**previously published by Dark Fountain Magazine.**
by: Rebecca Taylor
It was late in the day when Gord Taft arrived home from his job at the flooring warehouse. He entered through the kitchen door, and immediately the smells of a home cooked meal hit him. His heart starting pumping faster. His hands tightly gripped his set of keys. I must be hungry, I’m losing my mind, he thought but a glance at the kitchen table told him he was sane. It was laden with food; there was enough food to feed a large family. There was a turkey sitting at his place waiting to be carved, cranberry sauce, homemade rolls, several kinds of salads and vegetables, and a multitude of pies on his counter. There wasn’t a dish in the sink, the stove was off, the dishes didn’t look familiar. What is going on here? I don’t own a serving dish, there is no way that I could cook all this and still have the kitchen look this good. The door was locked when I came in, I’ll check the back one. It was locked too, Gord walked through the rest of the house but everything looked untouched just as he had left it that morning. This doesn’t make sense, if someone did happen to break into my house, they would have taken something not brought me a feast that would feed dozens of people. What do I do now? Do I call the police because someone was obviously here? Will they believe me and realize that I am not some crazy attention-needing bachelor. The food smells so good too, but I don’t dare eat it, who knows who made it or why they were here. I’m going for a walk; I’m going to figure out what to do about this.
Gord strode out of the house and locked the door. His knuckles were white from clenching the keys so tightly. He stuck the keys in his pockets and walked out onto the sidewalk. He walked around the block and then not knowing why he ended up outside Claire Post’s door. He knocked and Claire came to the door crying followed by an older couple.
“Can you come back later, Gord, this isn’t a good time,” sobbed Claire.
“What’s wrong?” asked Gord ignoring Claire’s request for him to go away.
“These are my parents; they brought a feast and were going to be meeting Charles for the first time. They met me at work, got my car and keys, and then headed here to get the food ready for tonight, and then they headed back to get me. I drove home and expected to see a beautiful dinner all prepared and what do I find a cold empty kitchen. Somebody came in and stole my special supper. Charles is going to be here any time with his parents and we were all going to get to know each other over dinner but now I have no dinner. I’m going to call the police.”
Gord’s facial expression remained indifferent. “Come with me, I want to show you something, you’re going to like this.”
“Were you not listening to me?” snapped Claire, “my supper was stolen and you want to show me something.”
“Just come on, don’t argue.”
Claire and her parents followed Gord out of the house and down the driveway and then headed up an identical driveway to an identical house. Gord let them into the kitchen immediately, the smell of a home cooked meal greeted them.
“That’s the feast!” exclaimed Mrs. Post.
“I’m calling the police, why did you do it, you thief,” demanded Mr. Post.
“Whoa, hold on a minute,” said Gord struggling to keep a straight face. “Claire, did the set of keys you gave your parents have my key on it, the one I gave you in case of an emergency?”
“Yes, I keep all my keys together so I don’t lose them.”
“Your parents let themselves into my house not yours,” answered Gord allowing himself to laugh for the first time since he had first come home to find the feast.
After giving herself a minute to take in the information, Claire laughed about the uncanny situation. “Daddy, you owe Gord an apology, he didn’t steal your food, you and Mama put it in his house not mine. You never listen to me. I told you it was the third house from the corner; you know that and my address.”
A few hours later, the dinner party and Gord were finishing the feast, still laughing about the key confusion.