ROBERT OVERBEY


DON'T FORGET THE DILL

            One of the jobs I hated most at that place was peeling the hard-boiled eggs. We used them for egg salad sandwiches. I’d have to do like thirty or forty at a time and I’d just rip those things to bits. The manager said to peel them under running water and that would help. I don’t think it did. Sometimes though I’d get one that would peel like a dream. The shell would slide right off in what felt like one whole piece, like slipping a sock off your foot. It was magical. That was rare though and it was mostly me tapping each egg all over with my knuckle, breaking the shell in a thousand tiny cracks, then growing more and more frustrated with each one. I’d eventually just be grabbing at fragments of shell, dragging along chunks of tender profitable egg white, throwing it all down into the sink. The egg salad was pretty good though. Celery, grated red onion (so you get the juice), a little Dijon mustard, paprika, dill, salt, loads of cracked black pepper, and a bucket of mayo.
          I’d finished my first year of college and felt a little dumb working there with the high school girls. But they were nice and apart from the eggs I wasn’t terrible at my job. It was a family run place and the daughter, my manager, was good to me. Their name was Benedict. She was Jenny Benedict. She was my age and also in college. She had lovely long smooth brown legs. I called her Legs Benedict. She never seemed to mind but I found it extra funny when the egg-peeling task was first assigned to me. Looking back, I think we really liked each other. One time she and one of the other girls were going to see a movie after work and they invited me to come. When I went out to the parking lot Jenny was by herself smoking a cigarette in her car. She asked if I was ready and I asked where Morgan was. She said Morgan had to leave and it would just be us. During the movie—I’m sure it was with James Woods and Michael J. Fox—we held hands, rubbed inseams, and kissed. I think her tongue was in my ear before the previews ended. From then on we’d make out in the walk-in fridge at work and find a way to touch one another whenever we passed by. We never went out outside of the sandwich shop on a date again. We just kind of became horny co-workers. I was fine with that. Maybe it’s because we knew we’d be separated in the fall. Maybe we just didn't know what to do with it all. I never gave it much thought until I started going with my first real girlfriend sophomore year. I compared her to Jenny in my mind all the time.
          Things kept on that way for nearly the rest of the summer until mid-August when Jenny burned her hand pretty bad at the deep fryer and stopped coming to work for a while. It wasn’t but a few days before I was meeting Morgan in the walk-in fridge. The day Jenny came back to work she found first thing me and Morgan in the fridge with our shorts unzipped and kissing. Legs Benedict fired me on the spot.
          Anyway, that’s what I think about sometimes whenever I boil an egg now.

 

 

Robert Overbey is a writer of mostly short fiction. He was a shortlist finalist for the Faulkner Society's Pirate's Alley writing competition, and a shortlist finalist for the 2015 Paris Lit Up short story prize. His work is appearing in Sakura Review Volume 6, and he is a regular contributor to Alexandria Quarterly. He received a BFA in creative writing from Goddard College in 2011. He lives in New York City.