Prologue: Maid for Hire
“Oh shit!” I screeched.
My hand clasped the spatula tightly to my cheek. I was prepared, ready; I would defend myself at all costs. That wiggly slimy nuisance was going to die. It had too, or else I was going to. It’s floppy tail and gasping lips were relentless. I reeled my arm back then struck the creature with my weapon again. Its wide dilated eyes stared back. I sucked in rapid mouthfuls of air. The adrenaline inside of me pulsed through those tiny veins as I loomed over the body.
Its scaly muscles fidgeted.
The hideous thing twitched across the burnished tile. My heart about froze when it launched itself onto my ankle. I barely managed to dodge the ferocious pointed teeth, but I still mustered a scream. The unearthly creature flared its evil body aggressively around. The slight sliver in its neck did little to control the situation. Had I just hacked harder, the damn thing might have died. Now a bloody mess was added to the problem. Guess whose in charge of clean up?
My Converse treads were soon slipping around the red puddle as I tried to avoid its boney flesh from touching me. I practically danced on my toes. Regardless of the multiple cracks over its head it’s movements still advanced upon me. The vile creature continued to twist over the smooth floor. Suddenly, it’s flimsy spine and puckered lips came snarling. I felt a gooey-stocky-lick down my skin.
My nerves shot through me like cannon fire.
“It’s possessed, it’s possessed!” I hollered in fright as I climbed the wide set counter top. My knees and palms crashed into every kitchen utensil that lined the area. Knifes, mixing spoons, ladles, and pots of all sizes crashed to the floor. Their metals soon were coated in the red stain. The monster bounced around the cooking tools like it was a game of hopscotch. Currently, the bastard was winning.
* * *
It always baffles me when others complain about their jobs. Honestly, I would give a left kidney to wind the clock back a few months, possibly even push it to several years, in order to spare myself this headache. I look at other students from my generation who are leisurely stocking selves at a department store, delivering, or just flipping burgers behind the fast food counters. And all I can think is be thankful that is all your cooking.
As for myself, I am in fact employed.
Though at times I wish I had decided to shack up with some senior drop out, had popped one of those money-draining-naked mole rats(people refer to as children) after high school, purchased a rental in the trailer park, and then finally proceeded to the file for my Welfare like the rest of my graduating class. If I had been clever and allowed my life to flow in that particular order, maybe, just maybe I wouldn’t have ended here.
Here meaning the Hertz Residence.
However, I can proudly say I didn’t stray too far from the rest. Like many, I found myself dissatisfied with how things were in the world. I starred spaciously out of my bedroom window, dreaming that I too could find happiness, that the cheery-jolly spirit around the holidays (I’m now fully aware of the term “fake smile”) could very well blossom within me, if given the opportunity.
Fuck, had I been mistaken.
Anyway, I ventured onward with blind eyes and a head full of dizzy fantasy ideals like a shaken snow globe. My heart led me on a winding path to the undiscovered boonies of Wisconsin. Why?
Well, I’ve been asking myself the same damn question every night with a face smashed in my pillow, since that decision. But to answer the question, truthfully I believed I was going to find myself.
Identify my calling.
Yeah, the picture has been painted. My hippie father had partially invaded my mind, but mainly I used those enchanting words as my one-way ticket away from him. Conclusion, the free ride to the airport wasn’t worth it.
* * *
I shook with white knuckles as I squeezed the life out of the kitchen tool. My palms had quickly engulfed the stainless steel handle into a damp sweat. The searing heat erupted from the stove’s top. I could feel the string from the flame flicking near my leg. My messy hair clung to my face as I peered downward. There, it still squirmed.
The scarlet lake only grew.
My panic escalated.
I wasn’t cut out for this, not for cooking at least. I would have rather cleaned the gutters or plunged my head directly in a toilet. I had learned from my first experience a few days ago, the kitchen was an unpredictable area. One had to mentally prepare themselves, like fucking gladiators ready to battle a ravenous lion. I shouldn’t need to wear armor and carry a sword to handle the cuisine.
