Just like his brother, Aaron and his compulsions, Chef’s Aunt Laura had issues of her own. She was a lottery freak. God help the soul who got between Laura and the live showing of each night’s lottery numbers.

In a show for Aaron, Chef ran the water in the sink so that the steam from the hot water was obvious then lathered deliberately enough to be obnoxious. With a quick glance at the sauce on the stove (had it broken?) he rinsed his hands and dried them with the same towel he had used as he cooked. “Eat it, Aaron,” he thought, knowing his brother had caught the deliberate, germophobic transgression.

As usual mom had to make a big fuss over Chef’s meal. The scallops were so tender, she said (Aaron thought his were rubbery), and the sauce was the best thing she’d ever tasted (Aaron found his a little bland). She was fawning over his brother. Again.

Aaron picked through much of his meal, eating some of the bacon in the sauce, very little of the scallops, and mostly just the potatoes and the salad. Aunt Laura, he realized, could as easily have been eating a Happy Meal from McDonald’s or a frozen pizza for as much attention she gave her plate. She was completely fixated on the television. By the time everyone had settled into their seats and dug into their food, they all essentially followed Laura’s lead. They all watched television. They all waited for the numbers.