Spring BBQ

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The scent of overly sweet pork drifted on the gentle northeastern breeze and tickled the back of John’s throat. He lifted his nose in the direction of the fence separating his backyard from the new neighbors and sniffed.


“You can smell it as well,” his wife Susan said quietly as she leaned forward and refilled her lemonade.


John stood and moved closer to the fence, straining to hear any noise from the other side. “It’s an odd smell.”


Susan shushed him with a finger to her lips. “They’ll hear you.”


John ignored her and peered through a knothole in the wooden barricade. Only six feet from the fence an impressive stainless steel BBQ gleamed in the spring sunshine, tendrils of grey wispy smoke escaping from the large pull down hood.


Without taking his eyes from the neighbor’s patio, he beckoned Susan with a wave of his arm. Soon after, she gently placed her hand on his shoulder.


He turned his head and whispered, “I don’t get it. They don’t have a car, no kids, no pets. We’ve never heard a TV or a radio. We’ve never seen them outside. When they arrived, they looked like a couple of homeless people dressed in rags, and yet they have the latest and greatest outdoor kitchen sitting on their patio, which they only fire up once a month and it always smells like over-sweetened pork.”


Their neighbor’s back door opened and the strange little man they’d only seen on the day he moved in, stepped onto the patio with a covered plate in hand.


The man placed the plate on a table beside the BBQ and called inside, “It should be ready soon, my love.” A muffled reply came from somewhere within.


He opened the hood of the BBQ to reveal a row of miniature sausages lined up across the hotplate. He lifted the lid of the plate he’d brought out and placed the missing child’s head onto the rotisserie attachment.


Two children had gone missing since the new arrivals moved in. John went to phone the police to say they’d been found.