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Latest Stories

July 13, 2018
Mystery Stories Rekha Viswanathan

The Enchanted Woods

The boys are on a trip. A trip into the woods. Accompanied by their family they trudge along a narrow path, a route that had obviously been traced by human footsteps, a trail that had been trodden many a time. They walk cautiously, startled by the snap of a…
July 13, 2018
Flash Fiction Carl Perrin

What Could go Wrong

If you plan every detail carefully, nothing can go wrong. I believed that when I was a teenager. Like the time Billy Long and I decided to make our own beer. Once in a while we used to steal a couple of Billy’s father’s beers, but we were always afraid we…
July 13, 2018
Mystery Stories Mockingbird

A Million Dollars

They say you come to know a person’s true personality when you are no longer beneficial in their life. But what about the people who never were, what if they were the ones who truly define you. The crowd. The people you see and ignore every day or the ones…
July 13, 2018
Science Fiction Stories Saul Greenblatt

A Search for Food and Water

The day they waited for came. The three explorers sat at a table around which were the project director, project managers and assistants. The project director stood. “You three are ready to venture into space to explore a planet that our scientists say is…
July 13, 2018
Crime Stories Thomas Schmidt

Callous Disregard

Myles O'Leary had always been competitive. He saw life as basically a challenge, a challenge that pitted him against the world. And Myles wanted to win. So when news came out that a business competitor, the Strand Corporation, was up for sale, Myles jumped at…
June 24, 2018
Romance Stories Chris Bedell

Better Offer

Admitting I decided to give online dating a try wasn’t something I’d blab about to my parents even if I was almost 29. And no, worrying about what my parents thought didn’t make me strange. My dad was the first person to complain about everything. Like when…
June 24, 2018
Flash Fiction Jim Harrington

Family Reunion

I’m going to a family reunion soon—kind of. You see, I’m dying. The doctor said six months. Right around my sixty-fifth birthday. Bad liver, just like my Pa. Same cause too. We’re both drunks, but I didn’t go around beating up on women and children. In the…
June 24, 2018
Fantasy Stories Stephen J. Matlock

Only A Mother's Love

When the Vreesek conquered Earth, they brought their gods. They don’t plunder our resources. They keep to themselves. After smashing every defense and cratering capitals, they planted their temple-embassies in a hundred cities. We “rule” ourselves under their…
June 24, 2018
Mystery Stories H.J.Garton

And No Birds Sing

You know those car journeys where you don’t realise until you pull on the handbrake that you’ve just driven for miles with your mind elsewhere the whole time? It was after the interview with Diane that I made one of those. In my apartment, I downed two shots…
June 24, 2018
Romance Stories John L. Yelavich

Hands of Steel, Not Today

This morning I had to go to the local hospital for some routine tests. I feel fine, but I guess my urologist wants to make sure that I am on the right path to wherever it is I’m going. My first scheduled test was an ultrasound. There were six of us in the…
June 17, 2018
Poetry Marty Kay

Hand of God

Then there you were. Calling through the din of war, you beckoned, and I obeyed. I make amends. The muzzle of my gun muted, I mask my military might and squat to greet your greatness. Give me your hand. For I am more than war. A mother; my name is Mary. Call…
June 17, 2018
Crime Stories Scott Sinclair

Saturday Night at Fort Apache

Saturday February 8, 1973 I never thought I’d be a cop on the take. Hell, I never planned on being a cop period. My goal was to follow in the footsteps of my older brother Scotty and join the fire department. Succumbing to family pressure to not follow Scotty…

 

 

Most Americans have a highly neurotic relationship with food. Those who grew up during World War II will remember being admonished by their parents to eat everything on their plates. Why? Because there were starving children in Europe.

Then came the all-you-can-eat buffet. They had just two rules. You can keep going back for more and more food. But you couldn’t take any of it home with you.

While attending a convention in Long Beach, California, I found a great buffet nearby, and really stuffed myself. By coincidence, my friend also had eaten there. A few days later we compared notes.

“Didn’t they have great desserts?” he asked.

“They looked good, Len. But by the time I was ready for the desserts, which did look really good, I couldn’t eat another bite.”

