Ghost in the Kitchen – Part 2

Click here to read Part 1 “I bought another book today.” “Where, on eBay?” “Yes.” Christian shifts in his seat to face her. “Could you please… slow down.” She sucks air between her teeth, “Relax.” Silence. “I’m not speeding. And why waste money on books? No one reads like that anymore.” “I do.” His hands betray his annoyance at her tone and he deliberately turns his head toward the oncoming lights. “Do you?” “It’s old-fashioned.” His jaw tightens. The tail lights of a tractor-trailer wink in and out of the darkness. “Ten years ago, kitchens used real recipes to make food. Back then I used to cook – with real vegetables that still had dirt on them. I used a real knife and a cutting board and made salads with real lettuce and dressing.” His voice grows quiet as he utters the last syllable. Unbidden, an image of him wearing a chef’s jacket surfaces. His next sentence comes out in a rush, “Now it’s just a matter of mixing one flavor strip with the next.” She grips the steering wheel more tightly and the car speeds up. Christian sighs and says, “Celia, let the GPS take us home.” “No.” “Why are you so stubborn? Let the computer do what it was programmed to do. He reaches out and strokes her cheek.  “I promise… promise to stop living in the past.” Celia allows the tension to leave her shoulders. “It’s just that sometimes, I feel as if you’re trying to make the […]

The Dance

The Dance It’s called the line, and each night we dance: Bend, twist, lift, swing – A ghostly symphony that waits and plays by ear.    An orchestra: Pots, pans, oil sputters, the Garland burner roars, Refrigerators hum, a freezer’s occasional chime.   Pivot right, turn left, the MICROS begins to sing, The rhythm crests, pulses. Entrees hot and salads cold.   We dance our dance, a performance never seen Receives the standing ovation it deserves.   We know our parts, and wait expectantly. The MICROS sings, the rush begins: Focus, push – the line moves as one.   Cooks, shoulder-to-shoulder: Adrenaline rush, purpose, Entrees hot and salads cold.   We dance our dance, a performance never seen Receives the standing ovation it deserves.   Foxtrot lively, brisk, quick, Nicoise, Waldorf, Cobb, Caesar, Salsa picante, moves meringue – sweat, pivot, timing.   Seared halibut, glazed spring vegetables, Well-done rib eye, tempura onion rings, peppercorn, Sweet symphony, graceful, finesse.   Tiramisu, sorbet, cobbler, Macaroon, red velvet, Entrees hot and salads cold.     We dance our dance, a performance never seen Receives the standing ovation it deserves   We special few cook with hand, heart, and mind, Converting more than recipes from books, A mirepoix of memories and tradition.     The bounty of the earth: So, night after night we gather – Hot kitchen, cold kitchen.     Begin the dance. The chorus sings: Entrees hot and salads cold!   We dance our dance, a performance never seen Receives the standing ovation […]

CEDE the DEMON – Morlock Ends (part 3)

Better to not dwell on the past. Its 6 am, and the alarm shatters the quiet with an ear splitting beep that pulses louder in intensity and jolts Cede awake. Sleepily he gropes for the snooze button, but changes his mind and stumbles out of bed. Yawning, he pushes his door open and shuffles down the hallway towards the bathroom. In the kitchen, the coffee machine begins to gurgle as Cede steps into the tiny shower and turns on the water faucet. Lathering himself with soap, he watches indifferently as rivulets of soap run down his chest to collect in little puddles at his feet. The water is tepid and smells slightly of sulfur but Cede has grown accustomed to the odor. It’s a part of this old Victorian house, the corroded iron pipes, the pine flooring, the narrow windows with their gingerbread fretwork. The few beams of sunlight brave enough to make it through, barely make a dent in the perpetual gloom. Humming, he continues to scrub his back with a rag. He turns the faucet off, grabs a threadbare towel and begins to dry his scrawny frame. Cede needed his morning coffee. Moving barefoot around the kitchen, he reached up to the top shelf of the pantry searching with his fingers until they brushed against his mom’s favorite instant oatmeal. Each morning like clockwork, Cede would make a bowl of Uncle Roy’s blueberry oatmeal, butter two pieces of toast and pour a glass of orange juice. Then he would climb the stairway […]

CEDE the Demon – Eve 409 (Part 2)

