The room was, for as high-class a country club as Northton’s was, more than a little run-down. It smelled of old poultry, fish, and other bits of decaying food. The walls transitioned violently from the original pale yellow to a reddish brown which was the result of years of the combination of vigorous work on the part of the many people that had worked there over the years, and a complete lack of general maintenance on the kitchen. It was in this kitchen that the now 84 year old Head Chef Martin Almorazzo had painstakingly forged his reputation of cruelty in dealing with his food before it was food. You see, Chef Almorazzo never, ever settled for already slaughtered meat. When he wanted turkey, he took a trip to a turkey farm, picked out the one that he wanted, brought it back to the kitchen, and proceeded to take his joy in turning the bird into a cooking material. This is how he treated every animal he dealt with. His daughter (Who, because of this incident, would hold a grudge against her father until the day she died of food poisoning shortly after her senior prom.) once brought home a stray dog to keep as a pet, but the Chef instead took the animal and made it into a dish that would have fulfilled stereotypes at a Chinese or Korean restaurant. Basically, the man loathed animals with every fiber of his being without reason or reserve.
This morning was much like other mornings. After Chef Martin got situated in his kitchen, his domain, he proceeded to retrieve the animal he picked out the afternoon before from its cage in the next room (Which functioned as both a kennel and a slaughterhouse). This time the animal was rooster, an especially large rooster with strange coloration. Its crest and wattle were a purplish color, while its feathers faded from a metallic forest green to an equally metallic grey. The discolored fowl was taken from his cage by Martin in a rather rough manner, and carried over to a table that looked like nothing more than several planks of wood crudely nailed to two homemade sawhorses, one at each end. Martin set the rooster on the planks without fear of his prey making an escape because of his bound wings and feet. Once the bird was in place, Martin turned to the tool box he kept near the makeshift operation table to pick out the instrument he wanted to begin with (There was no procedure, he simply picked whichever implement struck his fancy at the moment when he was choosing.) After a good while of debate, the Chef picked out an elongated scalpel as his tool of choice. Usually, his first target for a bird was its beak, and this morning was no different.
He chuckled to himself as he turned around to the sight of such an odd looking rooster flailing around on his table like a fish out of water, and proceeded toward the beak. At this point it would be pertinent to tell the reader that our friend, Chef Martin Almorazzo was a raging alcoholic, and as a result had anything but steady hands. It was a combination of Mr. Almorazzo’s shaking hands, and the rooster’s flailing that our story takes an especially odd turn of events all of the sudden.
You see, as Chef Martin was going to dispose of the bird’s beak, it swung its head in the direction of the scalpel, and startled the would-be surgeon, causing him tojerk his hand in a manner so that the binding on the rooster’s beak was cut, and the beak was only very mildly scratched. Having never had this happen with any animal before, Martin paused for second, and as it happened, a second was all that was needed for a quite uncommon thing to happen; the rooster proceeded to scold Martin for trying to mutilate him.
“Just what in the bloody hell are you doing with that scalpel!?” chided the rooster in a fairly cultured English accent. Martin, being too shocked to reply, could only stand above the rooster looking quite dense. Before the Chef was able to compose himself, the rooster continued his verbal assault with a series of sentences and fragments that were pieces of a single, shattered thought that had yet to be put back together. However, when pieced together they became a rant on the lunacy of a man of Martin’s stature, a lowly chef, binding and attempting to dismember a rooster of the ranter’s own stature.
The Rooster’s very irritated utterance of the words “Undo these ties” was followed by an especially indignant pause “Now.”To which Martin, still seemingly in a state of shock, replied with an untying of those very bindings.
Once the bindings were off, they both sat, staring at each other for some time; the Rooster, having vented its anger (Although, that isn’t to say he was pleased, or even in a more or less content mood; he was still quite irritated.) and the Chef processing what he had been seeing and hearing. This went on for a good half hour, and roughly the time the sun first started shining through one of the kitchen windows, the Rooster asked, with its head cocked slightly to the left, “Why were you going use that scalpel on me? Was there some sort of purpose, or are you simply a sick individual?”
Having finally come to grips with his present situation, Martin replied “Well, I’m a chef, and I prefer to slaughter my meat myself. Although I’m glad I didn’t now. ”
“You were planning on serving me? While I am flattered that you would think I’m tasty, I can’t say I approve of being taken apart while alive.”
“I really do apologize, but I had no idea about the circumstances!”
“Oh, but you would’ve killed me had I not been a talking rooster?”
“Well, yes. You would’ve probably been long dead by now, you should consider yourself lucky.”
“You should consider yourself lucky I don’t come at you now, you fucking loon!”
“Okay, okay, I’m really very sorry. I’ve already apologized.”
“And you want me to forgive you for that!? You were going to cut me apart, gleefully I might add! And feed me to your guests!” raved the rooster, now just as mad as he’d ever been.
“Well, you much understand how things go in my line of work.”
“Oh? How is murder?”
“Well, don’t you think that’s a bit of an exaggeration? Really? Murder? That’s kind of harsh.”
“Ah, yes, my mistake; since when has dismemberment been considered murder? So silly of me, I apologize…. You putz, how is murder an exaggeration if it’s the exact definition of the word in question?”
“That’s right; you just stand there looking shameful for what you were going to do. How could you be so barbaric? It’s disgusting to even think about!”
“I realize that now, and I’ll change. Really, I vow only to cook vegetarian meals from now on.”
“Thank you. I appreciate it greatly.”
“I’m glad we could come to this agreement, but now I’m afraid I still have a meal to prepare; so if you’ll please excuse me.”
And with that, Head Chef Martin Almorazzo cracked the Rooster over the head with mallet left on the table from a previous meal, and preceded where he’d left off, muttering to himself “Fucking talking animals, always think they’re the only ones.”
© Copyright 2016 Jack Flagberry. All rights reserved.
Short Story / Literary Fiction
Short Story / Humor
Short Story / Literary Fiction
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