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4.29.2003 by Rosemary, every Tuesday.

Caution: Adult References & Lots of Beef.

Hey guys. Just a short something this week because I'm still settling into Ottawa for the summer, jobhunting, unpacking... Hope everyone who had exams survived intact.

Oh, and here's the first version of the site for the first part of my bus trip, very belatedly. I'll update it soon, I hope. Enjoy.

He sits in the disarray of the living room, scraping yogurt from the sides of a plastic cup. On television, the man with the large lips demonstrates the capabilities of a meat-cooking product to his blond co-host and an array of elderlies. Curls of steam rise from great sopping hunks of beef as he removes them dramatically from the cookers. At the sight of the shiny meat the blond girl gasps with amazement.

She'd be great in porn, he thinks.

The boxes and bags in the living room seem to take up more space than did his possessions before he packed them away. He has to be done in four hours, in time to taxi to the train station. He knows he'll be cutting it close.

On the screen the blond woman achieves multiple orgasms as the large-lipped man pulls a glistening leg of lam from another cooker. Muffled approval ripples through the crowd. "And with the new steam-free viewing window, you can Cook It and Look It!" exclaims the man. At the bottom of the screen appear the tiny words:

Cook It and Look It (tm) is a registered trademark of Genco Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Absently he scrapes a dob of yogurt up and into his waiting mouth. His eyes never leave the screen. He does this every time an infomercial comes on. He's hunting for weaknesses.

His focus is so complete that he drops a streak of yogurt on his pant leg. As he reaches for a kleenex his eyes catch, once again, the folded letter on the table. Instantly his mind tumbles back to last night.

"Don't go," she says, sobbing brokenly, in the velvet darkness. He strokes her arm; it's soft and somewhat clammy. "Don't go," she repeats, childlike. It's all she can say. "Don't go don't go don't go." He holds her. Cars slide by slickly on the rainy street ouside. The dehumidifier buzzes.

The elderlies rally for a somewhat weak cheer, and he rips his focus back to the television. He blinks. Resumes the hunt.

"See how easy the meat slides onto the cooking rods?" inquires the thick-lipped man rhetorically. His thick arms ripple as he pushes the pointed rods into the heavy flesh of a new hunk of beef.

"Oooh!" squeals the blond girl. "And you don't have to be strong to use it, right?"

There, he thinks. THERE.

"Ah, yes," says the man, squinting just a little. "It's a remarkable system!"

He narrows his eyes at the screen. There was a pause, between the woman's question and the man's patented response. A brief fumble in which the man struggled to push the heavy meat onto the rods. It was there. He's sure of it.

Mostly sure.

The large-lipped man steps back from the cooker, and the camera pans in, focusing on the dark, slowly rotating beef. "Mm, that's a piece of meat you can be proud of," he booms. "And remember, you can..." and he waves his arm in a wide sweep to the crowd.

"Cook It and Look It!" roar the old men and women in unison. They're wearing an entire Wall-Mart clothes department. They look a little like parishioners.

"Aaahhh, it's so lovely!" moans the blond woman. A phone-in number appears on the screen overlaid with a noisy announcer's final appeal, and then, moments later, the rich opening chords of a soap-opera begin.

He pulls his focus away from the screen and relaxes his face, noticing for the first time how tightly his eyes were squinting. He scrapes the last half-spoonful of yogurt from the cup.

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