After eating egg creams, they both died in their hotel room. Two days
later, they were found covered with a light dusting of flour. It was a typical
New York City death - it wasnít in the tabloids, it didnít cause a stir. What
was interesting about dying under cover of flour? True, they were interns at
the hospital, practically doctors, but they had foreign names and scrunched
up black beards. It was a pity they'd gone out for egg creams, but who could
have expected this? The waiter who scooped the cream into the glass and swirled
it into a drink? With an indifferent flick of a towel, he pointed them to their
table. He didn't care about forgetting their napkins. When he heard about the
deaths, he shrugged. So what if they died covered with flour or covered with
cayenne pepper? It was their fellow medical student, Alphonso Zorndogger, who
examined the scene of their death. He found the receipt for egg creams crumpled
in one of their pockets. He went back to the restaurant and asked the manager
who kept throwing up his hands. Zorndogger even called the health department.
When he finally got through, a clerk told him the restaurant was up to date
with its inspections. He forgot about it until one day at the hospital when
he saw a patient with a pasty complexion lying on a gurney. Hadn't those foreign
interns been covered with something when they died? He realized how morbid it
was to be thinking about this while on his way to have dinner with a woman,
who he had discovered on their first date, loved pepper. He thought somewhat
ruefully of that woman grinding pepper over her steak.
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Ellen Lindquist performs "To Die of Egg Cream in New York City" at Atlanta Open Mics. Her props include a pair of foreign dolls which she sprinkles flour over; a wooden spoon she stirs inside a glass; a telephone; a miniature magnifying glass (for reading the receipt for egg creams); a towel she hides in one of her pockets; an apron hidden under her shirt (which she reveals at the appropriate moment); and a pepper grinder. Her poems and micro-fiction are forthcoming in Many Mountains Moving, Art Mag and Writer's Exchange.