Here is my entry for this week’s Weekly Writing Challenge. This time a photo is provided as a prompt. I love photo prompts. Though the challenge of writing 1,000 words isn’t strict, I wrote exactly 1,000 words on the button anyway. I realize that’s a bit long for this format, but stick with me. There’s a zinger at the end. That’s mostly because I just like zingers at the end. My story begins after the image.
All are encouraged to join the challenge, located here: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/06/03/weekly-writing-challenge-1000-words-three/
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Word Count: 1,000
In Perfect Union With Food
A Chef’s work is hard. Working as a chef for the tyrannical Garand, owner of The Island restaurant, is even harder. Samuel and Kurt relaxed on the balcony after their grueling shift, too exhausted to speak. As the sun slowly set beneath the waters of Puget Sound, they amused themselves by throwing fries over the edge and watching seagulls catch them in mid-air.
“Wouldn’t you like to do that?” Asked Samuel.
“What? Eat fries? I can do that now,” said Kurt.
Kurt tiredly ran his hand across his narrow features, “Yeah. Then I’d fly out of here and start my own restaurant.”
Samuel dipped a chunk of King Crab in garlic butter and said, “What if I told you, you could?”
“How? You need money to start a restaurant.”
Kurt looked pained. “What are you talking about?”
Samuel placed robust, hairy forearms on the table and leaned forward. He spoke in a husky tone, “When I was vacationing in Argentina, I met a scientist who studied food and how it works on the brain. He had worked out a complicated process to create unusual chemical reactions in the body. The enzyme and hormone mix from this cause previously unused connections in the brain to suddenly fire. In short, his food could unlock super-human abilities.”
“Get out. Like what?”
“Like make you stronger or smarter, or even fly.”
“Uh huh,” Kurt dead-panned and swallowed an oyster. “I suppose he has proof this works?”
“I saw it. I witnessed it with my own eyes.”
“Uh huh. Don’t tell me. One of the ingredients was a particular, colorful mushroom, right?”
“Nope, I didn’t try the food. The ingredients were all pretty normal. The preparation was unique. No one in any cooking school would ever cook food quite this way. The guy told me it was all about putting a person in perfect union with food. With certain timings and combinations, the food combines with the human body in a unique way. I don’t understand the science of it. I’m no biochemist. I can only tell you I actually saw it work.”
Kurt leaned back and crossed his arms. “This is an amusing fantasy, Sam. But even if true, you would need a lab, know the process, and all the specific ingredients.” He shook his head. “You don’t have all that.”
“He gave me the recipe. I helped him make the food. You could do it in a kitchen, but you’d need a fully decked out kitchen, like in a restaurant.”
“You mean you could make this?”
“With help. Yours specifically. Look, I don’t honestly think it will do anything. I just want to try it.”
“That jackass, Garand would never let us do it. We’d have to work after hours, and Garand locks everything up.”
Samuel smiled conspiratorially around an oyster. “MacCullen has a key, and he’s already agreed to leave the door unlocked if we try this.”
“MacCullen? The night janitor? How did you get that old codger to agree?”
“You don’t think Garand treats him any better than us, do you?”
“Hmm. Good point.” For years, MacCullen had worked cleaning the restaurant at night. His arch-nemesis was a greasy stain on the high, vaulted ceiling above the kitchen. No ordinary ladder could reach high enough to let MacCullen clean it. A cherry-picker crane would reach high enough, but Garand refused to pay for the rental, insisting that MacCullen “figure it out.” For years, the stain remained, and twice a week Garand badgered MacCullen about the unreachable blot.
“This is charging at windmills, you realize,” said Kurt.
“Does that mean you’re in?”
Kurt swigged the last of his chardonnay. “Let’s do it.”
Two nights later, the two slipped through the side door, left unlocked as promised. They set to work quickly. They lit as few lights as possible, often working in poor light, to avoid revealing their activities. Though chefs are commonly precise in assembling food, the exquisite attention to detail required more of them than usual. They measured out liquids with an eye-dropper, timed the cooking with a stopwatch, and measured spices with a tiny, sensitive scale. No food could be mixed in error. A single grain of sea salt could never fall into the wrong pan. After three hours of painstaking work, the two were once again, exhausted.
“The servings are precise,” said Samuel, as the two intrepid chefs gazed at the plates. “You have to eat every molecule. Lick the plate.”
“Just tell me,” said Kurt. “This won’t kill me, right?”
“Of course not! You helped make it. It’s just food.”
Kurt lifted a fork. “Maybe write a quick will on a napkin?”
“Eat!” Insisted Samuel, and he dug in.
When the two were done eating, they sat down and waited. “That was really tasty,” said Kurt. “Different, but good.”
Samuel yawned. “I think it’s making me sleepy.”
“Me too,” yawned Kurt. In moments, the two were fast asleep.
“Get up, you hooligans!” Shouted MacCullen.
Samuel and Kurt jolted awake. They woke from their own drool where they had sat down before. They looked at each other with questioning eyes. The answer was there. The experiment had failed.
“Get out, the pair a’ ya’,” growled MacCullen. “You were supposed to be gone by now.”
Muttering apologies, the wayward chefs hustled outside.
“I had a great dream at least,” said Samuel.
“Yeah. I dreamed I flew over the Great Pyramids and flew along the Nile River.”
“I dreamed I flew too, over the Greek isles. I wrote graffiti in gold spray paint on ceilings. It was fun.” Samuel hung his head. “I’m sorry, Kurt. We only made dreams, not realities.”
Kurt slapped him on the shoulder. “Cheer up, Debbie Downer. Happy dreams are a good thing.”
Back in the restaurant. MacCullen scowled at the unsightly mess. He looked up to eye his old nemesis, and noticed something had changed. Written across the high unreachable stain–in gold spray paint–were the words, “In Perfect Union With Food.”