I invited my boss over for dinner and now I wish I hadn't.
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Everything was going well, I was a highly respected principal at the local elementary school. The kids loved me and my employees more so. Everything was going so well that I decided to invite my boss over for a luncheon one day. But after what happened, I don’t think that is the case anymore.

When the day came, I felt very nervous. I had spent all morning preparing a lovely roast for myself and my boss. Around 11:30, the doorbell rings as I am going to check on the roast. I quickly rush to the door to open welcome my boss.

“Well, Seymour, I made it,” The broad shoulder man in a suit before said before adding under his breath, “Despite your directions.”

“Ah Superintendent Chalmers! Welcome!” I said, rocking on my heels slightly. “I hope your prepared for an unforgettable luncheon.”

“Yes.” Chalmers said as he walked passed me. I noticed now he had a bottle in his hands.

As we walked back to the table I set up, he set it in the bucket on the table. I walked past it to the door that lead to my kitchen. When I got in, I let out a soft gasp. There was smoke coming out of the oven.

“Oh ye gods!” I cried out as I ran over to open the door to the oven, “My roast is ruined!”

“But what if,” I said to myself, closing the door to the oven so I could walk over to the window, across the street was a burger place,  “I were to purchase fast food and disguise it as my own cooking.”

“Delightfully devilish Seymour!” I chuckled quietly to myself, taking off the apron I had been wearing and opening the window to climb out to make the biggest mistake I would make yet.

The door opened as I put my foot on the window sill, and I turned to see Chalmers standing in the doorway.

I can still hear the music taunting me, going “Skinner with his crazy explanations. Superintendent's gonna need his medications!”

“Superintendent!” I reacted quickly, standing up and then putting my leg back on the window sill as I was speaking, “I was just uh.. S-stretching my calves on the window sill! Isometric exercise! Care to join me?”

“Why is there smoke coming out of your oven, Seymour?” He said, pointing at it.

“Oh!” I jumped up, looking to the oven and then him as a I fumbled a lie out, “That’s not smoke! That’s… STEAM! Steam from the steamed clams we’re having! Mmm!” I rubbed my stomach, “Steamed clams.”

He seemed to buy it, making a soft “Hm” before leaving the kitchen. I quickly let out a sigh of relief and hurried out the window to the restaurant.

It took me a few moments to put them onto a tray with the fries, before I exited the kitchen with the silver tray in both hands.

“Superintendent, I hope you’re ready for mouth watering hamburgers!” I said joyfully to him, still shaking a bit in my core.

“I thought we were having steamed clams,” he said as he stuffed a napkin into his shirt’s collar as a bib.

“Oh no! I said steamed hams!” I explained, setting the tray down, “That’s what I call hamburgers.”

“...You call hamburgers, steamed hams?”

“Yes!” I said as I waved my hand slightly, “It’s uh.. Regional dialect!”

“Uh huh” He retorted, “What region?”

“Uh.. upstate New york.” I said confidently, not like he would remember to check my employment records later.

“Really?” He said, shaking his head. “Well, I’m from Utica and I’ve never heard anyone use the phrase steamed hams before.”

“Oh, not in Utica!” I quickly stated, starting to feel a tightness build in my chest. “No, it’s an Albany expression.”

“Ah, I see.” He said as he started to eat one of the burgers, while I helped myself to some of the drink he brought. I don’t remember what it was, as I got too distracted by what he said next.

“You know these hamburgers are quite similar to the ones they have at Krusty Burger,” he said as he took the top bun off the burger to look at the meat closer.

“Oh ho ho!” I laughed it off, feeling how tight my chest was with each laugh. “No no. Patented Skinner burgers! Old family recipe!” I said, raising my glass slightly and then leaning one shoulder closer to him with a friendly nod.
“..For steamed hams,” he said with a dead pan tone in his voice.

“Yes!” I said, trying not to let the fear in my voice show.

“Yes, and you call them steamed hams despite the fact that they are obviously grilled.” He said as he held the burger towards me to show the grill lines on it.

I took a deep breath as I could feel my fear starting to bleed out of my voice. At any moment now, I felt like he would eventually figure out that I was lying to him. I needed to get out of the room, now.

“W-uh.. uh..” I quickly wiped my mouth with my napkin, “Ya know the… One thing I should-” I stopped, I could hear something burning and sizzling in the kitchen. It was a reason to leave the table.

“Excuse me for one second,” I said as I stood and quickly went into the kitchen only hearing a faint “Of course.” as I did. The kitchen was a wreck and burning down quickly, I’d need to get him out of the house before I tried to put it out.

I exited the kitchen yawning and started to lie again.

“Well! That was wonderful, good times were had by all, I’m pooped!” I said while stretching my arms and chest out.

He stood up, looking at his watch. While he did, he pulled the napkin from his collar and set it on the table.

“Yes, I probably should get-” He looked at me and saw the flames through a crack in the door, “Good lord! What is happening in there?!” He yelled and pointed towards my kitchen.

The breath caught and I had nothing prepared for this. Why didn’t I close the door all the way?! I quickly turned and said the first thing that came to mind.

“Aurora Borealis?” I offered meekly.

“Aurora Borealis?!” He yelled, “At this time of year! At this time of day! In this part of the country! Localized entirely within your kitchen!?”


“May I see it?” he asked.

I made it look like I was thinking for a moment, before replying “No.” After which, I walked him to the door.

I heard my mother call out from the second floor as we stepped onto my porch. This was it, she was about to blow all of this for me.

“Seymour! The house is on fire!” I heard the old woman cry out from the second floor.

“No mother!” I quickly responded, my voice almost trembling. “It’s just the northern lights!” before I turned back to Chalmers.

“Well Seymour, you are an odd fellow,” he said as he fixed his suit jacket, somehow mine looked as pristine as his, “But I must say… you steam a good ham.” He said before he turned and walked off.

By this point, anyone could hear the flames raging and destroying my house. I was shocked when he heard my mother calling for help and was promptly turned away by a quick thumbs up from me. I let out a deep breath I had been holding once he was out of ear shot and ran inside to call the fire department.

The truth of that meal away burned with those walls and burned into my memory. I still think about it occasionally. At least, the house fire made it easier to hide the remains of the boy who gave me the meat to make the roast.