Benjamin came in from school just as his Gramma was taking a pie out of the oven. The kitchen was warm and the smell was gorgeous.
"Wow! Someone's been busy today!" said Benjamin. "I don't remember the last time you made a pie, Gramma."
"Wash up, give a kiss, and then sit. This sort of pie you eat when it's piping hot." Gramma was wearing oven mitts as she handled the pie and set the kitchen table. Benjamin was washing his hands at the kitchen sink as Gramma continued: "It's Mum Pie."
"One of Mum's recipes?" asked Benjamin, drying his hands on his jeans and hopping onto the wooden stool by the table.
"No, Mum's in the pie. It's Mum. Mum Pie, I call it." Gramma smiled at Benjamin, and her breath whistled through that empty space between the teeth at the left corner of her mouth. "I had my fill of her in life, today was the day she had to go. Maybe she'll leave us a better taste now."
Benjamin nodded. "Can't say as I'll miss her." He tucked a paper napkin onto his lap.
"Nasty bit of business, she was. Never any good. Bad seed. Only thing she ever did right was have you. I clubbed her with the rolling pin. Very little blood, considering. Did it right there --" and Gramma pointed at the linoleum in front of the double oven, across from the recycling container. "Peroxide cleaned it right up. No bleach. Hate the smell of bleach."
"So which of Mum is in the pie?" asked Benjamin.
"Now that was the hard part, Benjy." Gramma shook her head. She had a big cake cutter and was eyeing the pie, trying to decide where to make the first slice. "Your Mum was less edible than most. No damn heart, as you well know. Brains in short supply -- less than a serving for anyone not anorexic. Lots of gristle from all that Zumba. Silicone and collagen and botox in the damnedest places."
"Kidney? Liver? What then?" asked Benjamin.
"Liver was shot to hell from the booze. Kidneys were shriveled from the Spanx. Lungs, well, let's not go there, Miss Marlboro." Gramma shook her head at the pie like she was talking to her daughter.
"Doesn't sound like much Mum in Mum Pie," laughed Benjamin.
"Oh she's in there alright, " said Gramma, "It's her very soul that's in there. Fluttery thing. I was despairing that even in death she was no sustenance to us, and then something fluttered up from her corpse and tickled my ear, and don't you know it was her soul. Who said the soulless don't have souls. It's like a moth, only it makes this peeping sound. So I grabbed it in my fist, and I crushed it." Gramma demonstrated by miming the action. "'Cause you gotta stop that peeping before you cook it."
Now Gramma ninja-whooshed around and jammed the cutter into the pie and made two quick and clean slices, creating a perfect triangle which she scooped onto a plate for Benjamin. "Enjoy, young man." said Gramma.
"Thanks, Gramma!" he said, and forked the steaming piece of pie. "It's nice to know that Mum had a soul, after all."
"Yeah, but it still needed nutmeg," said Gramma, and she smiled, watched as Benjamin savored a bite of pie and then swallowed and reached for more. "Not much that couldn't do with a little nutmeg, now I think about it," said Gramma.