Dialogue from a novel I’m currently working on, called ‘Fathers and Sons’

“Set that chicken and…what do you call that other stuff down here again, I should know this.” Carol loops around the island and has her hands rested against the immaculate greyscale marble on the other side, lips pushed out while she looks up squinting at the ceiling.

“Fixin’s,” I say with a forced southern twang. 

“Fixings, exactly, right there on the island if you don’t mind. I hear Bob getting his self together, he should be in here shortly and we’ll all fix a plate. Fix a plate. Hey, maybe that’s where that comes from!”

“Maybe!” I offer excitedly. “Dad always said it came from the Great Depression, when you couldn’t necessarily count on the quality of the meat, or meat altogether. He said a good set of sides could ‘fix’ that for you.” I’m ruffling the plastic and pretending like I’m doing something to prepare this piping hot food sealed in styrofoam and plastic and grease soaked cardboard lined in shiny white wax. 

“Is that true Pastor, or one of your tall tales?” Carol speaks as she truly dissects the flimsy plastic bags and begins arranging the containers in a line, potatoes beside the gravy, green beans popped open and steaming, biscuit box beside the chicken bucket and the crinkly bag balled and buried in the trash inside a cabinet at her feet. 

“True, that he said it, yes, but beyond that there’s no telling. Dad doesn’t really speak in plain fact. You’re always kind of trying to discern just how tall the story he’s telling is.”

“Oooo,” she exclaimed, “I’d love to meet that man sometime. Sounds like such a character.”

“Yes, and some characters are best known by their stories rather than in person. He can be a handful, so to speak.”

The price of water.

Man, he was laying it on iron thick. As they do. Man. Men.
When they had something to prove. Back in the day.
But never dealt with it then. So here he is now.

Finger painting for about four young faces a pastel utopia
that somehow ends with him richer than all of them
and us somehow happy about it.

Like a toddler does, he said our heads had been brainwashed,
green paint between fingers and a dash of red on his cheeks.
See, these are the trees. There is the sun.
Here is you and me. Look closely. He says.
Closer so you’ll see.
Look at the expressions on your smudged finger traced faces.
I painted you smiling you silly young shits.

Brainwashed,
somehow liberally biased,
wonderful young people
who really are good friends and family.
Communists.
I love you. I really do.
I wanted to say that,
in spite of needing to.

This was nice. Everyone needs to have chats like this.
You, and your flimsy words of food for the world.
And him. Yelling at you for considering it. Socialist.
Communist. Bleeding heart food is a right political
upheaval might be possible in a lifetime idealistics.
You possibilists. And your overactive imaginations.

And him.
Business man.
Watching profit margins like a weather report with the world on fire.
He knows we will get around to putting it out. Eventually.

It’s just that every year with the world on fire,
the price of water rises.