The roommate's manner continued to disturb the newlyweds. His behavior was quite alarming... Graciously welcoming them home from their honeymoon, helping them with their luggage, and inviting them to join him for dinner: a provocatively aromatic stew simmering in their newly acquired slow cooker.
They sat and tried to relax with their old chum, though the maniacal glint in his eyes was becoming unnerving. They were no strangers to his long, protracted practical jokes, though his ability to keep this one to himself for so long was conspicuous. He was known throughout their circle of friends for divulging even the supposedly most tightly guarded secrets at the tip of a hat. They were waiting at any moment for him to burst out with whatever inane story he had to share.
The cozy home was quiet, save for the bubbling stew. Their rambunctious shepherd mix was still with his mother; the moose of a canine being an undue burden on their busy roommate. He was, of course, more than happy to care for their low maintenance domestic short-hair, Mojo, during their absence. The cat apparently was still bitter about her owners' trip, as she had yet to slink downstairs to greet her caretakers.
The groom, hungry from their long trip back from the tropics, nibbled on some garlic toast, and then was seduced by the aroma of the stew that had been ladled into his bowl. The deep red broth swirled slowly, slices of carrot lazily bumping into bits of soft celery and chunks of potato. The hearty smell of black pepper and oregano drifted through the dimly lit kitchen, and enticed the new bride to likewise take a tantalizing slurp of the concoction.
"Do you like it?" he asked, on the brink of unbridled enthusiasm. They had known him to be awfully proud of his omeletes, and perhaps he was merely seeking approval of his latest endeavor.
"Yeah, man," the new husband answered, relishing the rich, smoky flavors of the meal. "Where'd you get the recipe? Food Network.com?"
"Oh," he replied, "I got it out of one of y'all's cookbooks. Made a few adjustments to make it suit my style. You all had told me to use up the stuff in the fridge while you were gone, so I figured I would make the best stew I could with what was around the house."
The young woman was impressed. The stew was well composed, rich, and the meat was tender and erupting with flavor. "This is great. Did you use the rest of that ribeye we had left?"
"No," he replied. "I didn't think that was the right fit for this recipe."
"Oh," she said. "This does fit better. Is this a lamb shank or something?"
"No," he replied. "I just tried to use things that were already here in the house," he said as he rose to clear the table.
The couple sat puzzled, as they reached the bottom of their bowls. They didn't think they had left any other meat in the refrigerator before their departure.
Confounded, the new bride was about to ask what he did use in the stew, when a horrible, sinking feeling began to pool in her stomach. And she suddenly became far too frightened to wonder out loud why their darling cat had not yet trotted down the steps to come see them...
"If you want I can give you the recipe," he offered. "But it might be a little tricky now to find everything you need... for Mojo Stew."