Short fiction: Steak and Eggs


“Where did you get the recipe for this? I never thought of putting an egg on a slice of venison. But its really good!”

I’m still cooking at the stove; lift one end of an egg to see if it is cooked enough to turn over. “Bobby Walker taught me that.”

Jim stops eating and puts down his fork. His nephew Tommy looks up at his reaction.

“Where’s he at these days?” Jim asks after a small silence.

“Off somewhere recuperating. You know how that is.”

Jim cuts another piece of venison and sops it in the yolk, then holds it up on his fork. “Bobby Walker? You wouldn’t think it.”

“Oh, c’mon. Don’t be that way.”

Tommy looks over at me with his best innocent face. Its meant to portray he would never repeat what he is asking to hear ..unless. A little bit like his uncle. “Who is Mr. Walker?”

I motion for his plate and he hands it over. “Sunny side up?”

“Yessir. ” The thin sliced venison is already on the plate so I pile the eggs on top and throw some salt on it; hand it back. What do you say to a question like that? I drop two more eggs in the pan for me.

“He’s a brother in Christ that had to be born again and live that way for many years and remember what it was really like to not be born again.”

Tommy: “I thought we all had to be born again.”

Me: “We do. We did. But Bobby had some baggage we didn’t have when he got there. Before that, he was ..victimized and taught he wasn’t a victim but was real smart to be living that way.”

Tommy: He was a homosexual?

Jim: “No. Though I know why you’d think that just hearin’ about him. He..” Jim looks at me. “How do you even tell such a thing?”

Me: I put some salt on my eggs. “You’re a young man, so you probably don’t remember the Free Will Baptist-Methodist Church downtown some years back. Had that affiliation with the PCUSA and the Episcopalians?”

“The one that got closed up? Hey, this is really good.” Tommy chews on the venison and eggs.

Me: “Yeah. Well, Bobby grew up in that church. His momma was a deacon, kind of a over-bearing woman, and Bobby was a bit hen-pecked. But he wasn’t effeminate. He just went along with whatever they were preachin’ and tried to be a zealot for his mother. And that happened at that time when a wave of female sterilizations went over that congregation.”

Tommy: “They had women deacons?!”

Jim: “That and a lot more than that.”

Tommy: “What’s a sterilization?”

Jim: “It’s where they take out the female parts of a woman so she can’t have any children.”

Tommy stops eating and stares at me. “Did they drug them and take them somewhere?”

Jim: “No. That’s what they were preaching to them from the pulpit. They believed that everybody has freedom to do whatever they want and that in order to keep yourself free to do whatever you run into next that you might want to do you have to do some strange things. To stay free, see? So the women sterilized themselves with the help of some doctors who were set up in town for the purpose and the pills to kill the seed miraculously showed up at the same time.”

Me: “They thought that serving the idea of freedom to do anything was actually worshiping God. I mean, they had hymns that sang that and prayers that prayed that, books that portrayed that and everything. Even had movies that made the women who didn’t get sterilized out to be victims of abuse and those that did as heroes.”

Jim: “Every time a girl got pregnant, especially one that wasn’t married, they hold her up as a tragedy. The children were portrayed to be like a disease. They had some Pakistani doctors in here and some from the University over in Gainesville; medical grants all set up. I mean if you looked at it from a military point of view, it was a smooth operation: the resources to get it done were all in place and the preacher made out it was God’s grace.”

Tommy: “And Bobby?”

Me: “Bobby’s mother was one of those women. He was an only child after she did the deed. His father left them after that and so his momma did all she could to teach him she was right. Had a dead womb, a hungry pussy, a guilty conscience and big mouth fully deceived his dick was gonna fix all that. ‘Cause she thought she already had Christ and bein’ her was bein’ Christian.”

Tommy: I don’t get that.

Jim: “You’re a young man. They teach the young men these days that the ideal is free sex. What’s being portrayed to you is that you ought to want sex and yet want to maintain your freedom to do anything at the same time. So a sterile women might seem the ideal in that scenario. But in truth, you want children. That’s just how that is. And Bobby’s father got tired of knocking on the door of an empty box. Sex is for a purpose, not just pleasure. All the sexy underwear and weird pictures in the world ain’t gonna make up for any loss of children.”

