4 min read

Have You Eaten? Part Three

Part 3 out now!
Have You Eaten? Part Three
Cover by Shing Yin KhorCover by Shing Yin Khor

Have You Eaten? part 3 is live at Reactor!

Morrow confronts someone they thought was an ally, and in the process, must also confront a part of themself that they thought was under control. This installment is incredibly personal to me, so of course I included a recipe that I only make for and with the people I love best.

If you haven’t heard, Have You Eaten? is my serialized novella about queer dirtbags on the run, searching for their missing best friend. It's the story of how they nurture and nourish each other with their limited emotional and material resources. The entire novella is out this week over at Reactor, with sections going up each day through Friday. Each installment of Have You Eaten? is accompanied by an original recipe from my recipe box. You'll also find stunning original art from friend of the newsletter and genuine superstar, Shing Yin Khor. 

You can read Parts 1 through 4 now, or keep scrolling for an excerpt from Part 3 below (be warned: this excerpt contains spoilers for Part 2, and contains a depiction of intimate partner violence.)

Excerpt: Morrow’s Breakup

The old farmhouse has thin walls, so everyone in the kitchen knows it when Peter and Morrow go from fucking to fighting. The soft thumps and creaks from upstairs are interrupted by the sound of Morrow asking a question over and over, at increasing volume, and then there’s a crash that is unmistakably the sound of a body hitting a wall. And then another crash, that is unmistakably the sound of the same body hitting the wall again.

Quan is the first one to move. He and Harper and Fen have been processing oranges all morning for Missus Bouchard. They’ve been seated at the kitchen table—Quan slicing off thin curls of peel, Harper pulling off the white pith, Fen smashing the oranges through a wide-mesh strainer and into a huge pot in her lap. Quan still has the paring knife in his hand as he gets to his feet and heads for the stairs at the sound of the second impact.

Fen is next. She sets the pot on the table, careful even in her haste—that pot of pulp is their days’ rent—and by the third time they hear the body hit the wall, she and Quan are halfway up the stairs.

Harper doesn’t follow right away, because Fen is already on the way, and they don’t want to move until they know there’s a real problem. They finish pulling pith off the orange in their hand, adding it to the pile of foamy white discard on the scarred wooden kitchen table. They listen as, upstairs, Quan and Fen burst into Peter and Morrow’s bedroom. They don’t stand up until they hear Fen’s voice shouting a clear, high “What the fuck?!”

At the sound of that, Harper sets down their orange and makes for the stairs. They take their time. With each step they ascend, they hear the voices upstairs rise. Everyone is talking over each other. Harper can make out “explain” and “are you really” and “don’t fucking move” and “Daneka.”

They stand in the bedroom doorway and take in the scene. Morrow is in their underwear, breathing like a street-loose bull. Peter is curled at Morrow’s feet, naked, head tucked, hands clasped protectively over the back of his neck. Quan and Fen are standing near the bed, peering down at an unfamiliar white palmset.

Harper leans against the doorframe. “S’goin’ on?”

Morrow looks up. Their face is alight with rage. “He’s not who he says he is.”

“I never said I didn’t know her,” Peter says. The words come out muffled, thick with pain. “Babe, please. If you’ll just let me explain—”

Morrow’s body twists with liquid speed. They drive their heel hard into the back of Peter’s thigh, and the bone-deep thump of the impact shakes the air in the room. “We’ve been here for a fucking month,” Morrow says. They usually keep their voice small. It is not small now. “And you never thought to mention that you know Daneka? Never occurred to you?”

Harper straightens. “Wait. He knows Daneka?”

They kick out again, but Peter has curled himself up tighter, and the blow doesn’t land as hard this time. “You didn’t think you should tell us? Not once when we’ve been sitting around talking about how worried we are? Not once when you were inside of me?”

“Morrow, maybe you don’t want to—” Quan says, but Fen puts a hand on his shoulder and he falls silent.

Morrow squats down and grasps a fistful of Peter’s hair, wrenching his head back. “You remember what Fen said when we first met you?”

Peter looks up at Morrow the way a broke-neck deer on the side of the road looks at the receding taillights of the truck that put it there. Blood coats his lips and chin. “Wh—?”

“She said that if you fuck around,” Morrow growls, “you’ll find out.”

The hand that isn’t clenched around Peter’s hair forms a fist. The fist is the size of a brick. The fist is the weight of a brick. The fist is as hard as a brick. Peter closes his eyes, tries to twist out of Morrow’s grip as they draw the fist back, but there’s nowhere to go.

If you’re a paying subscriber, come by the Stone Soup Supper Club and let me know what you think of today’s installment! (If you’re not, now’s a good time to sign up.) 

No matter what, please do share Part 3 of Have You Eaten? far and wide. This story is so personal to me, and is such a swing for the fences – it’d mean the world to me if you’d tell your friends about it.