're so delicious! You know we are. Rodnnnneeyyy."

Freddie smiled in spite of being angry and disappointed, and not a little worried and exasperated. He laughed at Rodney's impression of the potato chips calling out. "I know. I know. Maybe I push too hard."

"Nah. You just want me to be healthy."

"I don't want you to feel like you have to sneak around eating junk food in the middle of the night. Hiding food from me."

Rodney pulled Freddie into a hug. "Me either. Maybe I can eat some junk food. Less of it, though. Not like I did before, but I don’t want to give it up entirely."

Freddie thought about that. "I suppose so. If you eat some vegetables at dinner, it'd help counterbalance the bad stuff."

"Always looking for an angle."

Freddie pushed out of the hug. "It's called compromise."

Rodney sighed and then turned around to roll down the top of the chip bag and pin it closed with a kitchen clamp. "There. How's that? I only ate half the bag, and I'll go back to bed."

"It's a start." Freddie grabbed Rodney's hand, ignoring the fact it was slick and salty with potato chip residue, and tugged him back to the bedroom.

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