“The Pot Calling the Kettle Black” © C.P. Hickey 2018
There, on the sink sideboard was the pot.
First, it was in the fridge for a month.
Then, on a delayed trash day after a holiday weekend,
it somehow made it onto the sink sideboard to be emptied.
It didn’t get emptied.
The pot just sat there.
The dankest and most disgusting tasks at my house, fall to me.
“Throw the pot out,” she said.
“I can’t, it was my Father’s,” I said.
So the pot resided on the sink sideboard until further notice.
One day, maybe a few weeks later.
I decided to deal with the pot.
She was out of the house, triple involved with the kids.
I grabbed the faucet and pushed it all the way back, in a quick movement.
I needed hot water.
Only that, would do.
Steam rose from the sink basin.
It was time.
I retrieved the pot from the sink sideboard,
and placed it in the sink.
I let the water run over the lid,
and down the sides of the stainless steel exterior.
Steel wool, agitator wand, sponges, I needed all of it.
The moment of truth.
I took a deep breath.
Grabbed the lid handle of the pot,
and removed it, quite carefully.
As one might try to remove a sticky Band-aid from a patch of hairy skin.
I mean, never.
Never-ever, ever, smelled something so rank in my life.
I immediately moved the faucet over the center of the organic amalgam that resided in the depth of the pot.
It had been something else, at some other time.
I can’t remember what it was in its previous life.
I could only bear witness to what it had become.
Extra pumps of citrus dish soap only gave the olid aroma coming from the pot a more nuanced and cloying presence.
I went to the stove and turned on the tea kettle.
I looked back into the sink at the copious soap suds overflowing from the pot.
It evolved into a sudsy mushroom cloud atop stainless-steel structure.
Time went by, then I turned the pot over and watched most of the contents do a primordial wiggle out into the basin.
The fluid offal circled the drain and plopped into the awaiting disposal.
The disposal hummed with purpose,
and made the acrid contents more homogenous.
Lumps, and furry penicillin entities rode the tsunami wave of egress into a new physical reality.
When the kettle whistle pierced the air,
I brought the boiling water to bear on any remainders.
Then, I rocked from side to side, and got all up in the pot.
Appendages, lengths, aggressive elbows went to task.
I systematically went about freeing any of the contagion that had been left behind in the stained stainless steel container.
A steamy warm melancholy overtook the kitchen.
My feet were soiled wet from overflow, and I could feel my toes become squishy.
I grew aggressive and channeled my rage.
A final rinsing.
Laps around the track.
I brought the pot up to my nose and inhaled deeply.
I placed it upside down on the dish strainer to drip-dry.
There it remained drying in the silence of a lonely kitchen.
Until, the canary yellow wall-mounted landline phone exploded with necessity.
“Yes,…yes,…yes,…I can do that. Sure,…I’ll see you around 8 tomorrow. Ok.”
I strode over to the post-modern sculpture residing in the dish strainer, retrieved the dried pot and set it atop the largest burner on the stove.
I ignited the burner.
I collected my spices, and the ground beef wrapped up in wax paper that sat atop the first shelf in the fridge.
I sauntered over to the heating pot, and opened the wax paper parcel and allowed the contents to succumb to gravity.
The sizzle the pot made as the pink dandies hit the stainless-steel, raised the hairs on the back of my neck.
They were definitely going to love my homemade chili.