Fiction On Odyssey: Gross Dudes And Mac n' Cheese

Fiction On Odyssey: Gross Dudes And Mac n' Cheese

Do I trust him? Or do I leave him out there to potentially die?
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The quiet knock shocks me so bad that I cough out my soggy mac and cheese.

I stare at the door. I had to have hallucinated that, right? There can’t be any human for 10 miles around; I haven’t seen another person in months. Yet, there’s no way one of the Gross Dudes would have knocked… unless they’re getting smarter. Oh, great, that’s a terrifying thought.

There’s a sliding sound and a quiet groan, which really doesn’t ease my worries. The knock comes again. It’s from lower down this time, as if the person bent down to rap on the bottom third of the door.

I’m on my feet in an instant. Dad’s pocket knife is in my hand without a conscious thought. I walk to the door, stepping on the non-creaky parts of the floor with a practiced ease. I raise myself onto my toes to peer through the peep hole.

A leg. That’s it. Ugh. It better not be one of the Gross Dudes’ gracious “presents” again. Severed body parts are really not my thing. Luck’s on my side though; the leg moves, and I’m about ninety percent sure that means that it should be attached to someone.

Unfortunately, this “someone” is sitting and leaning against the door. If I try extra hard, I can see a glimpse of their knee on their other leg, but that’s it. I'm tempted to just "nope" my way out of the situation and go back to my soggy mac and cheese. Then I remember the bottle I'd set down on the table next to said mac and cheese. I elect to ignore the thought of what I was doing before.

What exactly am I supposed to do here? I wish I had a clue. If this were before the GD, I’d probably dismiss the person as a homeless and/or drunk individual that made the decision to camp out on my front porch for some reason. I’d leave the worrying to my Dad and the “taking care of it” to my mom. This is a different world, however, and I can’t leave the door-opening to my parents.

Before can get myself too depressed, I raise my voice and half-yell, “Who are you?”

The leg jolts, surprised. Serves them right for making me choke on my “meal.” The person stands up with obvious difficulty.

“Oh, thank gosh. There’s someone in there. Miss, my name is Enoch. I’m hurt real bad. I need help.”

Oh my God. It’s a kid. Judging by his voice, he can’t be any older than twelve.

Dang it. An ethical dilemma. I’ve been avoiding those like the Plague because they make me uncomfortable. Up until this point, I’d been doing a pretty good job at it, but now there’s one staring me in the face. Or, staring at the door, I guess. Do I trust him? Or do I leave him out there to potentially die?

Being responsible for my decisions sucks. I’m not even legally an adult. I shouldn’t have to be responsible for things like this. If the person had waited another hour or so, I wouldn't have had to worry anymore.

“Why should I?” I respond cautiously.

Enoch takes a step back, looking around and giving me a better look at him. The freckles dotting his face stand out against his pale skin. One hand is clutching his left side with the shadow of a pained grimace on his face, and the other is holding what looks like a sling-shot.

His gaze lands on the peep hole. As if he can tell I’m looking through it, he gives me the stink eye. “Um, because I’m a kid? And I’m bleeding out on your porch? I need help.”

“How do I know you’re telling the truth?” If the Gross Dudes are getting smarter, then this could totally be a decoy or something. He doesn’t look diseased, but he could easily be hiding something under that four-sizes-too-big parka.

A sassy one. Great.

He opens his mouth to say something that’ll probably be sarcastic, but then he just… deflates. His shoulders slouch, his face darkens, and he suddenly looks more world weary than any kid his age really has the right to be.

“You don’t. Okay? You don’t know I’m telling the truth. I know you’re just doing the smart thing here and being cautious or whatever, but… please. I don’t wanna die.”

Jesus. Now I feel heartless. I don’t want to be heartless. I want to be smart. Practically every post-apocalyptic book, movie, or show says that people can be more dangerous than the monsters sometimes. But at the same time…

I sigh, letting myself fall back on my heels and resting my forehead against the door. My hand hovers over the lock on the doorknob.

I've been alone here for so long. So long. My parents left to bring my older sister home from college when all of this started, and they never came back. It was nice at first, being out from under their overbearing hands, but now I miss them more than anything.

I miss my friends.

I miss my family.

I miss hot mac and cheese.

