Jay Lake (jaylake) wrote,
Jay Lake
jaylake

[wip] From further in the current, untitled story

This day the cook brings me a stir fry of bok choi and those strange, slimy mushrooms for lunch. He is as secretive as one of those Japanese soldiers who spent decades defending a lava tube on some Pacific island. There is tea, of course, which I ignore. We could play that ritual with an empty pot just as easily, but the cook executes his culinary warfare properly.

The vegetables are oddly ragged for having recently spent time in a searing hot wok. They are adorned with a pungent tan sauce the likes of which I had never tasted before entering this place. The whole mess sits atop a wad of sticky rice straight from the little mauve Panasonic cooker in the kitchen.

Food is the barometer of this house. When the cook is happy, I eat like a potentate on a diplomatic mission. When the cook is vexed by life or miffed by some slight on my part, I eat wretchedly.

I wonder what I have done this day to anger him. Our morning ritual was nothing more than ritual.

When I meet his eyes, I see something else there. A new distress lurks in the lines drawn tight across his forehead. I know what I gave up when I came here. It was no more than what I'd given up long ago, really, when the fates of people and planets were playing out somewhere in the Deep Dark and I went chasing the fortune of a dozen lifetimes. Still, I am not prepared for this tension on the part of my daily adversary.
Tags: stories, wip, writing
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