Half a steel drum and legs of angle iron. Not many people had such an ugly, but effective beast for barbequeing on. Tommy was proud of his monster, as chief stoker / commander of the flames. It meant he had something he was comfortable talking about with the others. He didn't like the way so many of the people in the Club only had conversations that were designed to bolster their superior standing, in their own eyes.
70 year old Magdalena eyed him up flirtatiously. It was her way of saying she wanted something to satisfy her appetite . . . She was hungry. . . Chastened by her accusation of neglect, Tommy hurried to get her a plate, filling it so high, that her small head dimmed into insignificance behind it. She smiled and fluttered her invisible eyelashes, and settled down to squirrelling away as much food as she could, without attracting any attention. Under her chair, Pedro the dog, the one with the permanent pencil erection, looked up soulfully, not realising he would get nothing, until his Mistress' intial hunger had been satisfied.
Another plume of smoke erupted from the barbecue, a magician's ploy for attention, and Tommy stepped back momentarily for effect, admiring his charcoal branded carcases. What a display! Chicken legs lined up snugly to maximise space; caged in cooking as in life, and nestling close to the rather distastefully named lamb chops. Beside them, there were burgers that curled up like the soles of worn out boots. These had been brought by the Murphy's. Big family, no money.
'Probably bought them in Aldi', Tommy thought, and although he shopped there himself most times, he tossed the burgers and repeatedly squeezed them flat so the juices fired up! 'If they're cheap and nasty, then that is the way they should taste', he thought. He remembered the taste of beans, burgers and mash, with margarine instead of butter, when he was a kid. The butter was always kept for his Da.
He leaned heavily on the burgers one last time, before placing them aside. Now for the two steaks he had bought for himself! The burgers would probably end up being thrown out anyway. The Murphy's were vegetarians.
© niall oconnor 2015