Zack's Eggs

by Bruce

"What's taking so long?" Delilah thought while she waited at the light. Dwight Yoakam wailed from the scratchy speakers of her trusty 1984 Tercel, while giant raindrops drummed the hood and roof of the car and made slithering patterns on the road ahead. It was inappropriate weather for a homecoming, but nothing would - or could - keep Delilah Stevens from seeing the love of her life, Andre Baron. The traffic light turned green and the Tercel turned down Frontage Row, where the mighty U.S.S. Electra would be docking momentarily.

Professor Baron had spent the last four months at sea with seven other marine biologists in a noble attempt to locate Esmerelda, a missing right whale. Esmerelda had been tagged by the marine mammal department of the University nearly two years ago. But when the electronic blips that indicate the location of all the right whales in this neck of Maine stopped blipping, people got concerned. Forty eight of the original forty nine whales were accounted for, but there was no Esmerelda. Whale hunting had been outlawed in these coastal waters for nearly thirty years, but there was at least a few people who were suspicious that Esmerelda may have been smuggled and sold for the valuable blubber on the black market. It was all very disturbing and so Professor Andre Bacon and his team was sent on a mission to locate the whale and quiet the rumor mill. Today he would return home. Home to the University. Home to Prescott, ME. And home to his girl.

A black dot appeared on the horizon and grew larger. Delilah felt warm and happy inside knowing that that black dot was the Electra, bringing home her Andre. Her nervous hands rested for nothing, constantly picking at her sweater or twirling her shiny hair. Although they had spoken via cellular phone, even as recently as last night, nothing could come close to feeling his large, hairy arms wrapped tightly around her warm body.

Andre, though pleased to be nearing home, did not show it. His face was a pale pink, almost green, like the "sale" pork in the back of the freezer case. His love for whales and science brought him to the sea, but his weak stomach made him pay for it dearly. Feeling like he'd eaten feet, Andre began to lean over the polished railing of the Electra as she listed majestically through the choppy coastal sea. The up-and-down movement was making him nauseous, but he clung to the railing and managed to hold on. For the moment it was Andre Baron-1; Bile-0.

Delilah dreamed of their night together. He would make love to her for the first time in four months. Her beautiful face reddened with the thought of it. "Ohhhhh, where's that boat!!" she asked impatiently while stomping her boot into the gravel road.

"It'll be here soon enough, little miss, don't you fret none," a kind voice answered from behind. It was a broad-shouldered man with a weathered face like an old catcher's mitt. "I'd say another five minutes, tops."

"Oh, thanks...I didn't know you were there."

"Name's Zack. Zack Crespo. And this is my dock."

Delilah felt embarrassed. Everyone knew the legend of Zack Crespo. The Crespo family had operated this dock, back when it was the only port in Maine. But, who knew old Zack was still alive?

"You're Zack Crespo? My boyfr...Andre..he's spoken about you. You're the one who paints those eggs, right?"

"Sure enough. Just a hobby really. Started makin' Easter eggs when I was just a rug rat. Never stopped. Must have 'bout eighty or ninety dozen favorites in the shack out back. Andre's seen em. You know, ma'am he's a pretty good painter himself!"

Delilah had no idea. There were, after all, still a lot of secrets between the two young lovers. But there was plenty of time, she thought to herself, to learn about all their little mysteries.

"You mean you have all those eggs...right there in your shack?" she asked in disbelief.

"Yep. Course, now I drain the eggs first. I used to just use whole eggs, but they began to rot. I never minded the maggots much, but the stench became unbearable. That's why I use the sheep...." A powerful, unmistakable horn blasted over their conversation.

The moment the U.S.S. Esmerelda nudged the sun-bleached dock of Crespo's, a handsome, but worn-looking, man stumbled onto the terra firma. Andre was home. The couple embraced for several teary minutes before the sea started to boil. An enormous wave of white-hot lava poured onto shore scorching the dreamy New England beach town. The ocean was turned to steam, creating a dense, salty fog that burned their lungs. Delilah and Andre became separated, unable to communicate through the heavy blanket of steam and the roar of the venomous boil.

