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  • Writer's pictureJeff South

Cincinnati Chili: Ash

Can you ever really trust anyone?

People have betrayed my trust often, Grover thought. Some in big ways, like the girl in college who cheated on him with his best friend. Some deeds are of lesser consequence, like when the barista gets his coffee order wrong. Then, there was the time his older brother told him to try some chocolate milk, which was really buttermilk mixed with ash from their fireplace. A seemingly never-ending series of events such as those provided the foundation for Grover’s trust issues. It was a concept he didn’t take lightly.

So it was that he faced Gwen’s question. “Can I trust you?”

Her round eyes searched him for an answer. With the simple utterance of “my buyers are going to be so disappointed,” Gwen revealed she was a person with secrets and she needed to confide in him. He matched the gaze of his work crush, a woman for whom he had pined since he first met her at Corporate. He sensed this was his chance to demonstrate that he was more than just the guy who sat across from her at work. He was a confidant.

“Yes.” He sat in the chair across from her at the dining table. “Yes, of course, you can trust me.”

A gnawing pang grew in Grover’s stomach. Gwen has secrets, he thought. Does that mean he shouldn’t trust her? What was she hiding?

“I need you to have an open mind, Grover.”

He nodded.

“First, how do you feel about aliens?”

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