125 Meals

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Zoey Maye woke up the smell of bacon and fresh biscuits. There was no doubt in her mind that it was her own recipe. Every day for the past six weeks she has been eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner from her own cookbook, Southern Style. The food was prepared exactly how the recipe read and was always delicious. The problems were that the food was extremely unhealthy and she was locked in a small utility room in a crazed fan's home. There was a hole in the sub floor next to the water heater so she could relieve herself. She had a stack of cookbooks and a night light to keep her entertained. With no exercise and a constant supply of fatty foods, she gained sixty-five pounds to her once slender frame. Zoey knew that her time locked in this hell was going to come to an end one way or another, because there were only three meals left that she had not eaten out of her cookbook.

She could hear her captor's footsteps coming down the hallway towards her tiny prison. Zoey knew what was for breakfast, baked eggs with salsa verde, brown sugar bacon, buttermilk biscuits, with sausage gravy. She almost threw up at the thought of all that grease. The door opened filling the musty furnace room with light and an overpowering stench of a perfectly cooked breakfast. She squinted as her eyes adjusted to the light. In front of her was a tall blond woman wearing a red and white polka dot 1950's house dress and apron. She couldn't have been older that twenty-three and was carrying a silver platter filled with fine china and a crystal glass full of whole milk and a canister resembling mace.

"Good morning Alison," Zoey grunted.

"And a very good morning to you Zoey," Alison said with just a hint of a southern accent, "We are having Baked eggs with salsa verde this morning. I'm sure you already knew that though."

"Of course I did. It's my fucking cookbook."

"There is no reason to curse, sweetheart," Alison said in her proper tones, "It's not lady like."

"Do you think it is lady like to hold someone prisoner?"

"Don't get snooty with me and eat your breakfast. You only have two more meals to eat after this one."

"And then what?"

"I think you are smart enough to know the answer to that question Zoey."

Zoey sat down in the chair that Alison provided and took the platter. She wasn't remotely hungry, but she knew better than refuse Alison's breakfast. The eggs were cooked perfectly and the biscuits were amazing. The gravy was seasoned to perfection, but the bacon had just a pinch too much of brown sugar. This made Zoey nervous. Once a day, Alison would purposely make a mistake in one of her dishes. Zoey never knew if it was going to be breakfast, lunch, or dinner that had the mistake, but if she guessed wrong she was sure to pay the price. Alison was a good home cook but she wasn't a trained chef like Zoey, so she would make mistakes from time to time. If Zoey guessed that the mistake of the day was one of these unintended errors, then her punishment was even more severe.

Zoey stared at her fingers as she pondered mentioning the over seasoned bacon.

"Well," Alison said as she watched Zoey eat, "What do you think?"

Zoey could feel her eyes flooding with tears. If she takes too long to answer she is in trouble. If she answers wrong she is in trouble. If she gives the correct answer everything will be fine until lunch. God Damn it, she thinks to herself.

"Honestly Alison, you had a little too much brown sugar on the bacon."

Alison's expression never changed. She had her same sweet smile on her face and her eyes never showed an ounce of pain or anger. She slipped her right hand in the right front pocket of her full length apron and pulled out a pink handled pair of pliers. Zoey's heart sank and her face went pale. Alison stood with perfect posture holding the pliers across her bust. With her free left hand she reached into her left apron pocket and pulled out a small aerosol canister containing a form of Lidocaine, an anesthetic used by most dentists and sometimes found in spray decongestants. Before Zoey could react Alison sprayed her in the face with the canister, making Zoey's eye's water uncontrollably and her face went numb. A metallic taste lingered in her mouth as she tried, unsuccessfully, to fight off Alison. The drug not only made Zoey's face go numb, but it also dulled her senses and slowed her reaction time while raising her heart beat. Her head was in the clouds as she watched Alison attach the pink handled pliers to the finger nail of her left ring finger.

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