Expectations of the Evening 

The three meat and four cheese frozen lasagne 

and the “restaurant-style” dough balls with the garlic butter 

(free of either real garlic or actual butter, which I know is how you like it) 

join the decent red I sneaked through the self-checkout 

by scanning some cheap plonk twice over. 

This feat of prestidigitation has been well practised 

these many Fridays, on the way back from the bar, 

on the way back from work, 

after the usual thing in the over lit aisles,  

counting and contemplating the adjectives –  

Specially selectedlightly whippedcreamy – 

and balancing them against the cost, 

which is always too high, 

Because it’s “just marketing crap”, we say, 

and “you can’t tell the difference,” we say, 

and “it’s just the same thing every week,” we say. 

As we’ve said now for so very many years. 

But judicious juggling of the cartons, 

which may or may not still bear their original bar codes, 

smuggles another sumptuous alongside a naturally ripened

sidles another smothered up against a cocoa dusted

brings things up just enough to match my expectations for the evening. 

As they once were. 

Mike Hickman (@MikeHicWriter) is a writer from York, England. He has written for Off the Rock Productions (stage and audio), including 2018’s “Not So Funny Now” about Groucho Marx and Erin Fleming. He has recently been published in EllipsisZine, Dwelling Literary, Bandit Fiction, Nymphs, Flash Fiction Magazine, Brown Bag, and Red Fez. His co-written, completed six-part BBC radio sit com remains frustratingly as unproduced as it was the last time he updated this biography. So here it is, line by [almost] line (Part Seven): “I’m surprised you didn’t notice the twenty foot drop outside the front porch. If you’d given me another ten minutes, I’d’ve had a drawbridge knocked up for you…” “Oh, I thought that was the front step. I’m always tripping over that.”

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