We've been trying to season the cast iron skillet. Even after we read everything on the imaginary pin board website, we couldn't get that rich black we’d seen on cooking shows.
We used canola oil at first. The skillet took on a sticky texture. After, we used lard. Old-fashioned, god’s honest lard from boiled down animal fat. Still, the skillet came out sticky and smelled strong. We tried frying a bunch of bacon and smearing the rendered fat with our hands. Nothing was good after that.
Things changed. We started to smoke more cigarettes in summer evenings, and spent less time away from the house. We wrote letters to Alton Brown and Guy Fieri. We hired men to tear up trees from the backyard and spent days chainsawing logs to build raging white fires.
We stopped sleeping in the same bed because it was my fault the skillet wouldn’t season, and it was her fault for not being the girl I was secretly falling for on Facebook. We brewed strong coffee and let it sit for days in the skillet over low heat. Eventually, I threw her copy of Prodigy’s Fat of the Land in there and let it melt, hoping for something that would ultimately never happen.
While I slept on the hardwood floor, she clipped all my nails off and tried rendering them down. Cranked the stove up as hot as it would go, and then the oven. I cut pieces off the cat she loved. The one that shit on the floor and destroyed my chair with its freedom claws. Those just made the skillet smell like burned hair and fat. I threw in old love letters that were so sappy I worried they might ruin the skillet. We bought cartons and cartons of cigarettes and went through so many lighters with all the forest fires we set and all the cigarettes we smoked. When we were smoking was the only time we really talked anymore.
She would inhale the smoke cleaner than the air in the house.
“You read the article about never putting soap in the skillet?”
I took a drag off my cigarette.
“I’ve never touched soap to that fucking thing.”
It would be Fall soon. I would smoke cigarettes and fuck the Facebook girl and like every Facebook status she put up. My ex would stop smoking and drink less, and pretend to lose weight in profile pictures. Eventually, one of us would take the skillet.
Ian writes in a quiet office in North Carolina. He bakes. On a good day, the cat will be near. His work has appeared in Split, em:me and Cairn.