The Short Humour Site

Home : Writers' Showcase : Submission Guidelines : A Man of a Few More Words : Links

Writers' Showcase

A Paean to Stewed Tomatoes
by Bill Tope

"I almost didn't answer the door," remarked
Wendy, staring out at the figure standing on
her doorstep. "I almost didn't ring the bell,"
observed her visitor. "Come on in," Wendy
invited, standing aside.
Once ensconced in the living room, the two
women watched each other carefully, as if on
guard against some possible mischief.  Finally
Wendy relaxed, said, "How long has it been,
Paula breathed deeply, let the air out through
her nose, replied, "Two years, four months and
eight days." "Very precise," said Wendy.
"When someone cuts your heart out, you become
precise," said Paula. She nervously twisted the
gloves she held in her hands.
"Are you ever going to get over what happened,
Paula?" asked Wendy wearily. She rolled her eyes.
"Don't roll your eyes at me, Wendy Bell," snarled the
other woman. "I spent two weeks in the hospital
following that last little....escapade!"
"But why do you blame me?" cried Wendy. "I didn't
make you use those tomatoes that Cheryl found in the
dumpster." "No, but you put them there, knowing that
Cheryl--your friend--might find them. And you
also knew that Cheryl was helping me shop because
of my broken foot. You know is a regular Dumpster
Wendy folded her arms across her chest, tapped her
foot impatiently on the carpeted floor. "And I suppose
it's also my fault that you decided to make chili that
very night?" she asked sardonically.
"No, that was Cheryl's idea, too," said Paula, almost in
tears.  "I don't know what it is about that woman, but I
just can't seem to resist her.  She's very persuasive,"
she added.  Wendy glanced casually at her wristwatch,
said, "Cheryl is supposed to be over in just a few
minutes. Maybe you'd better leave, if you still hold her
responsible for your case of food poisoning."
Paula looked down. "Perhaps you're right."  She
lifted her bag off the Steinway and prepared to
depart.  Suddenly the doorbell rang . The two
women exchanged an anxious look and reluctantly
Wendy pulled the door open.
There, of course, stood Cheryl, a No. 10 can of Del
Monte Stewed Tomatoes clutched in each fist.
Oblivious to the tension in the air, the latecomer
pushed a can on each woman and said, "Had to fight
a tomcat--not yours, Dear--for these treasures, plus
I got this," and she held out a frozen turkey and gravy
dinner, vintage 1978.
"Some nitwit unwisely disposed of this in your
neighbor's dumpster, Wendy. Can you imagine that?"
She laughed giddily, accidentally dropped the frozen
dinner on Paula's foot, which fractured instantly.
"I'm sorry, Paula," murmured Cheryl. "Is there anything
I can do to help you with your broken foot?"
"Yes," cried Paula, taking the stewed tomatoes and the
frozen dinner in hand and leading Cheryl to the door.
"Dear, you can help me with my shopping again; I saved
so much money when you helped that time before..."
"Hadn't you better go to  the hospital first?" inquired
Wendy. "No, that's alright," said Paula dismissively. "We
can go the hospital after I make the chili." She paused for
an instant, then remarked, "I just love to cook with Del
Monte!" And out the door they paraded.