• Jeff South

Cincinnati Chili: Overgrown

Grover and Gwen arrived at a dilapidated rental house in a part of town Grover never frequented. A rusted chain link fence leaned back as if to say it wouldn’t stand in anyone’s way. They walked up the sidewalk, stepped onto what could have once been described as a porch. The lack of a porch light combined with an impending sense of doom made the darkness of the night even more ominous. Gwen knocked three times on the door. She paused and knocked two more times. A tiny window a few inches wide in the middle of the door slid open and a pair of eyes peered out.

“What’s the password?” a voice behind the door growled.

“The password,” Gwen replied, “is ‘password’ with a capital ‘P’ and two dollar signs."

The window slid shut and a heavy silence followed.

“You’re kidding, right?” Grover asked. “Where are we?”

“Just keep an open mind. What you’re about to see is life-changing.”

The door opened and a man in a bowling shirt and khakis stood before them. He eyed Grover with suspicion.

“Who’s this guy?”

“He found the Cincinnati Chili.”

Grover held out the Styrofoam container of stolen goods for confirmation.

“No shit. C’mon.” The man led them down a short hallway to a basement door.

“It’s not what we thought it was, Dub. It’s just chili and spaghetti.”

Dub’s eyes widened. “Nope. I think that’s just what we need. Let’s go.”

Grover swallowed hard and Gwen squeezed his hand as they descended the stairs to the dimly lit basement. They reached the bottom and the last thing Grover saw before he fainted was a collection of overgrown anthropomorphic lizard men.


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