• Jeff South

Cincinnati Chili: Mindless

Another evening alone for Grover Cleveland Alexander was nothing new. He had grown accustomed to dinners for one in front of a television bingeing something mindless on one of the many streaming services he subscribed to but rarely used. The program about aliens or something droned on in the background while Grover conducted an internet search on his phone for Cincinnati chili.

A Mediterranean-inspired meat sauce that is not to be confused with traditional chili con carne, read one blog. It has more in common with Greek pasta sauces than what you might typically be accustomed to. Cincinnati chili is often served over spaghetti.

“Spaghetti?” Grover asked aloud. He long ago stopped being self-conscious about talking to himself. Who was around to judge him for it?

Two hours later, Grover realized he had been sucked into the internet rabbit hole. He devoured blogs, recipes, and videos about the dish. None of it helped him understand why a project at Corporate would be dubbed ‘Cincinnati Chili’ as a codename. He logged into this work laptop and searched the Corporate intranet for any clues. Nothing.

Perhaps this was all just nonsense. The project was probably just some new marketing idea for a major product rollout and Reggie Marsh inadvertently included him on a proprietary email.

“I’m just trying to make my life interesting,” he said. Again, aloud and to himself without judgment. “There is absolutely nothing weird about a project named ‘Cincinnati Chili.’”

Grover didn’t sleep at all that night.


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