500 words based on sentence selected by Dive. Click here for more info.
This week's sentence is from E.M. Forster's A Room With A View: It tasted partly of the paper in which it was wrapped, partly of hair oil, partly of the great unknown.
The stench smacked Lulu in the face before she stepped fully into the apartment. Her roommate sat at the dining table in the alcove off the living room holding a spatula in one hand, hair disheveled, makeup smeared, a plateful of something that looked like crumpled up paper in front of her.
“What’s that smell?” Lulu asked, clamping a hand over her nose and mouth.
Benni waved the spatula towards the kitchen. “I cooked,” she said.
“My parents are coming for brunch this Sunday,” said Benni, “and they’ve been raving about this English pub that opened in their neighborhood, so I thought I’d make fish and chips. I’m practicing.”
Benni’s kitchen disasters were legendary. Lulu’s work friends loved to hear Benni stories. There was the grease fire from reheating fried chicken in the oven on a piece of tin foil without turning up an edge. Benni tried to extinguish the flames with a glass of water and was lucky to escape with eyebrows and bangs intact. There was the Thanksgiving green bean casserole extravaganza, when she spent an hour individually hand washing and drying five pounds of beans for a side dish to serve eight people.
And now there was this, whatever this was. It reeked of more than fried fish. It was more like putrid scorched flowers with onions, grease and god-knows-what.
“What recipe were you using?” Lulu asked, almost afraid to hear the answer.
“I just winged it. Fish and potatoes, right? The bodega on the corner didn’t have any fish but they had fish sticks and they’re practically the same thing,” said Benni. “And my feet hurt from my new shoes and standing on the bus all the way home and I couldn’t walk to the fruit and veggie guy so I picked up some tater tots, but they only had the onion flavor, but I thought that’s more interesting than plain French fries.
“When I got home we were out of canola oil, but I found this old bottle of oil from my grandpa’s apartment. It’s imported I think. Macassar oil. It smelled like it had exotic spices in it. But I’m not good at frying and the first batch just kind of sizzled and never got crispy, so I turned up the heat and the next batch spattered and burned. And we didn’t have any newspaper to wrap it in like they do and I wanted it to be authentic so I ripped some pages out of Cosmo, but I think maybe they were too close to the perfume samples, and some of the ink ran but maybe it’s ok.
“Anyway since you cook all the time, can you taste it and tell me what you think?” Benni pushed the plate toward Lulu.
Lulu knew it tasted partly of the paper in which it was wrapped, partly of hair oil, partly of the great unknown. No way was she going anywhere near this mess. Her office pals were gonna love this story tomorrow.
copyright (c) 2010 Lulubelle B