I know!! I am the WORST blogger ever and deserted my faithful readers over the past few weeks.
Feel free to shoot me, bite me, kick me, curse me, hate me, or do anything else you want. However, if you would like me start posting blogs again, I suggest you refrain from doing anything that might impale my brain, eyes, or hands, as those are all crucial parts of blogging.
I moved into my lovely "suite" in Lincoln; I'm all settled, kinda sorta teaching for the district and am- wait for it- taking a full load of ONLINE (but just as much work as regular) classes. I know! However, it provides me the opportunity to get back on my parents health insurance (I should live in Europe) and I get to learn, which we all know is one of my favorite past times.
I thought that for my first returning blog I would post a piece I created for my Fiction writing class. It was only a one page piece and was sort of just a writing exercise, which will later be turned into a full short story, so bare with the lack of finish, etc. I'm not really looking for a critique- we do that in the online class, but if you can't keep your fingers from judging, then please feel free.
Keep in mind the prompt was to take some characters to dinner and have them talk about the food they eat.
Also, expect to see these topics in several posts this week... Wine Parties, High Fructose Corn Syrup, more stories, and the myriad of annoying gym goers. I hope that leaves you intrigued.
(Sorry for the length, but it was an assignment.)
Beef and Crumpet
Jim opened the solid cherry wood door with one hand while answering the buzz on his Blackberry. He rolled his eyes as he entered the foyer. The last thing he wanted to do on a Friday night after flying from London to New York was eat at some up and coming wannabe Manhatten hot spot, but work was work.
He approached the host’s podium, “Yes, hello, my name is Jim Crumpet, I’m here for-” “Jim Crumpet from the International Food Journal?!” “Er, yes, I have reservations at 7 and I’d prefer if you wouldn’t mention my connection to the um, Journal.” “Yes sir. Excuse me. I’ll go see if your table is ready.” As the twenty year old hostess smoothed his gelled hair and quickly left the waiting area, Jim turned his head when he heard a loud laugh behind him. The man met Jim’s eyes, “Howdy.” Jim lifted his head as a hello before he turned and rolled his eyes.
The host came back with a huge grin. “Ah, Mr. Crumpet there seems to be a slight problem. We seemed to be overbooked at the moment.” “And that means what exactly?” Jim said, leaning his upper body over the podium. “It means I can put you at a table with someone else or you can wait, but it will be two hours.” “What?! Two hours? I have been on a plane all day, I’m starving and you want me to make small talk with some ninny or wait for two bloody hours?” Jim folded his arms across his broad chest awaiting an answer. “Yes, I’m afraid that is the case.” Jim exhaled heavily. He tapped his brown loafer and smelled a mix of salty meats and fresh tomatoes. He knew he had no choice. “Fine, I’ll share a table with someone.” “Okay sir, I’ll see if I can find someone willing to share.” As the host was about to saunter away, he stopped.
“Um, excuse me, I’d be happy to share a table, buddy.” The man behind Jim took off his cowboy hat as he spoke to the host. “Wonderful! If you’ll come this way I can seat you both.” The cowboy led the way and Jim shook his head. “I can’t believe this,” he mumbled as they passed plates of salmon and tangy dill sauce, sweet smells of sugar burning on crème brulee and the clatter of pots and pans in the open kitchen.
The host sat them at the table and handed them long black menus before quickly scattering off like a mouse.
Jim perused the menu quietly, up and down searching for an appetizer. “So, partner, whatcha thinking about?” the cowboy said, while stroking his 5 o’clock shadow. “Well, I’m obviously trying to pick an appetizer.” “Righto! I guess I’ll do the same.” “Uh huh,” Jim said while pausing his eyes on the third item on the menu: Artichoke and Olive Bruschetta, served with olive oil baked bread and broiled elephant garlic. Jim closed the menu and scanned the room looking for the waiter. He met eyes with a young woman with a long blonde ponytail. She walked over to the table, smiling, “Good evening, gentlemen! Welcome to La Fleur.” “Well thank ya, honey,” the cowboy said. “I’m ready to order a first course,” said Jim. “Okay, let me just get my pen and pad here.” “I’d like to start with a glass of your 2006 Chardonnay and the Artichoke and Olive Bruschetta.” “Excellent choice! And for you sir?” “I was going to have the same, you wanna share?” Jim hesitated, but thought anything to speed up the process would be best. “Fine, we’ll share.” The waitress smiled and closed her ordering book audibly. “Okay, I’ll be back with that wine asap!”
Jim tapped his fingers on the clean white tablecloth. “My name’s Dallas by the way. Dallas from Dallas.” He laughed at his own joke. “Jim, Jim Crumpet,” he said as he shook his rough hand. “So Jim Crumpet, where the heck ya from?” “From London, actually.” “London?! Well, that sounds mighty fine, and what do you do out there in ole’ London?” “I’m a food critic actually.” “Well that sounds spectacular. I’m in the food biz myself, yes siree. I own a cattle ranch out there in Dallas and I’m just out here promoting my beef to new restaurants.” “Oh, how lovely,” Jim added, thinking how foul owning a beef ranch must be. Dallas continued to talk about raising cattle, raising kids and “the good ole’ life” in the “Big State”.
“Okay boys, I’m here with your bruschetta and wines!” the waitress said short of breath while she tried to carry the heavy tray. “Finally,” Jim said, as he breathed in the vinegar smell of the artichokes and the warm smell of the toasted bread.
The waitress left the warm plate and the wine. Jim lifted his glass and sniffed the citrus smell of the wine. “Whatcha doing there, buddy.” “Well, I’m smelling the wine to catch the flavors before I take a sip.” “Huh, I just always go for it.” “How fascinating, but how can you truly taste the light orange flavor if you just ‘go for it?’” Jim asked, while using air quotes. “I don’t really taste that. It’s more, uh, it’s more like um sour.” “Well, that would probably be a little lemon too.” “Hm, well I say we dig into this bruschetta, here.” Both men scooped some artichokes and olives on a toasted piece of sourdough. “Yum, gotta love anything salty, especially if it’s beef.” Dallas laughed again while Jim orderly took a bite, sipped his wine and took a bite again. “I hate to keep asking you what you’re doing, Mr. Food Critic, but uh, why the back and forth?” Jim exhaled through his nose before he answered. “Well, to get the true taste of the food and wine I must pair them.” Dallas tilted his head and looked at him. “You see, the olives bring out a sweeter flavor in the wine. Try it.” Dallas took a large bite of bread and took a gulp of wine almost at the same time. “Huh. I don’t taste anything different, just makes my throat kinda burn, my man.” Jim lifted the right side of his lip in disgust. “It might help if you wait to drink your wine until you fully finish your bruschetta.” Dallas attempted to try again and Jim opened the menu. “Let’s just order soup, shall we?”