“Nahhh Chef, k’I borrow you f’minute?”
Brenda laughed coquettishly, which was grotesque for a woman of her age and size.
Jake dragged himself towards the tubby waitress, making a thin effort to mask his revulsion and contempt. He struck a theatrical figure towering above his gurning prey.
“Nahhh Chef, there’s a gentleman in the restaurant who didn’t tell us it’s his birthday, so can you put a candle in a piece of brownie so we can take it to him? Don’t look so upset! Wasn’t s’bad was it?”
“That’s fine, give me a minute.”, replied Jake, hoping Brenda would literally grant him sixty seconds of clemency, in which he could find a candle, probably old and used, with which he would decorate an offcut of chocolate brownie. Is this a task for a giant? For a wit? For an academic? For a seducer of women? His mind wandered as the brownie that he was warming in the microwave exploded, showering the walls of the machine with saccharine debris.
“Hahaha! I’m sorry Chef!”
Jake was silent, he felt Brenda watching him and made a conscious effort to slow his movements, gathering the hot crumbs deliberately, laboriously.
“You don’t mind doing that for me, do you?”
Indignation turned in Jake’s stomach, silence.
“You don’t mind do you Chef?”
Jake clamped his jaw shut and his head jerked slightly to the left, he spun around and presented his second effort to Brenda. There it sat, a lump of flaky chocolate pudding, the shape of an irregular triangle, in the middle of an oversized plate, with a second hand candle mounted on its uneven surface. The candle sat two thirds it’s original height, and bore the tracts of the wax from its first use, hung against its shaft, trapped in time.
“Of course I don’t mind”, the Chef dead panned.
“This reminds me of a night I spent at university with a dear friend.”
Brenda’s eyes glistened with warmth, as the usually reticent pastry chef offered himself to her, at last. Her ruddy expression noticeable sagged, and softened under his cordial demeanour.
“We were both very drunk and perhaps stoned when we passed a dog turd on the steps of a grand old admin building. Now, this turd was memorable, as it was flat and straight in the middle, but tapered and curved upward at each end!” He paused, his eyes violent with laughter.
“You see Brenda, this dog shit strongly resembled a sailing vessel, a man o’ war, no less! Well…after some deliberation, my friend and I, hurried off to the common room to fashion a little makeshift sail out of a bottle cap and tooth pick. We returned and carefully placed our sail at the bow of the little turd-ship, and there it sat, bobbing majestically on the waves of those stone steps for several days!”
Brenda’s eyes were dull and filmy, Jake wondered vaguely whether she had stopped listening. He spun suddenly away from her and then back again to watch her waddling away. Jake smiled and called after her, “Set the main sail, and steer the course!”