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from Harvester by Tom Mohler

Dinner with Annie

Annie’s prepared what used to be my favorite: roast beef and baby red potatoes slow cooked in the crock pot. At this moment the mere sight of food is repulsive, the commingling of smells tickling my taste buds like a dose of ipecac.

“Wyatt, I wish you’d eat something. Anything, really,” Annie says pleading.

“I’m just… not hungry.”

“Well I haven’t seen you eat anything in days. Nothing except for that damn bottle you’re always nursing.”

“It’s the only thing that helps.” I bring the fresh bottle of Davey up to the table and crack the seal, screwing off the cap with my thumb in one smooth motion.

“Really, Wyatt? At the dinner table now?”

I lift the bottle to my lips and take a couple of deep gulps. That taste, it’s just like heaven. I sit the bottle on the table and stare into my plate full of sloppy wet meat and spuds. It makes me want to puke so I belch and just keep on staring, trying not to vomit all over the table.

“Jesus Christ, Wyatt,” I hear in the distance, a voice that speaks at me like an echo through a tunnel. I take another swig from old pal Davy as the clock ticks away in the silence of our presence. Each passing second resounds like the cracking of a whip as it tocks on by. I look up from my plate into Annabelle’s face. Her mouth is agape and eyes narrowed. “Wyatt?”

“Oh. Hi, sweetheart.”

“Really? Hi, sweetheart?”

“What?”

“You really need to see a doctor, Wyatt. I’m not joking—...






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