I was reading another blog earlier today and one of his posts gave me the idea for this one. Of course, we here at the Blog of Stupid have a liking for crusty old men, anyway, so this short short story should fit right in.
The Old Man and the Burger
The Old Man teetered onto the wooden deck and deposited himself cautiously into a conveniently positioned lawn chair. The day was bright and sunny, food was cooking on the grill, he had made it to eighty-five, and he was surrounded by all his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. What more could he ask for?
“Gimme a burger!” He thumped the end of his cane onto the deck surface. “Just ‘cause I’m 85 doesn’t mean I don’t eat!”
“Hi, Gramps!” An adorable little boy grinned at the Old Man, who took an ill-tempered swipe at him with the cane. The boy jumped nimbly aside and laughed, because he thought his great-grandfather was just joking. He wasn’t.
A middle-aged woman approached and handed the Old Man a plate containing a delicious looking burger. The Old Man grabbed the offering, took one look, and promptly threw it over the deck railing.
“Durn thing’s raw,” he said. “Think I’m some sorta’ pervert? Gimme somethin’ cooked! If I was to bite into that last piece o’ meat, it would’a whimpered in pain.”
The woman returned to the grill and was soon back with another burger, which the Old Man snatched from the plate and inspected with a watery, but gimlet, eye. The burger sailed over the railing.
“Burnt,” the Old Man said. “Just smellin’ the thing gave me emphysema. You tryin’ to kill me, daughter?”
The woman did not reply, but returned to the grill to once again attempt a culinary coup. It was difficult to please the Old Man, because it was his hobby to be displeased and he considered it a grave personal failure to appear pleased about anything.
Seeing that the Old Man was waiting alone, one of his grandsons approached and sat down next to him.
“Glad we could all be together, Gramps.”
“Nice day, isn’t it?”
“Seen a better one in ’49.”
Struggling for proper conversation material, the grandson asked, “So, tell me how you made it to 85, Gramps.”
“I was stupid.”
“You act like I wanted to live this long!”
“Well, didn’t you?”
“What for? Can’t even get a decent burger these days.”
“But still, it’s quite an accomplishment,” the younger man insisted.
“T’weren’t nothin’,” the Old Man gruffed. “I just kept blowin' out the candles. Burger!”
As if on cue, the cook returned with yet another meat and bread offering. The Old Man took the plate and scrutinized the hamburger. He removed the top portion of the bun and poked at the meat with one knobby finger. His daughter stood there nervously, awaiting the Old Man’s verdict. The seconds ticked by and the Old Man continued to inspect the food. At last, he picked it up with both hands and took a tentative nibble. He chewed for a bit and then looked up at his daughter, who looked back hopefully.
“It’s nasty,” he said. “But I’m too hungry to wait any more. It’ll have to do.” With that, he polished off the burger in three massive bites and washed it down with a glass of iced tea. Wiping his mouth with the back of his hand, he belched and then shuddered. “Nastiest tastin’ burger I ever et. Gimme ‘nother.”