In the Kitchen
For every accident in life, there are many different angles from which to view it. When I look back now at the events of that day in the kitchen, I see it from a wider perspective, with greater joy. But back then…
A dish full of exquisite flavors and texture gurgled in a copper saucepan. While I was enjoying the unfamiliar aroma, a woman of the futuristic, almost geometric shape in a plush hat — Miss Downhill Tasty — took box #9 from the table and threw it into the saucepan without looking at it or opening it. I observed how she roughly chopped the hazelnuts and blackberries, peeled an ostrich-like mosquito (perhaps a genetic manipulation) that could have weighed several kilograms, setting the raw spices aside in separate bowls.
“Are you mad? What have you done? That was the box with bacteriophages…” I sobbed. “You just murdered me, my hopes to meet Sobekneferu, and my future.”
“Mr. Bip SoBeIt loves some soap in his dishes. It cleanses the body, he says. And it gives an extra moisturizer for the brain.” Ms. Downhill Tasty paused. “And the box was empty when I got it.”
The clock struck 4.00 again. It didn’t alert me, although it should have. I was stunned — I stood in the middle of the room and watched the movements of the skeletal hands of the cook with doubt and suspicion.
“Why are you looking at me like that?” Ms. Downhill Tasty asked.
“I’m just thinking, silly girl…”
“That’s not a reason to stare, Mr. Harmless.”
“It’s reason enough for anything!”
I grabbed her from behind, swooped her up in my arms, and carried her to the chair near the window. There I pressed my lips against her neck’s cold, moist skin and shook her like an aspen tree. I began to suspect that my wild actions pleased her as she moaned — somewhat inspiringly, reverently, with a whistle and softness. She didn’t stop, so I swayed her more and more.
“Yes, yes, yeees!” she whispered.
“Shh, I’ll continue if you tell me where you got this box,” I winked. “Tell me, and I’ll rock you as much as you want on my magic wand; it will be like a carousel. I promise.”
“There was nothing inside, only the soap… Mrs. Cactus handed it to me and said I could do whatever I wanted with the box.” Ms. Downhill Tasty replied.
“Aha!” I exclaimed and pushed the cook away with such force that she flew off to the door and crashed into the incoming Martha.
“It is 4 o’clock and 38 seconds,” announced Martha. “Where is box #9?”
“Here. Inside of this soup, my dear Martha Antoinette Louise Diamantis SoBeIt!” I bowed gallantly, pointing at the boiling saucepan with protruding wings and huge claws.
Martha groaned and ran around the stove. She tried to cool down the contents of the soup and take out box #9. I grabbed the dumbfounded cook, pressed her closer, and whispered: “One more question. Where can I find Mrs. Cactus?”
“I won’t tell. You promised a carousel and a magic wand, and what have I got? Only bruises…” Ms. Downhill Tasty whispered back.
“I am a dead man! Do you want to use a dead man’s wand and ride a broken carousel?” I hissed.
The cook pouted her lips and turned her face to the wall. I decided to drop my pants to free my angry animal. The air around me thickened, and the whole room disappeared — the pans and stove were no more than dim and dirty halos. Ms. Downhill Tasty shut her eyes and braced her tiny being against me. She gasped and uttered a long, guttural roar, trashing the air in my mouth with her forked tongue. Of course, I accepted her non-verbal request — I knew she was ready to welcome my demonic swing.
During our inspiring and heated conversation, I learned about the secret passage behind the curtains in the bedroom of the now-deceased Alphonso Beard. It turned out the tunnel led straight to the bedroom of Mrs. Cactus, and she did not hesitate to use it each time she wanted to visit the previous king.
“Of course! How could I forget?!” I hit myself on the forehead and ran out of the kitchen without pulling up my pants, which greatly frightened Mr. SoBeIt, who, with sleepy eyes, went out to the hall to see what had caused such a horrible noise.
I ran past him into the bedroom, behind the curtain, rolled down the steps, and dropped at a luxurious sofa upholstered in yellow silk. A pure goddess was lying on it. The time struck 4.01.
“Sobek…ne-fe-rruu?” I stuttered.
“Hello, Mr. Harmless! You can call me whatever you want, but just a day ago, I was Mrs. Cactus.”
“It’s i-m-pos-si-ble!” I choked with delight.
“Everything is possible in the Rejuvenate Center of the West Palace. They do wonders with tired people like me,” she glowed and glanced at my bruised legs. “What do you want? Why the rush? I’m in the middle of a painting session. I hired famous painters from different parts of the world to create a new, fresh portrait of me.”
After her comment, I noticed twelve pairs of surprised eyes staring up at us with brushes in their hands.
“I need to know where the bacteriophages are from box #9,” I said.
“Where? You’re looking at them, Bullet! How do you think I made this perfect new body and face? I sold them to Beluga Clan…” The woman laughed.
The clock struck 4.02. I realized that this was the end — I was two minutes late, and the bacteriophages were gone forever. But as T.S. Elliot once said, “the end is where we start from.”