Dinner à la Storm-tossed

Submitted into Contest #31 in response to: Write a short story about someone cooking dinner.... view prompt


Funny Happy Fiction

I had been told to stand down, so I picked up the newspaper and retired to the dining table with a cup of steaming tea.

“Would you look at that, today’s weather was predicted to be stormy,” I called out, not bothering to raise my voice above the din emanating from the kitchen. I had been banished from that room by the Chef for the Day.

I did not understand for what reason he wished to cook all of a sudden. But with the way he was cooking, I was pretty sure the storm predicted was currently brewing inside that very room.

 “Deaths, deaths, accidents, whoa! Is there anything else at all happening in the world?” I shook my head and leafed through the pages to the Sports section – only to learn about injuries acquired during practice and while playing.

“Never mind,” I mumbled, sipping my tea.

As far as I knew, it was not my birthday today. I checked the date at the top margin of the paper, just to be sure. Nope, not the day I was born on. It made the dramatics unfolding in the kitchen all the more confusing.

I sipped more of the warm goodness as I turned to the comics section, smirked here and there at the purported humour and retraced my step through the pages to the Op Ed, where the heavy dose of sarcasm increased the aftertaste of bitterness on my tongue.

“I need sugar in my tea to read you.” I rolled my eyes, closed the paper and set it aside.

His incessant cursing at the vegetables that apparently flew away from under the knife (his colourful narration painted a vivid word picture) seeped into my conscious mind then, though the choice words seemed to be muted out by either the whistle of the pressure cooker or the sizzle of the oil in the wok.

I wondered for the first time since he took over the kitchen, what kind of menu he had in mind. Should I have asked about it? Or was the surprise ending at the end of a horror movie worth the wait?

“Don’t be a hero.” I raised my voice sufficiently this time. “Read and follow the recipes of whatever you’re concocting!”

“Yeah, but all they mention is cutting this, cutting that. They. Don’t. Mention. How.” It was hard to miss the clenched teeth grunts of impatience that erupted with each word.

“What age are you living in?” I yelled back. “They have cooking videos now!”

“Who has the patience to watch those?”

“Quit complaining then, get out and let me take over!”

He was at the arch entryway to the dining room in a flash, flushed from anger or the heat of the cook top, I could not tell. He had a spatula in one hand, dripping out a liquid and-or sauce of a colour not yet discovered by humans. His brows had sprung together to create creases in the forehead, which was lined with dribbling beads of sweat as it was.

Oh, it was excruciating to not laugh at this picture of him in an apron looking this harangued!

“You... need to stop pestering me!” he managed between huffs of breath. “I am close to finishing the dish!”

“Is it...?”

He threw a glare at me and I shut up. He knew what the next word was. I swallowed ‘eatable’ back into my gut and was looking around in the pockets of my mind for something encouraging to spout, when his nose crinkled and he began to sniff the air.

The moment his eyes grew large, I could sense the burnt odour in the air too. He turned and ran for the life of the food he was preparing, while I granted my laughter the freedom it craved so badly and deserved too.

I should have guessed something odd was cooking in his mind when he called in the evening and was far too delighted when I said I would be late coming home. I thought he had a date. Apparently not. His idea was to serve his dear brother a platter of food poisoning.

Done with the tea, I pushed the cup and saucer aside and stretched out my arm on the table, over the newspaper. It did not look like the dinner would be ready anytime soon. Might as well catch a few winks while I waited. The cling clang ssskkk boom of the kitchen served as an effective, if a little strange, lullaby.

Did... I ... just hear “boom”...? Never – never mind. Too sleep...y to deal with it...


“Who’s ready for a midnight feast!”

“A... wha?” I mumbled out, my eyelids refusing to unglue. I yawned and straightened the muscles in my arm until my fingers brushed against something hot. “Yikers!” That woke me up well.

It took a moment for me to focus and when I did, I pinched my brother’s arm. He shrieked and hissed. Not a dream after all.

There really was a feast in front of me!

My stomach growled and I pounced without a second thought on the fried delicacies. The rice and the healthier lot could wait for me to reach a more civilized level of hunger. There would be no spoon or fork between these fingers while I was this famished. They would only slow me down.

Ten minutes later, I let out a satisfied purr and accepted the empty plate my amused brother handed out. There was no dialogue exchanged until after another layer of food had found its home through my gullet, and the first layer done for him.

“Four hours. What did you even do?”

“What do you mean?” he asked innocently.

“Obviously, you didn’t cook. You ordered all this in!” I pointed at the vast spread around the table. “So, what happened?”

He pressed at the corners of his lips with his fingers but they kept extending to reveal the underlying mirth. “Funny, uh, funny story there.”

“Really? Enlighten me.”

“You should have told me the pipe under the kitchen sink was leaking! I would have fixed it long back!”

“But it had not been leaking before.”

“Oh right. It started to today. After, uh, after I, well, sort of choked it with burnt food – I burnt everything, by the way. But! The good news is that I fixed it to perfection! You’re welcome!”

“So... let me get this straight. You broke something and then you fixed it, so I should be grateful to you for it?”

“Not if you phrase it like that! The fixing was not easy, okay? Four hours that took!”

I gave a hollow laugh and shook my head. “Why go to such lengths anyway? What on earth was the occasion even?”

“Occasion?” he repeated, confused. “There’s no occasion. I just wanted to give you a day of rest.”

“That’s strangely sweet,” I replied, still feeling wary. I would have continued to pick his brain about it had I not remembered something else instead. “What was the ‘boom’ that I heard?”

“What? Oh! That was nothing! The lid of the pressure cooker would not come off so I tapped it slightly on the counter to open it –”

“Slightly? Really?”

“But, you know,” he hurried to add, guiding my hand towards the plate in front of me, “don’t – don’t go into the kitchen. Trust your brother. You... you should just pretend there is no room in this house called the ‘kitchen’, okay? Honestly, just trust me. If you, uh, need anything at all from there, tell me! I’d weather whatever... whatever’s in there for my awesome brother!”

What did I tell you? The storm did land in the kitchen.

March 06, 2020 20:31

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