Chef Jakub – Written By Stephen Fahey. Part 35
We spent more than a week concealing ourselves in that shack, the heat of day baking our organs inside us and the cold of night freezing our bones. But on the eight morning, just as dawn reached up over the horizon, the paltry door to our shack slung open and a man of extreme discernibility eyed the two of us. He didn’t belong in the slums and didn’t looking anything like the traders, so as Luke and I startled to our senses he waved us outside to where several armed men stood in a semicircle with their backs to us. A shared glance confirmed our half-awake suspicions, it was Cran. He had heard about the traders trawling the town for two foreign brothers who were magicians with food.
Not an uneducated man, the Mayor had decided to take us under his so-called wing, keeping us in his house and giving us access to his kitchen. Once he agreed to our terms of privacy and ceremony, he explained that he had already removed his resident cook. Then, when we arrived at the old fish factory, he himself led us to our quarters and the servants’ bathing room. That hot water was exquisite. Luke and I both scrubbed the slums out of our skin and hair and then dressed in the chefs’ uniforms provided to us.
Cran’s kitchen was very well stocked, it’s high ceilings and broad worktops were industrial and the looming windows allowed expansive amounts of light to flood all corners of the white tiled room. It was a pleasure to work in such a kitchen. And once Luke and I had familiarised ourselves with the layout of the room and the whereabouts of all the utensils, we requested permission to go to the market to acquire ingredients for the meal we had planned weeks before. We were like children gliding atop our excitement, even though Cran ordered guards to stay with us at all times. Neither myself nor Luke noticed the insidious presence of the guards, until that is, Ahmed started shouting at us from across the market as we finished collecting our ingredients. It was embarrassing, we hadn’t meant to hurt him or his father, or their people, but it didn’t seemed as though Ahmed had figured out that we had used them. He wanted to talk to us but our guards wouldn’t let him. We tried to persuade our guards to let him speak with us but our chaperones pushed him aside and hurried us back to the Mayor’s house. That was the first sign.
That first night, Cran ate alone at our request. We would later find out that he had always eaten alone before we arrived in the Bay. But that first night we felt as though he had gained his acquiescence. I gave my speech, served the lemon water and commenced the feast with the deep sea fish. As always, that first bite under the serum’s influence caused a shuddering vaunt of emotion to sink the Mayor’s outward ability to articulate himself. I served small helpings in order to keep Cran’s first feast under the two hour time limit. Shallow water fish soon induced a further laps into that exotic realm of pleasure. The Royal Plum then hurtled the Mayor into the highest heights of this world, until, of course, he tasted the second generation Sky Fire Oranges. It was then that he slumped back into his chair with a breathless whisper. Luke and I watched as he flopped about, heaving sharp gasping breaths into himself and then throwing himself forwards onto his dining table. And there he lay. Of course we both knew that he was experiencing a life changing moment of bliss and serenity, but if anyone walked in in that moment they would shoot us on the spot, no questions asked. It was a nerve wracking ten or so minutes but after he came to he sat back up and took the second serum. Both my brother and I sighed from our boots up when our new patron drank to us at the end of the meal – then we lied about how nervous the presence of such an eminent man made us so as not to raise the Mayor’s suspicions. Needless to say, that night Luke and I slept such a deep sleep that the apocalypse wouldn’t have woken us. When we awoke the next noon we were so rested that the guard banging on the door of our rooms didn’t even startle us. It was a glorious feeling to have returned to a point of such comfort and to have the ear of a man of influence.
To be continued…
© Stephen Fahey