Chef Tom Shares Three of his Very Short Stories and One Very Tasty Soup

If you would be so kind as to indulge me, the next few submissions will include (very) short stories I’ve written as part of a program called Round Robin. For eight weeks we had to write something every day based on short “prompts” from the instructor. We had to set the timer for 12 minutes. No longer. Hence their brevity. Had to squeeze as much into a few paragraphs as I could. Some stories, as you will see, even have multiple chapters. – Chef Tom

Alarm goes off…stop writing.

WARNING: These stories are for entertainment only. If you’re not up to escaping for a couple of minutes and allowing each short story to unfold on its own without much in the “deeper meaning” department, please do not read.

This Might Hurt

Canal

Is that what I think it is?

Yeh, I think it is.

How the hell did it get that far up his anal canal? It had to have been shoved up in there. I don’t know if he could have done that himself. Maybe. We need to get it out, and quickly. That could be a very serious problem.

It’s funny though.

No, it’s not.

It is.

(pause)

You’re right, it is.  Ok, so this stays between us, right? We don’t want the Secret Service up our ass, so to speak. They’re already swarming the entire hospital. POTUS called in too and wants to know the status. The Senate is up for the big vote in three days, so we need to get him back to the White House asap.

Can we keep a copy of the film? I bet we could get a couple million for it from about a hundred different people. What’s the statute of limitations on something like that? We could both retire if we found the right buyer.

You know they’re listening right?

No, they’re not.

I wouldn’t be so sure.

He said he was going to do whatever it took to find the whistleblower. I don’t think this was what he had in mind. Here’s your whistle, Senator, right up your ass! Oh my god. Wait until I tell Marjorie this. She’s gonna spit her Chardonnay all over our new carpet.

Please don’t. I know you will, but please don’t. We’ll tell the press it was an inflamed polyp, that it was benign and that we removed it successfully with no sign of infection. He should be right as rain for Friday’s vote.

(pause)

Pretty funny.

Shut it.

******

My Little Friend

Only Seconds Behind

“Leave three,” whispered Old Bill, to Rosalinda, his angel disguised as a nurse. He was a little bit in love with her, and she with him.

“I’m only allowed to leave one. You know that,” she said.

“I know. Leave three. Please.”

The dog-weary look in his eyes told her that he was ready. They both knew the time was getting close, and here it was.

She smiled a little as her eyes filled and her heart broke off a piece, patted his cheek, and said, “Ok, Bill, ok.” Leaning over him she smelled his old man smell. She kissed him lightly on his forehead and he gave her hand a squeeze.

Closing the door to his room, she ruffled Blue on the head as he passed, wagging his tail and taking his place at Bill’s side. Bill reached down and patted his old pal, scratching him by his ear, which he loved. “Hi, Blue. Good boy.”

Old Bill emptied the last of the three vials, set the empty next to the others by his pipe on the nightstand, and laid back in his bed, his home for these last eight months. The cancer had taken up residence throughout his entire body and had already made itself t’home. Wasn’t goin’ nowhere.

He mused, “I really wanted t’get to a hunnert, but the cancer made it pretty damn clear a long time ago that it didn’t give a rat’s ass what I want.” He took a hard breath and once more felt the knives lacerate his insides.

“Fuck you, cancer!” he said aloud to the room. Remembering Al Pacino’s famous line, Bill let out a rasp, “Say hello to my little friend.”

It only took a few minutes for the extra morphine to hit his system. The cutting knives and broken glass faded slowly away, like fog melting in the sun, filling him with a lightness, a release, an ease that was even hopeful, causing his lips to curl up in a smile, something he hadn’t done in a very long time.

“Seconds behind, old pal, only seconds behind,” he said, patting Blue on his head one last time.

******

Hidden Secret

Blackbird

Walking through the winding streets of old Chinatown, we crossed over to Grant Street and began looking for a store front with a lot of red Chinese lanterns hanging from the awning.

I think I see them, there, Julie said, pointing up across the street on the left.

Yeah, that looks like it.

We enter the shop and walk past shelves crammed with touristy tchotchkes all the way to the far back corner. By the rear wall is an old-fashioned phone booth, the kind with a door you push in, a long black phone, and silver slots for coins.

I need a dime.

Fishing in pockets. Jimmy says Here and hands me a dime. I pick up the receiver, drop the dime into its slot, and dial the number I was given by my roommate’s boyfriend. Christmas day makes it easy to remember. I dial 1225.

Ring.      Ring.      Ring.      Click.

Crackly voice: Password, please.

Blackbird.

Crackly voice: Push open the wall on the right of the phone booth. You’ll see where.

Hanging up the phone, I make my way though the small cluster of friends and over to the wall. I notice a slightly darker patch in the paint next to the phone booth and place my hand on it. Giving it a shove, the wall clicks open. I push the hidden panel in further and we see a dimly lit hallway.

Oh, cool, says Julie. That is so cool.

We can hear music. Big smiles from everyone. We enter single file through the secret passage down a long narrow hall, turn left, and there is an elegant young woman standing next to an open door framed in glossy black intricate scrollwork. The doorway is draped in a thick curtain of shiny red beads. She’s wearing a beautiful, form-fitting teal silk dress embroidered in pink chrysanthemums; her hair tightly pulled back. Two long, red hat pins with tiny gold lanterns on the end are stuck into the tight bun at the back of her head.

Good evening. Welcome to Fat Wong.

Ignoring our stifled chuckles, she motions for us to enter.

Please.

She pulls open the beaded curtain to reveal a crowded nightclub full of Millennials drinking cocktails and laughing. There are couples dancing.

I hear Roxie Music’s Love Is The Drug.

******

Tuscan White Bean Soup

Tuscan White Bean Soup

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

3 large garlic cloves, minced

4 cups chicken bone broth

1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary

2 cans no-salt-added Great Northern beans (15-ounce) rinsed and drained (or Cannellini)

2 fresh thyme sprigs

1piece Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese rind (1 1/2-ounce)

1 large head chopped escarole (about 4 pounds)

1 cup chopped carrot

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 teaspoon white wine vinegar

1/2 cup shaved fresh Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Heat a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat.

Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion, and sauté for 4 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add garlic, and sauté for 30 seconds.

Add bone broth and the next 5 ingredients (through cheese rind); bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes.

Stir in escarole and carrot; cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until carrot is tender.

Stir in red pepper, salt, black pepper, and vinegar. Remove and discard rind; sprinkle soup with shaved cheese.

=CTH=

Chef Tom is currently transitioning from Personal Chef to Private Chef. He also teaches cooking classes, caters small parties and leads overseas culinary tours. His specialty for the last twelve years has been cooking for people with food allergies and sensitivities. His motto is “Food should give you pleasure, not pressure.”

Check him out at www.hippkitchen.com

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