• Jeff South

Cincinnati Chili: Tread

Grover Cleveland Alexander sat across from Dr. Reggie Marsh in one of hundreds of small conference rooms scattered throughout Corporate headquarters. Her hair hung to her shoulders and she nibbled on the earpiece of her glasses as she stared a hole into Grover’s soul. A lithograph hung on the wall behind her with the image of a single drop of water landing in a puddle and its resulting ripple effect. The word ATTITUDE stood under the image in a commanding font. The caption under that read attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference.

Grover assessed what his attitude should be during this meeting with Dr. Marsh. His best course of action, he decided, was to tread lightly.

“Grover.” Dr. Marsh leaned. “May I call you Grover?” Her English accent was alluring and intimidating. He sensed he was about to receive the most polite yet sincere ass-chewings of his life. He responded to her question with a nod and she continued.

“I’m both intrigued and dismayed by your breach of our lab and the subsequent theft of a rather vital piece of intellectual property. What, do tell, have you done with the contents of that bag? The one marked Cincinnati Chili?”

“I gave it away.”

Dr. Marsh drew in a long, measured breath and then blew it out at an equally measured rate. Her facial expression remained blank, offering no hint as to her emotional state.

“To whom did you give it?”

“I don’t think you would believe me if I told you,” Grover said. She rested her chin on her interlocked fingers and offered the slightest of smiles.

“Try me.”


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