Leopold Harris

Jan. 5, 2020, 11:30 a.m.

Hoodwinked

Growing up Leo had been part of a mac n cheese family. With enough absent fathers to warrant a lifetime movie and a mom who struggled to make sauce from the packet it was no surprise that a pot of jello was considered an exceptional dessert. Home-baking was an art form that died with Laura Ingalls - until Eugene discovered Betty Crocker at the age of nine and gave the entire family a date with salmonella - and Leo learnt early on that if it couldn’t be cooked in a microwave then it better taste good in a sandwich, otherwise it was best left on the supermarket shelf. But, as an optimistic youngster eager to prove himself as the “man of the house’’, and a superb provider, Leopold began to dabble in the kitchen. Like many young men taking their first (and last) steps into the culinary world Leo’s signature dish was the people pleasing Spaghetti Bolognese. It was served to rave reviews, but like all good things the praise couldn't last.

It wasn’t long before Leopold came home to find a lump of lard standing at the head of the kitchen table proudly slicing up a chicken and tossing around words like ‘’marinated’’ and ’’seasoning’ like some kid-friendly Gordon Ramsey. It turned out that mom’s latest squeeze, Jeb, thought himself something of an ametuer chef, and without Leo around to toss a dose of reality on the man, his ego had been allowed to grow. By the time Leo had sampled Jeb’s famous Friday Fajitas he was plumper than ever and absolutely seething.

Leo hadn’t assembled anything more challenging than a ham sandwich since and he didn’t feel like making an exception for Halloween.

There was a lot of hype surrounding Aaron McKindy. He was, apparently, some sort of genius, but Aaron had never seemed like the sort of grown man who understood common sense, and today’s lesson was another excellent display of this failing. Only a mad man, a dentist strapped for cash, or a lazy son of a bitch, would think today’s lesson plan was a good idea. As a long suffering teacher and parent to a young child Aaron must know that Halloween was an american adult’s secondary antagonist - slot number one was obviously dominated by that capitalist celebration called Christmas.

There was nothing adult-friendly about a celebration of tooth-decay that got children all hopped up on sugar and then sent them off with a license to torment their neighbours for even more treats. Now that Leo was too old to avail of the free food he had come to dread the day and all the childish giggling and stick palms that accompanied it. The last thing he wanted to do was supervise some candy cook-off, but this lesson had not been devised with Leo’s sanity or education in mind. It was all about Aaron playing the Cool Parent/Teacher and shrugging off his babysitting duties all at the same time. Maybe the man was a genius? Either way, Leo wasn’t happy.

He spent a fair share of his time at school playing Parent to Eugene and he didn’t want that aspect of his life slipping into his lesson time too. It was imperative that he snag some other partner before the little four eyed leech latched unto him and drained Leo of whatever precious energy he had stored away for the day. With a stained smile he crouched down beside a nearby student and whispered, “Hey, don’t suppose you need a sous-chef?”

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