Story Go Round 07/05/2002, round 2, #2

Grubber and Flynn

Grubber and Flynn set up the catering business as a way to resolve certain problems in their life. They had never expected it to take off in the way that it did. Grubber's need to serve was near impossible to live with, and for him to go a day without putting a plate in front of someone was like a day without breathing, and therefore, something he did only rarely. They called him Grubber because as a child he'd been inexorably drawn to overturning old rotting stumps and playing with the larvae he found underneath. How it survived grade school is not surprising, but that the nickname stuck and followed him faithfully into adulthood and across the US is, actually, a bit surprising.

He made it an asset in the army, the derisive tone becoming affectionate through repetition. In his current community, saving a child in a swimming accident made him a community oddity and fixture. His knowledge of mushrooms, that had gone hand in hand with his childhood curiosity, had instilled in him an appreciation for salads and quiches, two dishes he relied heavily on in the catering business.

Flynn, on the other hand, hated food. Hated the tastes, the textures, and the mess. The sight of someone chewing brought up with hot bile in his own throat. He could never touch food with his bare hands. It was a problem and a blessing that he rented Grubber's basement: problem because Grubber was a cookaholic; blessing because food smells rise. When Grubber heard Flynn wake screaming 3 nights running, it was always a timely reminder that the herb garden outside Flynn's window needed trimming. (Grubber only used fresh herbs.) Flynn's diet consisted of pills almost entirely, save for the occasional wood chip he sucked on idlely while staring out his lone window at the tarmac. Grubber brought him the wood chips, freshly harvested from his nephew's hamster's cage - he respected Flynn's acumen and interior decorating skills, even admired his keen and biting wit, but like, him, that he did not.

Until the day he caught Flynn helping a child on a swing, he had no answer for their tensions. He had a brainstorm.

"You know, a lot of these rich kids have big birthday parties," he said, as Flynn rummaged through the fridge for a pill.

"Angel food cake with hand glazed chocolate, pear punch, tea cookies," was Flynn's fast reply from within the fridge. It turned out he was a food savant and could speak of food even though he couldn't eat. He could string together a menu in one breath, saving Grubber hours of agonizing work ripping them off from other restaurants, cookbooks and cooking shows. Grubber felt that if they didn't work together to build a food service Empire, they would probably end up tearing each other to shreds. Flynn finally found a job where he felt useful, and not be mocked for his propensity to make lists. The children no longer teased him, but invited him to all their parties. They even let him carve the roast beast, though someone else had to hand it out.

Amber is purple; John is pink; Alan is blue; Terry is orange