My teeth chattered, “Oh god, you’re so gross. Why? Why can’t you just behave and go in the frying pan like we planned? Really, we discussed this before I had picked you. Delaying the process doesn’t help matters. Believe me, I’m the one who has it worse. I have to carry the guilt-“
A clap of unhappy heels filled the room.
“Don’t suppose the Master’s dinner has been prepared?” I jolted at the unexpected snooty voice of the head mistress. I peered over at the thin, lanky, boob-busting lady with the fat disapproved Easter blue colored lips. Her wild apricot curls somewhat sprung from the tightly wrapped bun on top of her head. A messy ribbon decorated the outside. Her arms were clasped tightly behind her back.
I gulped, “Dinner is being rather difficult.” My eyes nervously traveled to the floor; “I hadn’t expected it-“ The women scoffed at my words.
“What? Had you not expected it to put up such a fuss? Really, Miss Faust your inexperience and lack of ability to handle such tasks proves to be a disappointment.” The black needlepoint shoes marched forward. The toes pointed at the undead meal.
“It doesn’t matter how it’s done,” The head mistress slyly said as she raised her foot, “What matters is that it’s plated properly…on time.” The sharp heel then was speared through the creature’s glassy eye. It’s remains let out a squish and a gush of noises as the lady dug her unqualified tool further down. My guts knotted as the bloody thing was retrieved from the straight hook and handed to me.
I pinched it between my fingers.
My nose and eyes watered at the rancid odor. My mouth pulled towards their corners. I stuffed the groans. My observer raised a pencil brow. The lady in the corset, ruffled skirt, and fishnet leggings completely contradicted her authority. She looked like a hooker not the ‘manager’ of a wealthy estate.
“Do we have a problem, Miss Faust?” She asked. Her sarcasm rang like church bells. I swallowed my pride.
“No-no Ma’am. Just making sure it’s good and tender.” I slightly twirled the dead fish, as I pretended to inspect. I noticed the missing eye. I resisted the urge to vomit. “Looks just fine.” I forced a smile.
“Well good,” She replied rudely. “Now, get your behind off the counter and throw that sea waste in the pan. Remember, light simmer and don’t forget to drizzle the-“ She paused, “the sweet sauce.”
Cautiously I eased my skinny jean butt off edge. I still clutched the freshly deceased animal. Once my feet were firmly planted did I begin to tend to find the oil. My shoulders deflated once I realized it was stored at the towering twelve-foot tall stacked cabinet ceiling. It was the kitchen from hell.
“Oh and Miss Faust-“
I quickly snapped my focus at my superior, “Y-yes?” The lady’s pencil pointed face had a plastered smirk as she drummed her painted cat claws on her opposite arm.
“Be ready in ten and with a clean station.” Her slate eyes motioned towards the splattered crimson tile; the remaining mushed guts, and dirty dishes. I wanted to protest, heck I wanted to throw this spoiled Trout at her wrinkled raisin head. But as a young girl desperate for a job, I obliged painfully to her wishes.
The head mistress unannounced her dismissal, as I returned to the stove’s roaring flames. I wasn’t sure if it was the heat or the jittery nerves that were making my forehead drip beads of sweat. Either way, I was disgusting and had to be presentable in less than eight minutes. Was that even possible? I wiped a hand across my drenched skin.
I heard the tooting of words echo from the hall, “don’t forget to leave the bones.”
On that note, I grabbed the mixed cocktail of syrupy juice that was corked in a clear portion looking bottle. It smelled of a rich metallic and barely wanted to be poured from the neck of handle.
It all seemed very strange.
The raw, gut filled, bone infested fish with a hint of red vinegar sauce, plated with sealed oyster clams, carved unidentified sausage, and decorated with a sliced lemon should have been the obvious clue.
Well shit, I can’t fucking linger I’ve got a mangled carcass to serve.
Time to meet the Master.
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Just a crazy-off the wall idea I had.
Will most likely be a short story.
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