The vociferous, rolling sea parted as an enormous headless falcon emerged from the depths below. Spreading its massive wings, it reached sixty or seventy feet across. Steadily the beast rose higher and higher, until it awkwardly flopped back in the water, setting everything back normal again. The fog cleared; the seas calmed; lava retreated. It was if nothing had happened.

Delilah and Andre reunited and agreed to go home. They hopped back in the Toyota and proceeded to back out the frontage. Zack offered a toothless smile and the sweeping wave of one arm. Delilah thought to herself, "Boy, Andre is really hairy." Nonetheless, she dreamed about the romantic moments before her. She had selected a very revealing teddy especially for this evening. Candles were in all the right places. The wine was chilled - as it absolutely had to be. Andre is French, and as such he is typically fussy about the state of the wine he drinks. Sometimes it gets embarrassing. Like the time the waiter brought the wrong Bordeaux for his mutton and he burst into a barrage of insults..all in his native tongue, of course. Whenever words fail him, he spouts French expletives to avoid using what he considered to be the basest of languages spoken here in Maine.

While Delilah dreamed naughtily about Andre's body, Andre was lost in deep, serious thought. He had not found Esmerelda after all. The entire voyage was a failure at the great expense of the University. He was overdue to be evaluated for tenure and this would surely tarnish his record. "Maird!" he uttered under his breath as his hairy fist dented the glove compartment. Delilah came back to reality. She knew better than to ask him what was wrong, knowing full well what happened to Andre's last girlfriend and his mother. And that cat. But she loved him dearly and nothing could jeopardize the evening of passion that was surely only moments away.

The young couple arrived at Delilah's home and walked over the creaky driftwood planks to the simple farmhouse. Andre said nothing as he entered the warm, sweet home of his lover. Delilah's extensive efforts were not hidden -- the place was immaculate. The sweet smell of apple cobbler filled the wood home. It was Andre's favorite dish (aside from Xena the Warrior Princess.) Delilah pecked her man on the cheek and smiled deeply into his cold, steely gray eyes. Without blinking Andre turned and walked up the stairs with his duffel bag and shut the door to his study behind him. Delilah, a bit confused, decided to prepare some lemonade.

Although the tray was heavy with two glasses of ice and a large pitcher of lemonade, Dee - as she was known informally - brought it up to Andre's study. Actually, it was her brother's old room when the two of them were growing up. But Andre took over the space to do his work. It was a bit weird since they weren't married, or even living together, but she knew that he'd come around soon and make her his bride, and all would be well. Before entering the room, Dee took the single pink ribbon out of her perfect hair and let the auburn waves flow around her silky neck. She unlatched the top button of her flowery blouse and turned the doorknob.

Andre was on the telephone. He was talking sternly and gesturing wildly with his free hand. "Bert, I told you the damn thing just wasn't there! I know..yes, I know what this means for the department, but we can't just make a whale?!! All I'm asking for is a little more time, another six months maybe! We'll get to the bottom of this! Ok, yes Bert,..oh, hi hun...Bert, I'll call you back." Slamming the old black phone down on the antique desk, Andre took a glass of lemonade, downed it and slammed the glass back on the serving tray without saying a word.

Dee moved closer and stroked the front of his plaid shirt. It felt soft, almost spongy. "My god," Dee thought silently, "Andre really has a lot of hair!!" She pecked his cheek again. This time Andre spoke. "I need to go back. out there."

The fight that ensued was typical. He was direct and short and emotionless. She was teary and whimpering. It was far beyond Delilah Stevens as to why Andre could want to go back out to sea, to those seven other hairy sailor men, and not stay in Prescott happily, sweetly with her. Dee blurted out feebly, "You are a cruel and malevolent person who only likes whales!" and turned back down the stairs. She kept going into the yard, where she stopped to sit on the tire-swing that drooped from the ageless elm overlooking her home. Andre, still in the study, had another glass of lemonade. Then he slammed the glass down on the antique desk. The desk was immediately showered in ice and shards of glass and the blood from Andre's hairy but tender hand.

Enraged, Andre ran downstairs presumably to find a bandage. But he didn't stop at the bathroom. He went to kitchen in search of a blade. "Damn wench served me broken lemonade. I'll fix her! Maird!!" Visions of Muffy, his childhood cat, flashed before his eyes, tormenting his soul and making him twitch like a nervous sparrow. Wildly hairy, bloody hands ripped through the knife block. None of these would do. "Ahoy!!" Cursing in French, Andre snatched the cleaver from the table and sprinted out the open door. Delilah wept audibly from the yard unknowing of what evil was quickly approaching.

