Chris Offutt, a native of Kentucky, makes his home in Oxford, Mississippi, where he teaches in the MFA English program at the University of Mississippi. Offutt is the author of two story collections, two memoirs, a novel. He is also a screenwriter who has written episodes of True Blood and Weeds. We look forward to his presentation at our fall Symposium, in which he’ll parse the word “trash” as it applies (or rather, is applied) to food. Below, read “Love Triangle,” a flash fiction piece that first appeared in our Gravy quarterly.
I didn’t understand why she left me.
A story by Chris Offutt
She left me for a waiter who dealt coke out of a ribs joint. I told her that was better than a guy who sold ribs in a coke place. She didn’t understand the joke and I didn’t understand why she left me. I watched TV for fifteen hours. During dusk and dawn, it was mostly news, a gray time illuminated by a gray light. My eye didn’t operate at capacity, the pupil never quite knowing whether to open or close. The constant hideous flickering light made my head throb. I decided to be on the news. I dressed in dark clothing and walked in drizzling rain to the ribs restaurant. Cold water ran into my collar and down my back. I should have worn a hat. The waiter was working late. I stood in the employee parking lot beside a dumpster that smelled of rotting meat. I breathed through my mouth. The kitchen crew played loud music as they cleaned up, the kind of raucous music I hated. The waiter left. He walked by without seeing me and I stabbed him twice in the ribs. Maybe now she’d get the joke.
This story first appeared in Gravy #48, a food-and-crime issue guest edited by Jack Pendarvis. To read more from this issue, click here.