The Family Handbook of Mortal Conditions | Dottersglut



By Rob Ehle

The Family Handbook of Mortal Conditions has been conceived as a monthly random match of mortal sin with family member to create a helpful home reference, not unlike the Merck Manual or the DSM IV.

They were a little jet-lagged, it was 10:00 Cleveland time, and she tried not to think about how old they looked and just to enjoy their adorably Midwestern company, her mom, her pop, with their glasses and their shoes, their beiges and pinks. And maybe show them a little wow. Because she was 26 and on her own and had not eaten red meat for three years. And she had a lover. (He wasn’t married, but he was a secret.)

“They are tacos,” she said. “With quail.”

“They’re smaller than cookies,” her mom said.

“They’re sixteen dollars,” her pop said.

“They’re on me,” she said.

“How much do you make at that place?” her pop said, and she grinned a grown up grin.

(He was a secret because he was her boss.)

They had tacos con quail, they had something infused, her parents drank coffee as she sipped her bacon martini. Oh, what a city!

“Remember that coq au vin I made, and she wouldn’t touch it?” her mom said, twinkling. (She said cocoa van.) Pops just stared around. All the clamour, the sparkle. The tintinnabulation! When the waiter asked about entrées, he said, “What’s this?” pointing at another sixteen dollar thing.

“Daddy, you have to try the striped bass. You must!”

Her mother whispered “you must,” and smiled. So he had the striped bass. Her mom had the tuna poke, and she! She had the pistachio-encrusted surf perch on a bed of glazed lupine, served on a plate of eucalyptus bark. That martini had a kick like a motherfucker, didn’t it?

Mom was showing her pictures of the nieces when the check came. “Dad, got it!” she slurred, lunging, as he artfully snatched.


Read more here from Rob Ehle’s project, The Family Handbook of Mortal Conditions.


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