Garbage disposals are an example of humanity in its’ prime. If you buy the right one, you can even get rid of small bones. They’re downright amazing. Noodles, meat scraps, cereal? My Insinkerator devours it all.
At least until something got lodged in it. I was flushing a bowl of my Grandma’s famous Kitchen Sink Soup. The grinding and vibrating turned into a quiet electrical whirr. It’d never actually been jammed before. I coughed up some of the sinus infection I was fighting off into the sink. I tried turning it with the knob on the machine, I also tried moving the rotator head with a wooden spoon.
I had no success with either.
I put the cap on the drain incase it started to smell and bolted for an appointment. I forgot about it. I forgot about it until I needed to use the dishwasher again. I pulled the stopper out and the smell that lurched out is what I imagine Satan’s colon smells vaguely like.
Grandma’s Kitchen Sink Soup was fermenting and growing. I quickly replaced the cap and googled what to do.
I didn’t really find anything that matched my particular situation. I grabbed my flanged plunger, pulled the cap and immediately shoved the plunger in its place. I worked the plunger like a stripper on a too small pole.
All that accomplished was blowing black liquid onto me and the sink. I flushed it with bleach and hot water. Now the liquid was up to the little guard that keeps it from shooting particles back up into the sink.
I grabbed my shop vac and started sucking the water out of the drain. After a portion of the liquid was out, it jammed. I pulled it out, checked the hoses and the ports on the motor. Everything seemed fine. I peeked into the drain, holding the guard back with my fingers and shining my phone into the abyss.
A blue, distinctly human eyeball rolled around in the thick black muck that sat on the blades. I grabbed the wooden spoon out of the sink and poked it.
“Ouch!” a voice gurgled out of the muck.
I tried to scoop it out.
Was my grandma some kind of cannibal? Her soup was the last thing that went in, so it had to be the source of the eyeball. If I inadvertently eat a person, am I a cannibal?
“Motherfucker!” a familiar voice shouted out.
It wasn’t an outright unpleasant voice but it grated on me.
“Uh,” I stuttered, “Who’s there?”
“Stop shining that goddamn light in my eye.” it called back out.
I looked down in the drain, lips and teeth had surfaced in the muck. The goo kind of jiggled as a tiny pink hand pushed out of the thick liquid. I grabbed my tool kit and pulled the garbage disposal unit off of the drain and sat it up right in the sink.
Sure as shit, there it was. Two eyes, a mouth with awkwardly spaced teeth and now two little infant-sized hands flexing and wiggling chubby little digits.
“What are you?” I demanded.
“I’m a person you nitwit.”
“People don’t grow in appliances, dick.” I jabbed it with my wooden spoon.
“Just move me to a bigger container, maybe I can get out of here and out of your hair.”
I mostly did it out of my own curiosity, but I did. I dumped the contents of the disposal into a five gallon bucket. A nose had appeared, the hands were getting bigger, the little arms stretching further out.
I waited, one of the hands grabbed the edge of the bucket and a scarcely haired head emerged. The skin was red and irritated. Patches of skin not ready to be exposed to the world.
I called my grandma.
“It’s me, I was wondering if I could get the recipe for Kitchen Sink Soup?” I asked without taking my eyes off of him.
She rattled off a a list and procedure.
“What do you mean by… “pickled meat?”” I asked.
“Oh honey, it’s just something I made once that no one else makes.” She replied, “Any meat will do.”
“Could I come over and make it with you?” I asked, nonchalantly.
“Sure! That would be nice.” she said cheerily, “When-”
“I’d like to now, the soup you made last went bad and I’m itching for more. I’ll pick up ingredients on the way.”
I put another bucket on top of the other one so he’d have room to grow, but not escape. I wedged the whole assembly under my workbench. I made to grandma’s, with her laundry list of goodies, within the hour.
We chugged away, chopping herbs, dicing veggies. Store bought beef and chicken stocks. It was all combined, salted and peppered, she pulled out a ziplock bag from the wasteland that was her counter.
It looked like jerky. She tossed a few strips in and stirred the pot before turning the stove on.
“About four hours to simmer, now.” she noted to me, pointing at my notepad.
I volunteered to clean up and started putting things back in her pantry. Way in the back I found an old pickle jar, the liquid was slightly browned. In permanent marker “1990. Family Specimen”
Inside a ragged brown ball bobbed. It looked to have a appendage like outcroppings, and maybe a head. I took it to grandma.
“Hey, Gram, could we throw this out, it looks like it expired years ago.”
“Heavens no!” She cried out, “That’s my secret ingredient! You can’t just find that anywhere!”
“What is it?” I pressed.
“I can’t recall the name,” she answered nonchalantly, “But, it’s very rare and I probably shouldn’t have it.”
I decided to leave it alone and head home. I called my mom on my way home.
“Hey, do you know anything about grandma’s ‘secret ingredient’ for her Kitchen Sink Soup?”
“Pickled meat, isn’t it?” she answered.
“Yeah… but what kind of meat? I saw the jar but, it doesn’t seem like something anyone should be eating. It was labeled ‘Family Specimen 1990”
“Come to think of it, she started making the soup around that time,” she recalled, “I don’t remember ever having it before your surgery.”
“What surgery?” I asked, pulling my car off to the side of the highway.
The line got quiet for a moment.
“Mom, what surgery?”
“To have Billy removed.”
“Who’s Billy?” I asked, trying to dig in and understand this can of worms.
“He was… attached to you. Billy was an underdeveloped twin who wasn’t feasible after birth. The doctors surgically removed him.”
The wheels started to turn.
“Where is he now?”
I could hear her breathing get harder, fighting back the tears.
“We don’t know, he has a headstone, but his little body went missing after the procedure.”
I sat there in shock. Mom kept calling my name into the phone. Asking where I was. Apologizing for keeping the secret.
None of that matter to me.
“Billy’s the secret ingredient.” I murmured.
I dropped the phone and sped to my house. I pulled the buckets out from the bench and they tipped under their own weigh. Billy army crawled onto the cold cement floor.
“Billy?!” I asked.
He nodded wearily as he pulled raw, fresh legs from the bucket as he crawled forward.
“F-food…” he puffed.
I grabbed whatever I could from the kitchen and laid it infront of him. He reached for my hand. I let him take it.
In a sudden jerk he pulled it to his mouth and bit my finger.
“Fuck!” I screamed, punching him in the crown of his head.
I wanted to put him out of his misery right there. I had grabbed a hammer. I psyched myself up, and raised the hammer.
It was like looking at myself, though. Struggling out of a bucket, black muck spilling out behind him. I couldn’t bring myself to kill my twin. He kept trying to bite my leg, but didn’t have the strength to overpower me.
I called grandma.
“I have Billy, would you like to meet him?”
She stumbled with her words. Then, dumbstruck, said, “I’ll be right over.”
Gram must have broken every traffic law on the books to get to my house as fast as she did. I heard the doorbell and opened the garage door.
“We’re over here!” I shouted to her.
She ran in to see who was there and saw the ragged, bloody mess in the black puddle. He spotted her immediately and snarled.
“You left me in that jar for all those years! You only visited when it was time to cut a piece of my body!”
He clawed his way towards her, leaving a snail like trail behind him. She tried to run, but I’d already closed the garage door.
I’ve never seen a human eat like that before. I guess I’ve never seen a human be eaten or come out of a garbage disposal, either.
I guess I should download Tinder for the next time my little brother’s hungry.