N’s aunt recently gave us a sausage that was in the process of drying. “This sausage is drying,” N said as he brought it into the kitchen. “Don’t put it in the refrigerator.”
“Where should we put it?”
He paused. It wasn’t the first time I’d asked that question about a drying sausage. “Maybe we should put it outside the door this time,” he suggested.
Later that day, I took the sausage onto the landing outside our door and looked around fruitlessly for a place to hang it. I wondered if I should rest it on the windowsill. As I contemplated having to move a sausage every time I wanted to open the window, I noticed two projecting loops on the window frame that lock the interior shutters into place. I hung the sausage there by the string that tied its two ends together.
A few days later the aunt came for a visit. When I opened the door, she said, “Oh, you’re drying the sausage out here,” obviously pleased. “But it’s better this way,” she said, turning the sausage ninety degrees so that it rested directly on the metal loops.
When N came home that evening he said, “I see that you’ve turned the sausage.”
“No, your aunt did, she said it was better that way.”
“But now the sun will hit the sausage.”
“Boh,” I said, shrugging.
A couple of days later, I noticed that the hallway smelled like a salumeria and that there was fluffy white mold growing on the sausage. When N came home that evening, I asked him if he had noticed the odor on the landing. I told him about the mold.
“Mannaggia!” he said. “We shouldn’t dry sausages in this house! Now we have to eat that sausage.”
“Tonight?” I asked, wondering how well moldy sausage would complement chicken and dumplings.
“No, but soon.”
The next day I decided to use the sausage. As I brought it into the kitchen, I noticed that it was already hard. I began to remove the moldy casing but the hardness of the sausage made it difficult. I broke it in half where it was folded, hoping to get a better start, but it was no easier.
“N,” I shouted into the living room, “we are not eating this sausage today. I don’t have all day to peel it!”
I put the sausage in a bowl on the kitchen counter, thinking that I would decide what to do with it later. But it wasn’t long before the sausage stank up the kitchen. I moved it to the office, the driest room in the house. When the time came to dry a wet towel on the radiator there, I realized the office was no place to dry a sausage. Defeated, I hung it back up on the landing window, once again by its string; the sausage being broken, there was no other way. I resolved to ignore the sausage and its meaty odor.
I know the aunt will be displeased when she sees that the sausage no longer hangs in the manner she prefers.When she asks, I’ll tell her the sausage fell and broke. Then, shrugging, I’ll say, “Boh.”
Epilog: Death of a Sausage