Then, the soup

At 8-ish in the morning on the 5th of July, awakened by a leftover fireworks boom de yada, I came out of my room to pee, just as my flatmate Dean was coming out of the bathroom.

I said as little as possible to him, "Hi" or something equally eloquent, stepped into the john and almost slammed the door. He'd said nothing to me, which is highly unusual, almost miraculous.

Peeing takes a long time these days, so it might've been a minute or more before I flushed and emerged. Dean was standing right outside the bathroom door, waiting for me.

"The fuck?" I said, scowling and ready to holler.

"I'm making cream of celery soup," he said.

"OK," I said, "don't forget you're cooking." Several times he's forgotten he's cooking, and walked away and started reading a book or talking on the phone, until the smoke alarm goes off.

Even as I spoke I was walking, on a mission from God to reach my bedroom door and be on the other side of it, but over the course of those few footsteps, Dean told me about the celery he'd purchased, and the onions and garlic and some kind of cheese that would all go into his marvelous soup.

With my door only a few feet away, he began summarizing all the compliments his cream of celery soup has earned every time he's made it. From the experience of so many invitations declined, there was no doubt he was about to tell me I'd be welcome to have some soup that evening, but I hurried behind my door and closed it before he'd said it.

♦ ♦ ♦  

A couple of hours later, again I emerged to pee, and laughed out loud when I saw Dean standing at the stove, stirring a pot, wearing a very large, very puffy chef's hat. That man loves to cook, and many times I've seen him cooking in our kitchen, but never before had I seen him wearing a chef's hat.

The soup smelled pretty good, silly hat or no.

♦ ♦ ♦  

A few pees later, Dean was again in my path to the toilet, and there came the dreaded invitation to soup.

I've declined Dean's invitations thirty times, maybe more. Whenever he cooks, he wants everyone to join him for the delicious, excellent, world-acclaimed whatever he's made.

From the few times I've relented and accepted his invitation, there's no doubt that Dean's cream of celery soup will be OK. It'll be every bit as good as if he'd opened a can of Campbell's, but it'll come with a conversation without end.

Soup? Maybe. An hour with Dean? No.

"Thanks, man," I said, "but no thanks."

"There's plenty," he said, and I know.

Always there's plenty, because Dean never scales his recipes down. They're all restaurant recipes, which he cooks in enormous pans and pots, in enormous quantities, most of which become leftovers, and most of the leftovers become rot.

♦ ♦ ♦  

At 6:30 or so, Dean knocked on my room's door, and said cheerily, "Soup's on."

"We've been over this," I shouted above the blare of my three electric fans. Seattle's having a week or two of highs around 90°, and the house has no air conditioning, so my fans are always on.

"OK, sorry," Dean answered through the door, "but if you change your mind..."

♦ ♦ ♦  

I did not change my mind, and Dean and Robert ate soup in the kitchen for far longer than it takes to eat soup.

They (almost entirely, Dean) talked and talked, but here's an unexpected pleasure: My fans at full blast drowned out the words of their undoubtedly inane conversation, leaving only an almost pleasant, almost musical sound.

Still didn't want to hear it, but indecipherable is an improvement. So I heard only Dean's baritone voice, without words... and more of Dean's voice, more of Dean's voice, more of Dean's voice, and then Dean laughed at something Dean had said.

And then several more minutes of Dean's voice, until just when I'd almost forgotten that Robert might be in the kitchen, too, there came a moment of Robert's voice... followed by more of Dean's voice, for another ten minutes before Robert might be allowed to say something again (but keep it brief, buddy).

♦ ♦ ♦ 

Three days have passed since the night of the soup, so let's follow the progress of Dean's very large pot of cream of celery, which he's told me twice is very excellent.

It remained on the stove-top, uncovered, until Wednesday evening, when again he offered me some, again I grunted no thanks, and again Dean performed his kitchen concert of solo conversation with Robert, over soup, and again I couldn't hear the words.

On Thursday morning, the giant vat of the world's most excellent and amazing cream of celery soup was moved, still uncovered, into the refrigerator I share with Dean. It's still there, and there it will stay, until it begins to mold.



  1. >I saw Dean standing at the stove, stirring a pot, wearing a very large, very puffy chef's hat.

    Hahahaha, I am laughing now, and I guarantee I'd have laughed if I had seen it in person. What a fucking choad.

    1. He wants your attention and appreciation and compliments, wants you to scratch behind his ears. He's a cocker spaniel puppy... in a chef's hat.


The site's software sometimes swallows comments. For less frustration, send an email and I'll post it as a comment.