Kirk Nunne and his wife, Drea Barr haven’t been having a very good week. First, their fist supplier is late & Kirk discovers him at his shop – murdered. Next, they come home from an event they catered to find their apartment trashed. After spending the night in a hotel, Drea goes shopping only to have the car stolen. Adding insult to injury, their co-worker calls, while they are talking to the police, to tell them their catering business has been vandalized. Someone smeared fish guts all over their building.
“WHAT? WHAT? WHAT?” Kirk couldn’t stop yelling. “WHAT? Fish? Guts? WHAT???”
Now he knew what hysteria felt like. He was falling down a long, deep well, spiraling rapidly as the world spun around him. A rushing sound filled his ears. He could still hear Margo trying to talk to him. His own voice kept saying, “What?” in an oddly detached way.
Someone was trying to get his phone. He lashed out and his wife squawked a reprimand. Instead of apologizing, he let go of his phone and sat on the ground, bruising his tailbone.
“Fish guts,” he mumbled. “Covered – in fish guts. Fish guts?? What the hell??”
Officer Scott tried to talk to him, but it didn’t matter. He was zoned, unable to respond. Not even his wife, who was suddenly remarkably calm, could get through this maniacal haze in which he found himself. A man dressed in a paramedic’s uniform squatted by his side, trying to talk to him. Nothing he said made any difference. The rushing sound was still in Kirk’s ears.
“It’s just food!” He said calmly. That got through to Kirk.
“Just food! Just food?”
“Oh, hell,” Drea said. “You’ve gotten his attention now.”
“Isn’t that a good thing?” The paramedic smiled up at her.
“Not after what you just said. Honey,” she said calmly. “Let go of the nice young man. He didn’t know any better. Sweetheart.”
Kirk had hold of the paramedic’s shirt, dragging him forward, eyes wide, mouth open in a silent scream.
“A burger is just food,” he growled. “French fries drenched in cheap oil, dripping with ketchup. That’s just food! Vegetables sauteed in the purest olive oil, meats braised on a slowly turning spit, roasted peppers tossed with garlic….. That, my boy, is art. Just FOOD?”
His fist tightened on the man’s collar. Drea jerked his hands away, patting the fellow on the shoulders.
“I’m so sorry. That’s probably the worst thing to say to him at the
“He needs to lighten up,” the kid said. “Might want to consider some Xanax or something. Jeesh!”
“He’ll be fine now. Thank you so much for your help.”
“Yeah, no problem lady. But he’s crazy. You know that, right?”
“Simply distraught,” she said quietly. “It’s been quite a busy 24 hours.”
“Whatever, lady.” He stood up, dusted himself off and left.
“Honey, you can’t do that to people, or you’ll get arrested.”
“No prison in the world can hold me,” he mumbled.
“We need to get you out of the sun,” she said quietly. “You’re going to fry.”
“You’re not wearing your lotion. Come now. Before anything worse happens.” She jerked at him, helping him rise. “May we continue this inside? My husband has a sun allergy.” Second only to mine, she added silently.
“But fish guts, honey?” He said in an oddly quiet voice. “Why fish guts?”
“Making a statement?” She asked in a coy fashion designed to make him laugh. It almost did. “Come now, love. This isn’t the worst that’s ever happened. Remember Marseilles?” She murmured.
“I’ve tried for years to forget.”
“Or Salem? Columbus?”
“Darling, you’re not helping….”
“We’ve weathered worse, my dear. That’s all I’m pointing out.”