Strap, Navy, Onion

A short piece incorporating three random words, written in 20 minutes.

by Marcus Jonathan Chapman

Wiping away the tears under an orange sky. A peach-orange hue mixed with fog, chemicals and city lights. The knife pushed into the onions sending up its own natural recipe of tear gas. One wrinkled hand picked up the cutting board and another used the knife to slide the chopped pieces into a pot.

Sizzling and hissing, the onions surrendered with a delicious smell.

BOOM. BOOM. BOOM. The hands dropped the knife. The ships guns were starting their one-way messages. Boom. Boom. Boom. This time more distant, another ship in the fleet reiterating the firsts statement.

Picking up a potato, the hands deftly maneuvered the root vegetable into little starch squares. After each one, the hands picked up the cutting board and slid the pieces into the pot, adding to the onions smell.

After the potatoes came the carrots. The hands cut little circles, roughly the size of the squares and dropped them into the pot. Halfway through, a message from the enemy came through and rocked the ship back and forth. The hands dropped everything and grabbed a leather strap fastened to a steal handle on the kitchen wall.

The hands and strap swayed with the movement of the ship, both attempting to stay upright. It was only water that had been disturbed but the waves let the ship know it wasn’t pleased. The hands grabbed at the knife and carrot, now working slower, a little shakier.

A bead of sweat dropped onto the cutting board, a reminder. The hands grabbed a shaker of salt and sprinkled it into the pot.

Another message was sent from the enemy on shore, this time a BOOM. The ship’s lights turned red and the hands, fumbling for the strap, found themselves grasping for something as they slid on the floor, back and forth. Steadier, the hands pushed of the ground and shaking, attempted to pick up the knife. Realization. The knife set down, the hands grabbed the salt and a wooden spoon, stirring in salt with the other vegetables.

One hand fumbled for something inside a shirt. A necklace made of wooden beads all cascading down on a fishing line that ended in a lower case “t”. The other hand wiped sweat from a brow and scratched a temple.

“Who had cooked the last supper? Were they aware of the impending doom forecasted for later that evening? Were their signs?”

The pot steamed and the hands relaxed, back to their work.

The Chef, Braveheart, Nacho Libre

3 things to inspire 1 story written in 20 minutes. #story320
These three movie titles provided by @refinedcravings

“You may take our lives but you will never take our freedom!” He said, staring at me, breathing hard through his teeth. Saliva was being pushed through his teeth with the ebb and flow of his breath. A snot bubble was beginning to form. He wiped his nose with a hand and wiped his hand on his apron. His other hand rested on a cutting board next to a large knife and some minced garlic.

I chose my words carefully.

“Listen, all I’m saying is that if you use that cutting board for garlic, then you can’t also use it to make the pastries. They’ll all taste like garlic.”

He nodded but the saliva-breath-snot show went on.

“Also,” I continued, “did you watch anything last night? Any movies?”

“Yes.” He seethed.

“Was it a film based in Scotland, by any chance?”

“Yes, why?”

“No reason. Look, why don’t you take the rest of the night off, I’ll cover your shift. Go home, rest, watch something funny.”

“Yes chef!” He grabbed the knife and stabbed it into the cutting board. I flinched and peed a little but nobody noticed. He pushed through the double doors and was gone.

The rest of the kitchen staff came back to life and the hum of the kitchen resumed.

Every chef from line cook to sous chef wants to be set apart, nobody likes their creativity stifled but when you work for a restaurant, you work for the head chef.

He’ll just need to learn to control his nerves and work as a team member.

The next day he walked in calm and collected, but still a little cocky.

The dinner service began and we all worked like a machine; orders were brought in and called out, cooking times were shouted, and the kitchen was a choreographed ballet of fire, food and moving feet.

Then someone ordered dessert. I glanced over at Chef “William Wallace” and saw him shyly peeling garlic. I walked over and he began chopping quickly, too quickly.

“What the hell are you doing, chef? Do you think garlic belongs in every dessert?”

He chopped his pinky tip and it rolled next to the other pieces of garlic.

With a snarl he said, “I am the gatekeeper of my own destiny and I will have my glory day in the hot sun.”