“And what if nature chose you to lead the attack?” Cede the Demon With all the panic and worry about whose home, might be the next to go, the suicide rate jumped from zero to three in the first month. The local pharmacist Jim Belandy used his Ruger model 44 carbine to blow his brains out in the back his store, what with his wife and six kids to feed. The next day, his wife Molly, climbed over a concrete road divider and stepped in front of a semi-tractor trailer. As for the six kids, the county welfare agency bundled them up in the back of a Ford Explorer and no one has seen them since. The townsfolk in Morlock were accustomed to hardship; Reverend Judas knew this, he had lived here all his life. And as he preached in front of a packed congregation in the stifling July heat, he ended his Sunday sermon with the words, “living is as natural as dying, it is not for us to question the when or why.” His message was well received by Morlocks’ citizens and for the rest of that week, there was a sense of calm and hope as people went about their daily business. But then, the rats began to die. Lester, the town drunk claimed “they jus climbing out the drains, frittering and shaking, running all crazy like.” By noon that day, cars going up and down the streets of Morlock , had pulverized the rotting flesh into […]

CEDE the DEMON – Davey Ray Lane (Part 1)

Like the outbreak of a plague, no one was prepared when the recession hit. In fact, the government predicted it would be as short lived as Flu season in the fall. But the cold was death in disguise and the recession crept up on those houses in Davey Ray lane like a tsunami wreaking havoc on the rail yard and slowly pulling the shutters of each house shut as it receded. In its wake, the remnants of a rusted chain link fence and an air of melancholy as solemn as a funeral procession. Crab grass and ground ivy grew without check in the front yards where children used to play.

To Catch a Cereal Killer – A Stayache Tataland Murder Mystery

Rat fink was dead and buried. Hannikah the shrew was in the great barnyard in the sky, and everyone else was scared shitless. The Holstein police were busy trying to guess the killer’s name, they had spent the last two days watching reruns of “The Price is Right”, but they forgot to buy a clue. After two days, their list had more vowels than alphabet soup. They looked at the list up close, then afar and finally upside down, and eventually became more confused than before. Moo York’s mayor Cock-A-Doodle was in a foul mood in fact he was madder than a feather duster at a vacuum cleaner conference. The public was becoming antsy; they wanted the killer caught. This cereal killer debacle was a public relations nightmare that was beginning to spin out of control. This was an election year and the bumbling of the police department was hurting his campaign. At that moment, he was in his office putting the spur to the police chief’s backside. Cock-A-Doodle was a seasoned political campaigner; rumor was, he was more slippery than the fox in the henhouse. It was even said, that the fox was his drinking buddy and if the rumor is to be believed; also on his payroll, as an enforcer for the numerous illicit henhouses owned by Cock-A-Doodle. He was one bad ass rooster and Chief Cremo knew it. The mayor was threatening to fire the entire department, if some headway wasn’t made soon and pronto. This was […]

Who Killed Rat Fink? – A Stayache Tataland Mystery

 Business was churning as smooth as butter in Stayache Tataland. The Heard, were now silent partners with Vin Weasel in the doggie cookie business.  The success of the Oreo cookie marketing campaign had become a cash cow for Lupo and his gang. Plus, they still had their hooves in an extortion ring that controlled production from Stayache Tataland to Moo York and parts of Filly. These days it was all about C.R.E.A.M, hundred dollar bills y’all. As the head of an organized crime family, Lupo was extremely business savvy and read The Wall Street Journal. He never kept all his cheese in one basket. He had Filly cream cheese, American cheese, stinky Tellagio cheese in France, and his favorite – Swiss cheese. He called his investment banker, Hannikah the Shrew and told her to transfer a million bullsheets from his Jersey Shore account to Switzerland. Swiss bankers like the Oyster Rockerfellas, were as tight lipped as clams and never questioned how their clients made their money. They were accustomed to dealing with gangsters and other members of the criminal underworld. Lupo was tired, it had been a busy day and after checking his various accounts on his Apple IPad , he decided to go home early. Even gangsters need a break and Lupo felt it was time, to take a well deserved vacation. Lupo had been thinking about flying to Europe to visit his cousin, Benicio del Toro. His cousin was a famous Spanish actor. Each time they spoke, he […]

Welcome to Stayache Tataland – A Beasty Fear Tail

In Stayache Tataland there lived a Jersey Heard of cows whose calves were all slender and shapely, well suited for supporting plump bovine figures. Each day, Mercedes, Lexus, Sapphire, Paradise, Champagne, and Swantina worked out on the pole to keep the hump in their rumps. These were young heifers and for them it was all about cows gone wild and partying.