Ralph and John sit on opposite sides of a round table in a kitchen straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting. In the midst of their argument, John is exasperated and Ralph is beginning to despair.
“Ralph, we don’t have any other option. We need to eat Alice.”
“But she’s, she’s -”
“Ralph, we’ve been over this. We’re out of food. We need to eat. Alice is all we have.”
“But can’t we go to the store?”
“No, we can’t go to the store.”
“What about the garden plants?”
“We ate the last of the edible ones last night. All that’s left is the oleander and some mushrooms.”
“Mushrooms! We can eat mushrooms!”
“I don’t know if they’re edible, and I’m not going to risk it. Alice is what we have.”
“We should risk it. We can find out, I’ll try them.”
“No, I’m not letting you eat the mushrooms. We’re going to cook and eat Alice. We need protein.”
“Let’s just wait a couple of days, something could come up.”
“You want to wait until we’re starving to kill her?”
“No, I -”
“Until we can’t give her the respect she deserves when we murder her? Until we slaughter her in an animal rage?”
Ralph silently looks at the table-top. The chicken-shaped salt shaker is half full, and the rooster-shaped pepper has been empty a long time. They’ve been salting everything they’ve eaten for the last two months to make the taste bearable. This is the last of the salt.
“I don’t want this any more than you do. I know how much you care about Alice.”
“Then why are you doing this?”
“I told you, we don’t have any other option. It’s us or Alice.”
John pushes away from the table. He is midway to standing when Ralph interrupts him.
“It’s because she’s different, isn’t it?”
“Ralph, come on.”
John leaves Ralph staring at the salt shaker. After John has left the room, Ralph begins to sob.
Later that night, at a dinner party in a living room straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting, Ralph comes to the table where Alice’s cooked remains are being served. She’s laid out on a green platter. Henry, their neighbor, walks up and pats Ralph on the back.
“That was one mixed-up little rooster, but one hell of a tasty bird!”
Ralph has the terror of heart-break in his eyes.
“Green was her favorite color!”