Life, the Universe, and Mac ‘n’ Cheese

Krawford Mathew is prone to scrambling eggs in the morning, letters in the afternoon and words at night.

Krawford Mathew is prone to scrambling eggs in the morning, letters in the afternoon and words at night.  He is, without a doubt, a scatterbrain. Thankfully, he knows he is a scatterbrain.  Although, he probably apologizes about it too much, and tells people about it too much.  Hidden underneath all his complaining, it is quite likely that he is absurdly proud of the fact that he is so confused in the head most of the time.

Today is Saturday and he wishes he were sleeping in, but instead he’s out in the rain mowing his lawn.  He always mows the lawn in the rain.  He’s convinced his grass will be healthier if he does it that way.  Of course, he goes through more lawn mowers than most people, due to the problem of rust.  But he bears that inconvenience with pride.  It is only one more difficulty in the way of having the perfect lawn, and he is proud to pay the price.  If it doesn’t rain for a while, his lawn will grow and grow until the neighbors start glaring at him from across their pink picket fence. 

Krawford’s neighbors, the Henslys, have a thing for pink.  Or, at least, Grandma Hensly does, and since she’s so bossy, she decides what colour to paint the front door, the window frames, the garage door, the mailbox and the picket fence. She also decides what colour to paint the kitchen, living room, and dining room, but Krawford never worries about that because, well, it isn’t his house. 

Krawford thinks that Mr. Hensly, (Grandma Hensly’s son in law), ought to have put his foot down when it came to the fence, but he isn’t his neighbors’ keeper, so he kept his mouth shut when the incident was under loud and angry discussion. And that is how it came to be that there is a pink picket fence dividing their property, but not quite on the property line.  Because if it were on the property line, Krawford would have been able to paint his side of the fence white, as picket fences are meant to be painted.

But that is enough about the neighbors. On this particular rainy summer day, Krawford’s disposable plastic pullover ‘jacket’ sprung a leak and left him thoroughly soaked by the time he came in for lunch. 

He walks into his house, dripping and shivering only to be met by Cassie, his sixteen year old daughter.  She has a nervous expression on her narrow, long-nosed face and right away Krawford thinks that she looks a lot like her mom when she is nervous.

“Dad, I broke your printer,” she blurts out.

“Oh,” says Krawford, taking off his broken disposable jacket.  “I guess I’ll have a look at it after lunch, see if I can fix it.”


“Huh?” he pulls off his soggy sweatshirt and stands there holding it, trying to decide what to do with it and at the same time trying to figure out what his daughter means by ‘no’.  She is a queer girl—super extroverted, and blunt, but somehow sweet at the same time—but she is not a very rebellious or disobedient daughter.  Krawford and his wife Penny (whom everyone calls Pens), are blessed to have two very un-rebellious teenagers.  Cassie and her older brother Jim, are both very strange, but not rebellious.  Who knows how exactly this came about, but it seems, that despite their queerness, Krawford and Pens have managed to raise their children well.

“When I was doing my homework, unbeknownst to me, Jim discovered the broken printer.”  Cassie had recently developed an awkward habit of talking like an out of date book.  “Inspired to great things, he deconstructed it and reconstructed it into a space alien detector.”

“Oh,” says Krawford, not surprised.  This sort of thing happens to almost any electronic device that comes near Jim. 

Krawford takes off his shoes, which are so wet that the family cat, Snarkles, comes and begins licking the water out of the bottom of them. 

Cassie laughs loudly.  “Snarkles has discovered sock-water, and apparently takes great delight in it!” She manages to laugh, grin and talk at the same time.

Krawford is on his way up the stairs to his room, leaving sock-splotches of water on the carpeted steps when Pen calls from the kitchen “Lu-unch!”

“Change, I need to Honey, I mean Honey I need to change, I’ll be there in a few, K?” he calls over his shoulder.

“The Mac ‘n’ Cheese will get cold, Nut-Cheerios!” Nut-Cheerios is what Pens always calls Krawford after he calls her honey. “Why don’t you just grab a towel for your chair and change afterwards?  You probably need to shower anyways, so you might as well save time by only drying off and changing once.”

“Yeah, ok,” Krawford replies and goes into the bathroom for his towel.  Pens does always have the most logical suggestions.  It’s one of the things he likes about her.  He dries himself as best as he can with his towel as he heads back down the stairs, leaving more sock-splotches on the carpet.  He may be cold and wet, but first and foremost he is hungry.  The scrambled eggs that were breakfast seem a long way off, now that it is lunch time.  Besides, Mac ‘n’ Cheese is one of those things that makes life a happy thing, even when it is wet.

By the time he gets to the table, the towel is too wet to protect the wooden chair, so he convinces Cassie to run and fetch him a dry one.  Jim waits impatiently, prodding his Mac ‘n’ Cheese with his fork. 

The Mathew family eat Mac ‘n’ Cheese for lunch every Saturday and Sunday, and it can not be denied that each one of them eagerly anticipates their favorite meal all through the week. At last everyone is settled and after a quick prayer of thanks is said, they all dig in. 

It is at this very moment, when the buttery cheesy food is finally entering their mouths that Jim's ex-printer, space alien detector goes crazy.  Everyone but Jim goes on eating.  For Jim, aliens are just a little higher on the excitement list than Mac 'n' Cheese.  Afterall, Mac 'n' Cheese is served twice a week.  Aliens don't visit nearly that often.

The End

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