Me: I lift on one egg to see if it is sticking to the pan. “So he left and she tried to make Bobby think it was his fault. And all the girls at that church were of the same mind; they were wanting sex to keep the boys interested in them and taking pills to kill the seed that was being sowed and finally just cutting their wombs out because they thought that was how they could control the boys. And that’s all Bobby ever knew  -everybody around him was saying the same thing except our parents and his mother was calling us the low-class church. Along with all the grants to sterilize the women they had everything at her Church; a nice gym, a swimming pool, four or five big church buses, international exchange programs, political meetings..”

Jim: “They owned that youth camp down on Blue Lake Road. Had lots of fun. I think one year they went to England and sang their hymns for the queen.”

Tommy: “We ain’t got nothing like that!”

Jim smiles: “We got children instead. You for instance.”

Tommy chews on a piece of venison: “And he was born again anyway.”

Me: “That’s a fact. Heard John Norwood one night on the radio. But the thing was, he didn’t see how he could serve Christ after all that in his past. I mean, there are a lot of pagan people that know better than to sterilize themselves. And when they find out about his past, then they’d say “We already know more than you do” –as if he weren’t born again and he was just making up a new religion and telling them they ought to change ideas.”

Jim: “So he didn’t know what to do. Didn’t want to be reminded of it every time he passed the building. So he left.”

Me: “And that’s usually how it is. You’re born again and see what was happening all along and you’re ashamed of all that. But you can’t go back and undo it. And he had gotten married and his wife had done the same to him –and he just expected it by then.”

Jim “That’s particularly hard on a free willer, ’cause everything they do is about how to fool somebody into giving you what you want; everything in life when you believe that stuff is a contest of wills. Their love making is figuring how to get past each other to some emotional goal they can talk about later; they get sly like that.Whenever they make love they’re just gettin’ over on each other. And Bobby never really understood what ‘sterilized’ means until after he was born again. You can’t get past that at all. But free willers think they can think themselves out of anything and figure out a way to a desire.”

Me: “So he was basically intellectualizin’ about how to pick her lock when they were having sex and he didn’t see that even if he succeeded there wasn’t nothin’ in that box. They had him too busy havin’ fun at out-thinking her.”

Me: “Then she left him for some other man when it started to dawn on him. ‘The sex died’ as they say.”

Tommy: “How come they closed down the church?”

Me: “The preacher and his staff just up and left one day. They had already gotten most of the women to sterilize themselves and the women were finding out that all the promises made from the pulpit were lies. And the whole time they thought they were true and were blaming the men and the boys for not doing their part of the lie. That made the men and boys furious because nobody can deliver what a lie promises.  So the men and boys were just being falsely accused twenty four seven and made to feel guilty for nothing. That was showing up when you had to work with them in the public. The women and girls were becoming more plain witches in an effort to learn how not to be ashamed and using the church buildings to have Wiccan meetings and the like. Some of the young men were becoming homosexuals because they didn’t want anything to do with the girls. The whole thing was becoming obvious to everybody that it wasn’t Christian; they had gotten  the money and the kids, made sure they sowed dissension among all they could and they left. Nobody has seen them since. They’re probably just went somewhere else and started over.”

Tommy: “and he’s the one that gave you this recipe?

Me: I remember it like it was yesterday: We were cleaning  a deer over at Jacob’s place and he looked side to side before he looked at me, like he was being watched all the time and had to whisper any truth he knew and said: “I ain’t sayin’ nothin’, but if you was to cut that ham off the bone, freeze it, put it in the oven while it was frozen at about three fifty or four hundred degrees and put a piece of aluminum foil over it for about three or fours hours, then cut it diagonal, so you get the long slices and put two fried eggs on a slice, that might be good eatin’.” Before then, I had never thought of it.. even though, of course, everybody has heard of steak and eggs. The minute I heard it I thought two things: it would be a good recipe and he needed prayer beyond what he knew to ask for. And God sent a prayer for him through me.

Tommy: “Think you’ll ever see him again?”

Me:  “I hope so. He’s my brother.”

Jim nods: “And we all got stories. They may not be like his. But we still got them.”

———————-

1John 4:20,21  If any one say, I love God, and hate his brother, he is a liar: for he that loves not his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen?   And this commandment have we from him, That he that loves God love also his brother.

In the Name of Jesus Christ, Amen

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