THE COLD INSIDE
By AL BRUNO III
Tuesday November 8, 1994
“So what happened then?” Pam asked.
“Ugh.” Carol made a face, “It’s not even about the residents anymore, it’s about insurance and figuring out ways to almost cheat the Medicaid system but not quite.”
“kiss kiss kiss!” Tristam was wearing a wool cap his Dad had gotten him, Cookie was perched atop it squawking and preening.
It was Tuesday, an on schedule Tuesday no less, so they were having spaghetti with meatballs. His sister wasn’t eating any though, all she wanted was a salad. An Elvis CD was playing from the stereo, it was something bland, something from one of his movies.
What I wouldn’t give for a little Nirvana right now. Tristam thought, At least Kurt Cobain had the sense to die before they started trying to put him in musical comedies.
Pam picked at her plate, “You should just go find another job. Plenty of places would be glad to have you.”
“It’s not that easy besides, they have a great benefits package, I cover me and the both of you for a lot less than it would cost me otherwise,” Carol buttered a slice of bread, “some of those higher-paying jobs have insurance that’s garbage, so I’d loose money in the long run.”
“Tristam’s Dad could put him under his insurance,” Pam suggested.
“His father is a pain in the ass when it comes to expenses, better to leave him out of it,” Carol patted her son’s hand, “sorry honey, I’m not insulting you. I’m just-”
“I know,” Tristam shoveled food into his mouth thinking, Maybe if you weren’t such a bitch to him all the time he’d show up a little more often.
“I think maybe we should change the subject,” Carol said, “Pam why are you only having a salad? I hope you’re not going to try starving yourself again.”
“No.” She shrugged “I just had a big lunch.”
Cookie slipped from his roost and fluttered to the floor. Tristam picked himup and put him back atop his head, “Funny I don’t remember seeing you eat anything.”
“You little creep! You’d say anything to get me in trouble.”
“And you’d do anything to stay queen of the snobs.”
“Hey!” Carol said, “I want a meal without arguing.”
She spoke through gritted teeth “I said I. Want. A. Meal. Without. Arguing.”
The finished their dinner in silence marked only by the occasional chirp from the bird.