“It was Jessie’s cousin’s girlfriend’s babysitter, that’s who gave me this recipe. I knew I’d think of it eventually.”
Matilda went back to mixing her ingredients in her favorite ceramic bowl, a tune humming between her lips. Her husband Lionel sat at the dinner table sipping a beer, looking confused. He turned to his wife.
“Where did you meet this woman?”
“At the carnival last week, remember? You were working late so I went with Sheryl, Dan, Hank and his wife’s nephew’s chiropodist’s daughter’s vet.”
“Ok,” Lionel muttered. “But . . . but how did you meet the woman with the recipe?”
“We were on the merry-go-round talking when I was tapped on the shoulder by an elderly lady who turned out to be my great-Aunt Sylvia’s second husband’s granddaughter’s best friend’s niece’s step-brother’s dance instructor’s mother.”
“Wha . . .”
“Anyway, this woman, I think her name was Francine, knew your late Uncle Dave’s mechanic’s girlfriend’s ex-husband’s son’s golden retriever’s groomer’s wife’s insurance agent, Gabe Frinkelman.”
“Sure,” Lionel muttered. “Who doesn’t know Gabe Frinkelman?”
“She was telling us a story about when Gabe got out of the army. He went to Vegas with some friends and met Wayne Newton’s manicurist’s daughter’s teacher’s third wife’s second ex-husband’s pastor’s great-Uncle’s flying instructor’s girl-friend’s high-school classmate’s cellmate’s sister’s pot dealer’s brother. Can you imagine meeting a celebrity like that?”
“Yeah, sure. But what about . . .”
“Oh, right, the recipe. It turns out the pot dealer’s brother moved here a few years ago. He met my friend Jessie’s cousin and they started a band together, The Neighbor’s Squirrel’s Nuts. One night while playing at that bar on route 46, Gary’s Guns, Groupies and Guacamole, Jessie’s cousin’s girlfriend brought along the woman who babysits for her and also Mrs. Thompson’s son’s shop teacher’s on-line girlfriend’s psychologist’s heavily medicated soon-to-be ex-wife.”
“I need another beer.”
“The pot dealer’s brother and the babysitter hit it off and started dating. That night I went to the carnival they had intended to stay in and watch a movie on Netflix but the babysitter got a phone call from her sister’s brother-in-law’s step-daughter’s nephew’s volleyball coach’s private detective’s father’s bookie’s wife’s neighbor’s goddaughter’s fiancé’s mother’s dentist’s dominatrix’s son’s classmate’s brother’s parole officer’s boss’s mistress’s nanny’s ex-con ex-husband’s ex-wife’s ex-best friend’s ex-boyfriend’s sister and were invited to the carnival.”
“Holy shit,” Lionel said, his hand slapping his forehead.
“We met them in front of the fried pickle stand, got to talking and I mentioned I was looking for a good casserole recipe.”
“Don’t care anymore,” Lionel said.
“She put my email address into her phone and a few days later sent me this recipe.”
“Beer. Need beer.”
“She told me she found it in a magazine from a high school classmate’s brother’s daughter’s son’s cat’s vet’s office. She also said . . .”