“You know, really, pickles aren’t green,” Edna said. She was emptying a jar of koshers into her mouth.
Vern, per usual and to remain on the safe side, did not say anything. He kept head down and his brown, work leathered hand dipping the soup spoon into the oatmeal and lifting it into his mouth.
“That’s just kaloroform.”
Vern nodded. “Sounds about right.”
“Kaloroform is what God gave them, otherwise they would be white,” Edna said.
Vern knew what was coming, but when you work twenty-odd years for Edna you just let it come and got it over with. So he nodded again.
“Me he didn’t give Kaloraform,” Edna enlightened. “Me, I’m white.”
“Oatmeal must have a little chloroform in it too,” Vern said.
Edna frowned at him. But he figured he was safe. He had held his voice appropriately interested when he said it. And he had not looked up.
“Of course not, Hmph. That’s calories, which is why you need it and I don’t for fattening up; I’m already fat enough, but you’re skinny as a pencil with a skinny pencil. Edna did not always understand what she said, but she meant it anyway.
“God put in kaloroform and stuff in others because they aren’t chosen,” Edna said. “Kaloroform and stuff is inpurities.”
“I guess,” Vern was taking a chance here, “I guess Ole Viceroy is one of the chosen, then,” he said. Ole Viceroy was a very white Charolais bull, one of three, that Edna had bought to service her forty-two mongrel Hereford-Angus cows.
Edna looked at him. Her eyes blinked twice. She was silent a long time. Vern finished his green-tinged oatmeal, his eyes carefully on the spoon and the thin, soil-color hand that held it.
Finally Edna could remain silent no longer on the issue. “That’s a bull, bulls aren’t chosen.”
“Just sayin,” Vern said. He stood. He looked into the empty-sky blue eyes of his employer and grinned. He’d never done that before.
Edna opened her mouth, but only gaped her gills, like a fish just caught and flopping, and learning the fire of life out of water.
Vern opened the door and let his skinny, ‘chloroformed’ and very happily un-chosen self out, whether to do chores or walk into town to catch a movie was not yet decided.