“Oh, no. Oh, nonono. Miss? Miss, please, they’re coming.”

Crap. Of freaking course.

He starts knocking on the door again. His high, panicked voice is the sad background music to my internal misery. I peep through the hole again. He’s looking out of my line of sight, off to my left, with eyes wide and scared.

That’s what does it. I tilt my head back, not allowing the tears to spill over my eyelids.

Then, I quickly unlock the door, grab a fistful of parka, and yank him inside. I slam the door shut after him, before staring through the peep hole again.

Seconds later, the shadows creep up to the door. They crawl over the ground, a menacing purple mist prowling for prey. Even though they’re on the other side, the temperature in the room drops a few degrees. I shiver. Behind me, Enoch whimpers.

They’re here.

Through the hole, I can only see one Gross Dude, but I know there are more. There are always more. It walks robotically up to the porch, and then runs into the door because it couldn’t think to stop walking.

If it still had eyebrows or eyes, I imagine it’d look confused. Instead, though, the slits of its nostrils just kinda flare a bit. The skin around the lipless mouth stretches taut as the gaping hole opens, revealing the signature purple glow of whatever weird energy powers them from within.

Then, it turns and walks away.

Absently, I wonder who it was before it died. It has a female body and is wearing a tracksuit, and its wispy brown hair is still up in a loose ponytail – a mom at the gym? A college student going jogging? There’s no way to tell. Her features have long since melted away, leaving this thing inhabiting her body in her place.

“They’re gone?” a muffled voice from behind me says slowly.

Holy— oh yeah. Enoch. Right. I’d forgotten about him.

He’s made himself comfortable on the couch… with my mac and cheese?! Ugh, the nerve of this kid.

I stomp over and yank the bowl from him, setting it on the table. He whines quietly and pouts, but otherwise doesn’t move. I frown. He doesn’t look too good. If anything, he seems paler than he looked before, which I didn’t even think was possible.

"Uh, kid?"

"Enoch."

"Right. I guess should probably patch you up now."

"Mmm..."

His eyelids start to droop.

"Oh, no you don't," I say, grabbing my Med-Kit from nearby and yanking open his parka. Oh, gosh, there's so much blood.

"'M sleepy," he says.

"No, you're not."

He whines again. "My stomach hurts."

"Maybe... maybe you're just hungry."

He manages to dredge up enough energy to give me the stink eye again through hooded eyes. "Sure. That's why."

"Shut up. Just..." I look at my sad little bowl of soggy mac and cheese. "Take the mac and cheese."

"But it's soggy."

"You didn't have an issue with it earlier! Just take it."

I move to grab the bowl, but my hand lands on the bottle of pills I'd set there earlier. I stare at it for a moment. This morning, I'd looked at that bottle in a completely different way. Now? Now it's just in the way of my mac and cheese.

I chuck the bottle across the room and grab the bowl of food, ignoring the voice in my head telling me it's my last. I have a kid to take care of.


Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author's imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
Cover Image Credit: Beau Lebens

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35 Major Life Facts According To Nick Miller

"All booze is good booze, unless it's weak booze."
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Fact: If you watch "New Girl," you love Nick Miller.

You can't help it. He's an adorable, lovable mess of a man and you look forward to seeing him and his shenanigans each week. While living the infamous and incomparable life of Nick Miller, and obviously Julius Pepperwood— he has learned many valuable laws of the land. And, although Nick refuses to learn anything from anyone besides his mysterious, old Asian friend Tran, he does have a few lessons he'd like to teach us.

Here are 35 facts of life according to 'Nick Milla Nick Milla':

1. Drinking keeps you healthy.

"I'm not gonna get sick. No germ can live in a body that is 65% beer."

2. Dinosaurs never existed.

"I don't believe dinosaurs existed. I've seen the science. I don't believe it."


3. A paper bag is a bank.

"A bank is just a paper bag but with fancier walls."


4. Having sex is similar to delivering mail.

"I'm like a mailman, except instead of mail it's hot sex that I deliver."

5. Moonwalking is a foolproof way to get out of any awkward situation.

Jess (about Nick): "Now he won't even talk to me. I saw him this morning and he just panic moonwalked away from me. He does that sometimes."

6. Using a movie reference is also a great way.

Cece: "Come on, get up!"

