I would not calumny Jim Fradering’s good name with the accusation that he could cook. He couldn’t. Jim’s idea of a meal not prepared by some other body was deli ham, mayonnaise, and white bread. In camp he had been known to boil eggs that gnawed like rubber, tasted like iron sulfide, and could be used for ammunition.
But the rule in camp was if you griped about dinner, you got to cook the next one. And none of the men cared to test their pride and reputation against the silence of the other guys wanting not to cook the next meal. So silence passed for a compliment.
But Jim was not satisfied with the compliment of silence.
“How ‘bout them sandwiches and eggs.” Jim said. He was fishing, which was hard for these hunters for a couple of reasons. First of all, most of them were pretty honest men and could not lie, except about the spread on the bull elk that just went over the hill ahead of their barrage of thirty-thirty and thirty-ott-six slugs. Second of all, they were, to a man, chocking on rubbery iron sulfide. And third of all, they all knew that if they were not convincing in their lie about how delicious the eggs and ham sandwiches were, they were cooking next time.
“Oh, Jim,” Dan Osbrook said, “These eggs are as flavorful as. . . .” He could not think what they were flavorful as.
“I never tasted eggs with as much ossification in the flower as these,” Billy Osbrook said. He pursed his lips like a French sous chef, lifted his finger tips to his lips and did the explosive taste motion. “Muah,” he said.
“You got a way with words Professor,” Jim’s brother, Olly, said. “But I do believe that ham sandwich filled me up. Anybody want my ossification eggs?”
“Oh, no,” Billy said, “I am so surfeited, I am about to overflow with ossified flowers. In fact, I think I better go unload,” and he headed for the latrine.
“Well, I’m surftitted too,” Olly said, and followed Billy.
Jim beamed at Dan, waiting.
“Well Jim, you cook a ossification surftitting meal, that is for sure,” Dan said. He stood to follow Olly and Billy.
Jim waited till they were all gone then heaved his two ossifications into the trees where they bounced three or four times before settling down to finish the process of becoming archaeological artifacts. The sandwich was pretty good, though.