The cold, razor-sharp blade of the clever glinted in the warm afternoon sun just a few inches above Delilah's pretty head. In a moment her ear was laying next her, curling and uncurling all on its own. Delilah Stevens jumped back in the horror of what was happening to her. She lunged and managed to tackle Andre. Beads of sweat stung her eyes; blood gushed steadily from the hole where her ear had been. The clever lay silently in the cool grass. Before lunging again, Delilah thought to herself "Boy, Andre is really hairy!"

The two wrestled madly and punches were thrown. Dee managed to get a good kick in the groin to buy her some time to locate the clever. Having done so, she slit her lover's fat, hairy neck several times. Then she prepared to butcher his carcass.

About thirty minutes later, Dee calmly unloaded her lover's remains in the old camp trunk she used for knickknacks and assorted memorabilia. She dragged the heavy trunk across the street and towards the water. Never in a million years, would she have ever dreamed that this old camp trunk would serve to carry the hacked remains of her sweet man, Andre. She thought of what kind of trunk she'd like to replace it with...maybe one of those old footlockers from the army-navy store.

A recently familiar voice called after her. "Ahoy there!" a kind, sandy voice issued from the beach. It was Zack taking a romantic stroll with Joanne his ewe.

"Whatcha doin' out here little miss? I figured you'd be wrapped around that fella of yours by now," he said crudely.

Dee couldn't hide her tears and knew that she had been caught red-handed. Pointing to the parcel at her feet, she sobbed wildly. The old man opened the old trunk with the toe of his stiletto pump. In a moment, Zack dropped to the ground as he realized that the stinking heap of blood and bones in the trunk was once his friend Andre.

Joanne licked the old man's face to revive him. And in a long, sorrowful monologue Delilah Stevens attempted to explain what had happened since the day began. Zack just listened and nodded and embraced his ewe. He wasn't going to tell the authorities. Well, that is, under the conditions he stipulated there on the beach. Delilah was desperate and fragile, and even though she knew very little about sheep she agreed to the terms. The three of them walked back to Zack's.

The tiny shack that Zack called home was rancid. And huge. It was the strangest thing. The outside was no bigger than a school bus, but the interior had several expansive levels. Zack explained that the shack contained several living areas, a few restaurants, two sports arenas, and of course the petting zoo. Then there were the eggs.

Delilah didn't know where to start asking questions, the day had been so weird. The old man just leaned back in his Barcalounger and sipped a sweet stinky tea that somehow reminded Dee of quiche. In between loud sips of tea, he would gesture to the eggs and lecture on the "Grand Design." Something about controlling the lives of the village folk with the eggs and getting too old for the job. Zack Crespo was surely insane.

Dee got up, walked about and inspected the eggs. The old man had painted an egg for each person in Prescott. Each one was different, but unmistakably resembled a person of the community. She also noticed that there was no egg for Andre. When she asked Zack about it, he just motioned to a pile of crumbled shells in the corner. She picked up an egg...Howard Wagner's egg. Howard was Zack's neighbor. After admiring the handiwork for a moment, Dee accidentally let the fragile egg slip through her fingers. It crashed to the floor and at once a scream was heard across the yard. Mrs. Wagner had found her husband dead, slumped over his nightly bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, hardly touched.

Zack and Delilah immediately felt uncontrollably mischievous. They flung eggs at each other, crunching them indiscriminately. Evil laughter filled the shack. All over Prescott, death was spreading like mercury. Soon the two new friends found that the older, stinking eggs, were not so easy to break. Some of them even began to shimmy and crack. With sinister grins upon their faces, Zack and Delilah were delighted to see each one hatch, right there in front of them. Dozens of headless falcon chicks filled the room. And all was good in Prescott, Maine.

As darkness fell, Delilah struck a match and lit several of the lamps in the main room. The lamps were filled with a strange, fatty oil that burned brightly. Dee chuckled at the thought of this and went to fix some tea. Zack Crespo was not a hairy man.

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