Flash Friday 29/11/2012: Cooking Up Trouble
Godfrey was a strange wizard. The symptoms started when he expressed erratic behaviours from an early age, whose overly-charismatic and friendly nature ended up making him less friends than more. He never let the buzz die, however, and it came back in full force when he began experimenting using magic within his cooking. A gourmet at heart, a ‘small sprinkle’ of magic became a staple part of his diet, moving on to more and more fantastical and summoned ingredients as his obsession overtook him. As his kitchen grew bigger and his tastes more refined, his life began to wholly rotate around the art of cooking, with books upon books of spells that aided cooking nestling beside recipes and cookbooks in his grand kitchen. In fact, even before he converted the front of his house to an entire take-away front, he was known as the first ever chef mage to walk the earth. Given his unrivalled intensity and passion for the edible, people feared he’d also be the last.
His take-out bar was by no means conventional. Godfrey stood in a square of counters, the front one being the counter which people placed their order at. The other three were entirely dominated by pans of every kind, stoves of every make, and enough cutting boards to make an executioner turn green under his mask. Absolutely no cutting instruments or other utensils would be found on these counters, as they all made residence floating around Godfrey, their sentient enchantments waiting for something fun to happen.
The door bell tinkled with joy. Godfrey turned around from admiring his pans to clap his hands together and smile. “Good eve, my sire,” he said, his long black moustache wiggling. “Are you here to partake in an adventure in the culinary arts?”
A big, muscly man plodded his way towards the counter. “Yeh,” he said, putting a hand on the counter.
“…very good,” Godfrey nodded, the man’s answer far shorter than he expected. “I take it that you’re merely stunned by my array of cooking utensils. Fear not, however, for these very utensils will be your gatekeepers — nay, your guide — in your quest to find a good dish. So, what would you ask of me to do? Would you have me summon a boar, fat and plump on the sweet honeys of the elven honey fields? Would you rather I take a fresh venison, smother it in the sauces that only the dwarven kings think they’re exclusive to,” Godfrey said, winking, “and serve it to you for a price far lower than should be deserved?”
“Fish and chips please,” the man said.
Godfrey faltered. The floating utensils all dipped and regained their posture. “I see,” he said. “I take it you wish to dine on the rare fishes from the Frozen Plains, one of which is caught every year by the Inuits, who—”
Godfrey bit his bottom lip, containing the sigh. “I see. Well, what would you have me do to the cod? What special service do you like done to your fine fish on this equally fine night?”
“Battered, please,” the main said with a point. “And with chips.”
Godfrey ended up sighing. Casting his summoning magic with the enthusiasm of a cat in water, he produced a fresh cod in the air. He placed it on a cutting board. Usually at this point, there’d be a fluster of activity as all the pans and utensils sprang to life, preparing the audacious order of the customer and putting Godfrey in a jolly mood. Instead, a lone knife skinned and prepared the fish, the other utensils hovering around Godfrey and watching in jealousy. When the fish was prepared, Godfrey gestured to it.
“Yeh, that’s great,” the man said. “Just a spot of batter is all. And the chips.”
“Not even an experimentation with one of my finest arts?” Godfrey, maintain eye contact, pointed to the menu. It was a special menu, given that it took the entirety of the back wall to display in its entirety, and even then it threatened to creep to the other wall if Godfrey kept buying recipe books.
“Uuuuhh…oh!” The man blinked. “Yeah, I’ll take something from the menu, then.”
“Excellent! What’ll it be?”
“The fish and chips with ketchup, please.”
Godfrey’s smile dropped like a lead weight, the notion of erasing that particular meal off the menu coming to mind as he placed the now-battered fish on a plate. The knife, still buzzing from the spotlight on him from cutting the fish, was now getting to work on the chips. A few quick slices into several potatoes and the cutting board was ready to float over to the fryer, where it tipped (with utmost elegance) the pieces in. Godfrey’s high-quality fryers meant that food was prepared quick and easy, which meant fast serving of a large load of customers as well as one customer who was borderline taking the piss.
“Here you go, sir,” he said, bringing the fish and chips over in a container.
“You forgot the ketchup,” the man pointed out.
“Oh, yes,” Godfrey said, gritting his teeth. He placed the container on the counter, took hold of a bottle of ketchup, and imagined it was the man’s head as he squeezed it until his knuckles went red, all while glaring at the man with the heat of a thousand suns. “I apologise. My bad. Your dinner is served.”
“Great, looks smashing.” The man slammed exact change on the counter and grabbed his meal. “Cor, smells a treat. Thanks mate, I’ll be sure to tell all the lads about you.”
“Thank you,” Godfrey said, his fists balled as he watched the back of the man’s head leave the take-away bar. “Don’t worry too much about it, though.”