“I was just as full. But I forced myself!”

With our attitudes toward food, is it any wonder why two thirds of all American adults are overweight, and one-third are obese?

Is there something built into the American psyche which affects our attitude towards food? Are we afflicted by some kind of food insecurity?

Well, don’t come to me for answers. I’m certainly no expert. I’d just like to tell you about a woman I’ve observed, whose food insecurity is so extreme that her behavior became a distraction during a recent presidential campaign.

 

During the primary, I happened to attend more than a dozen fund-raisers. I was close friends with the finance chairwoman of one of the leading contenders. I’m a partner in one of the nation’s largest PR firms, and these affairs were great places to network.

I quickly found that the higher the price of admission, the better the buffet. Of course, few of the really wealthy folks even looked at the food. At the five-hundred-dollar affairs, the spread would usually include pasta, rolls and butter, and maybe some packaged cookies. At two or three thousand dollars, you’d begin to see caviar and filet mignon.

At one of these fund-raisers, I happened to glance at the buffet and see a rather attractive woman in an evening gown. She was probably in her fifties, quite nicely dressed, and was gazing at the table. What really got my attention was that she was carrying a shopping bag.

I watched her as she moved along the table, very unselfconsciously taking rolls, pieces of cake, and several handfuls of French chocolates, and stuffing them into her shopping bag. Nobody else seemed to notice her.

I might have soon forgotten her, but just a few days later, there she was at another fund-raiser. This time she was chatting with a very distinguished looking gentleman, whom I later learned was a United States Senator. Continuing their conversation, they moved toward the buffet. He picked up a plate and took a few spoonsful of caviar and some crackers, while she began stuffing food into her designer tote bag. They continued talking as he nibbled on the caviar and she filled her bag.

What was up with this woman? Why was she taking food home? She certainly didn’t look poor.

I saw her several more times, nonchalantly filling her bag. Amazingly, no one tried to stop her, or at least ask why she was doing this. Maybe she had some kind of food insecurity. But surely she could have easily afforded to buy all the food she thought she needed.

No one else seemed struck by her behavior. Unless she knew somebody important and got in for free, why would she be paying thousands of dollars just so she could help herself to a few dollars’ worth of food?

Also, it interested me that she never seemed to be eating. I had once known a huge woman who would eat five or six pounds of food at parties, and then stuff whatever she could into her handbag. But the woman I was watching seemed much more obsessed with taking food than eating it.

I didn’t see her for a while, until one evening when my friend and I went to the ultimate fund-raiser. The minimum contribution was two hundred fifty thousand dollars, but if you wanted to spend a little time with the candidate, you had to fork up at least a million. This event was held in perhaps the most spectacular apartment in the city. Consisting of the top three floors of a forty-story condo on Central Park South, the apartment’s windows provided spectacular views in all four directions.

When we arrived, my friend chatted with a couple of Secret Service agents he knew, while another agent thoroughly checked out whatever it was we might be carrying. Then we strolled into a grand ballroom that appeared to be about the size of a basketball court. In another room the candidate worked the crowd, shaking hands, kissing cheeks, and occasionally hugging particularly generous contributors.

After greeting our next president, we went from room-to-room, admiring the artwork and the furnishings. Neither of us had ever seen anything this over-the-top.

And then I saw her. She was chatting with several people, all with drinks in their hands. Did I mention that there were three open bars?

I wandered into the next room and saw a forty-foot very well-stocked buffet. While I was admiring it, she walked right by me. She had a huge green Tiffany’s shopping bag. As she began filling it, two of the secret service agents rushed towards her.

Just before they reached her, another agent intercepted them. They got into a heated discussion. One of them was whispering to the others, “I’m telling you, she’s OK!

“I don’t know, Mike. I don’t remember checking out any Tiffany bags at the door.”

“Jane, do you have any idea who she is?”

“OK, I’ll bite. Who is she?”

“This is her apartment.”

“Are you crazy?”

“No Jane, but would you like to meet someone who really is?”

End

A recovering economics professor, Steve Slavin earns a living writing math and economics books. His short story collection, "To the City, with Love", was just published by Martin Sisters Publishing.

 

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