Nick: "No, I don't dance. I'm from that town in "Footloose."

7. There's no reason to wash towels.

Nick: "I don’t wash the towel. The towel washes me. Who washes a towel?"

Schmidt: "You never wash your towel?"

Nick: "What am I gonna do? Wash the shower next? Wash a bar of soap?"

8. Exes are meant to be avoided at all costs (especially if/unless they're Caroline)

"I don't deal with exes, they're part of the past. You burn them swiftly and you give their ashes to Poseidon."

9. IKEA furniture is not as intimidating as it looks.

"I'm building you the dresser. I love this stuff. It's like high-stakes LEGOs."

10. You don't need forks if you have hands.

Jess: "That's gross. Get a fork, man."

Nick: "I got two perfectly good forks at the end of my arms!"

11. Sex has a very specific definition.


"It's not sex until you put the straw in the coconut."

12. Doors are frustrating.

"I will push if I want to push! Come on! I hate doors!"

13. All booze is good booze.

"Can I get an alcohol?"

14. ...unless it's weak booze.

"Schmidt, that is melon flavored liquor! That is 4-proof! That is safe to drink while you're pregnant!"

15. Writers are like pregnant women.

Jess: "You know what that sound is? It's the sound of an empty uterus."

Nick: "I can top that easily. I'm having a hard time with my zombie novel."

Jess: "Are you really comparing a zombie novel to my ability to create life?"

Nick: "I'm a writer, Jess. We create life."

16. All bets must be honored.

"There is something serious I have to tell you about the future. The name of my first-born child needs to be Reginald VelJohnson. I lost a bet to Schmidt."

17. Adele's voice is like a combination of Fergie and Jesus.

"Adele is amazing."

18. Beyoncé is extremely trustworthy.

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19. Fish, on the other hand, are not.


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20. Bar mitzvahs are terrifying.

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Nick: "I am NOT watching a kid get circumcised!"

21. ...so are blueberries.

Jess: "So far, Nick Miller's list of fears is sharks, tap water, real relationships..."

Nick: "And blueberries."

22. Take your time with difficult decisions. Don't be rash.


Jess: "You care about your burritos more than my children, Nick?"

Nick: "You're putting me in a tough spot!"

23. Getting into shape is not easy.

"I mean, I’m not doing squats or anything. I’m trying to eat less donuts."

24. We aren't meant to talk about our feelings.

"If we needed to talk about feelings, they would be called talkings."


25. We're all a little bit too hard on ourselves.

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26. Freezing your underwear is a good way to cool off.


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27. Public nudity is normal.

"Everbody has been flashed countless times."

28. Alcohol is a cure-all.


"You treat an outside wound with rubbing alcohol. You treat an inside wound with drinking alcohol."

29. Horses are aliens.

"I believe horses are from outer-space."


30. Turtles should actually be called 'shell-beavers.'

Jess: "He calls turtles 'shell-beavers."

Nick: "Well, that's what they should be called."

31. Trench coats are hot.


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32. Sparkles are too.

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33. Introspection can lead to a deeper knowing of oneself.

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34. It's important to live in the moment.

"I know this isn't gonna end well but the middle part is gonna be awesome."


35. Drinking makes you cooler.

Jess: "Drinking to be cool, Nick? That's not a real thing."

Nick: "That's the only thing in the world I know to be true."

Cover Image Credit: Hollywood Reporter

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13 Pickle Concoctions To Try On National Pickle Day

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Have you heard of National Pickle Day? If you haven't, allow me to introduce you. National Pickle Day is a day dedicated to pickles and pickling. It is a pickle lovers dream. Each year in the United States 5,200,000 pounds of pickles are consumed. National Pickle Day is in celebration of pickles and all of their glory.

As a pickle lover myself, I absolutely adore anything pickle and am willing to try almost anything to do with them. Pickle juices, popsicles, candies, you name it! So in honor of National Pickle Day, and my love of pickles, I am presenting you with 13 pickle snacks and recipes that I am eager to try as well as encourage you to try! Happy National Pickle Day!

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This is for pickle lovers 21 and over. But apparently it's quite good, and I included the link for the recipe. You're welcome.

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10. Pickle Biscuits

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11. Pickle Roll Ups

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