Harmony Hill

Harold piled fried tomatoes and onions onto the scrambled egg omelet and folded it, gazing upon the perfectly cooked side with satisfaction. Breakfast with his family, a special start to Harold’s day. He flicked the switch on the coffee maker and set two mugs from the cabinet on a towel next to it. Aromatic Ethiopian fair-trade began dripping into the pot. Four slices of toast popped from the toaster as Harold flipped the omelet and shut off the burner. He pulled a carton of orange juice from the refrigerator door and filled two glasses before exchanging the orange juice for strawberry jam. He brought the glasses of juice and the jam to the table, set them down next to the box of Fortuitous Jujus cereal, and then gathered the toast in a basket which he placed in the middle of the table. He cut the omelet with a spatula and served each of the four plates on the table with a slice.

Betsy and the kids came down the stairs into the kitchen to find Harold reading the newspaper. “Good morning, dear. Any word on what the commotion was at Harmony Hill yesterday?” she asked already assuming the answer.

Harold folded his newspaper and dropped it on the floor next to his chair. “Good morning everyone!” He cleared his throat. “Nothing in the paper about it. Gunther’s is having a sale on patio furniture.” he declared, smiling.

Betsy frowned as she meandered over to the coffee machine. She tapped the side of it and a few more drops spurted into the pot. She poured two cups and brought one to Harold. He thanked her and she took her seat at the table along with the kids. “Veggie omelets! Thanks for making my favorite, Harry.” Betsy said as her mood brightened. “The eggs look nice and crispy.”

Harold’s brow furrowed involuntarily hearing Betsy’s assessment of his masterpiece. Those were perfect Goddamned eggs. Those eggs were not crispy. “You’re welcome.” Harold wisely surrendered.

The kids wolfed omelet as if a breakfast trophy was to be awarded. Harold and Betsy’s feeding pace remained civil. “I’m still hungry.” the one kid said, his plate clean. “Me too.” the other kid immediately decided as well. “Can we have cereal?” the one kid asked, already reaching for the Fortuitous Jujus. “Yes, but just a little bit.” Betsy sighed.

The kids were serving themselves some cereal when there was a knock at the door. “I’ll see who that is.” Harold groaned. He briefly placed his hand on Betsy’s shoulder before walking to the door and opening it. He quickly stepped outside and closed the door behind him.

“Who is it?” the one kid asked. “Nobody ever visits in the morning.”

Betsy quickly lied, “I’m sure it’s one of Daddy’s badminton friends. They probably want to see the new racket.”

“Ooh! I didn’t know there was a game today!” the other kid exclaimed, swinging her feet with excitement. “GAME! GAME! GAME! There’s a GAME today!”

“Settle down!” Betsy shouted and then collected herself. “There’s not a match. They probably just want to schedule a practice. See the calendar? There’s no match.” Betsy stated whilst pointing to the badminton calendar on the refrigerator. The kids returned to their cereal in disappointment.

Betsy looked to the door before picking up the newspaper. She shuffled through the sections until she saw it. Harmony Hill Selection Begins. While not surprising, reading the words still managed to strike quite a blow. Underneath the headline confirmed her assumptions. 608.

The door opened and Harold returned to the table. He saw the newspaper in front of Betsy and his eyes welled with tears when their distant gazes met. Worker Steerax chittered impatiently outside, his glassy onyx thorax shining brightly in the morning sun. Harold bravely raised his head upon hearing Steerax’s squeaking mandible. “Does everyone remember what to do?”, Harold asked, his voice solemn and wavering. Betsy and the kids did not speak, but nodded as they sunk into their chairs. “Then let’s get it over with.”

Harold maintained a stoic expression as he removed his trousers and smeared strawberry jam across his genitals. The kids segregated the jujus from the toasted oat clusters and filled a pouch with the sugary puffs. Betsy quickly finished the last of her coffee and filled her mug with sugar.

The family left the breakfast table and exited their home through the front door. Worker Steerax, standing beside the 608 mailbox, gestured eastward with his antennae and upper legs. Harold, his crotch sticky with jam, and his family, carrying fructose offerings, headed off toward Harmony Hill to satisfy every monstrous desire of the Ant Queen.

© 2021 StoryBarf