The Goulash


“Mom and Dad are gone. So is everyone. Do you understand?”

Beautiful green eyes obscured by pointy clumps of black hair—a perfect little kid Anime character. Those were my mother’s eyes and they trusted me.
“You are not allowed to cry.”
He swallowed back his tears. Brave boy has it together.
“We have each other. That’s it.”
He nodded. What a great little brother.
“Wha…what about the people outside?” his trusting eyes pleaded with me.

“You don’t get it? They’re just zombies. Mom and Dad went out there and we haven’t heard from them in days.”
He looked down. His tiny corpus was still, but I saw shiny droplets on the floor by his crossed legs.
“You promised not to cry.”

He looked up; his eyes were wet, but the crying had stopped.
“We are safe, but running out of food.”
“Why can’t we order pizza?”
“Are you stupid? Who’s going to deliver it? A flesh-eating monster! That’s who!”
“Don’t yell, Portentia!”

“When you were asleep, I heard that rescue craft from Europe were coming. But.

Not for weeks. We both won’t make it.”
He knew I had a solution.
“I’m going to have to eat you.”
“Why do you have to eat me?”
“Because I’m older. You’re too small for the post-apocalypse.
He sobbed like his life depended on it.

“Franzie, dear, sweet Franzie, please. Remember when you were sick, and I stayed up all night reading to you?”

The tears flowed.
“You want your big sister to live, right?”
He nodded.
“I promise to have lots of babies. And I’ll name them all Franz. I promise.”
Little rivers debouched from two green oceans.
“What about me?”
“You will live inside of me. I mean I’ll poop you out, but your spirit will stay. We’ll go on every adventure together.

You just need to eat these candies. We have to hurry.”
“Portentia, you promise?”
“I promise.”
I fed him 30 Valium—one by one. My mother kept them in a medicine bottle with a different lady’s name.

I made sure he drank lots of water.

I told him that last summer our parents had told me they loved him more. And he smiled as his little eyes drooped. Actually my mother had told me, drunk, that I was the product of an affair. Franzie had saved my parents’ marriage.
When he became a corpse, I cut it up with a cleaver from Chinatown, the expensive kind. I did the whole thing in the bathtub and ruined a cutting board.

I put all the pieces in Ziploc® lunchbags, and they fit in the freezer with plenty of room to spare.

Two weeks later, after I had gone through the first dozen recipes in ex-grandma’s cookbook, the front door suddenly burst open.
“Portentia! Franzie! The islands were grand!” I heard my mother.
My father’s deep voice joked that we hadn’t burned the apartment down.

I greeted them with goulash seasoned by 47 crushed up Oxycodone pills.



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