That night, a Count and a businessman and their wives joined the Madam, with Peters stood by the door, sullen as always. I served the lemon water and gave my speech without err. The Count and his wife were blasé, but the other couple followed my every word with intent. Madam Sabine’s guests listened as I instructed them in the ritual of my feast and then I left them to ponder as I loaded the dinner tray with their opening course. Exotic fruits were presented in a long bowl to each of the guests, pear, physalis, bumpy banana, coconut and papaya. Of course, the table conversation ceased the moment that the first morsels were ingested. These important people had all crumbled into drooling messes of flesh, each enraptured in the experience of what had seemed mundane.
I chuckled to myself as they curdled in their expensive clothes, awash with impassioned confusion. These learned and cultured folk sat in silence surprise as I brought dish after dish to them. Each course was, as I mentioned, woeful in quality, but they slathered as they gorged themselves. That night I ended the feast with a sweetbread then a glass of schnapps laced with the second serum. Then, before the guests retired to the lounge, they lauded my skills. They pressed me for secrets which I did not reveal. They offered me handsome sums of money to come and work for them. They applauded me and Madam Sabine, and then begged her to invite them again soon. Dazed by the weight of their experience, the four ecstatic souls floated from the dining room and out of sight, garbling massive compliments over one another as they went.
Peters rolled his eyes as they passed him at the door, then looked at me and shook his head in what appeared to be both disgust and jealousy. He never let his veneer crack, but it was clear that he didn’t enjoy the company. I wondered then if he enjoyed anyone’s company. He didn’t seem to.
To be continued…
© Stephen Fahey