Lord of the Terrible Menu – an ISG Writing Exercise

On 2 March 2016, these three words were chosen:

  • Peppers
  • Rushed
  • Persnickety

And these blurbs were written within five minutes….Enjoy!

FEATURED STORY

DESIREE MATLOCK:

“You rushed through the presentation phase, Dierdre.”

She stared down at the food. She expected him to be a little picky, but she had not expected the new head chef to be such a wheedler for perfection. She clasped her hands together. “How?”

“I expect my sous chef to know this. Look. Look closely.” She stared down at the peppers, sliced in a perfect julienne, at the towers of breadstick, arranged just so. At his ridiculous aoli that did not in any way taste good with roasted peppers, but as carefully arranged as anything else. Her presentation looked just fine, and she sighed.

I don’t know, she admitted.

“Your breadsticks are arranged to point accusingly at the other guests at our table. Each person’s plate, in this arrangement, would be declaring war on every other plate!” He picked it up, slammed it back down.

“’J’accuse!’ Say your peppers.” His arms flew about, and he stormed away.

Dear God, she’d been warned he was persnickety, but this was ridiculous. Maybe it was time to accept the job in Vegas. It might be too corporate, but anything was better than working under Monsieur Fussy Pants, lord of the terrible menu.

www.DesisTwoCents.com

LISA BARRY:

The strong smell of roasted red peppers filled the car. It caught me so off guard I almost hit the breaks in alarm. But the realization infiltrated my mind before I could cause a five car pile-up and I glanced to the back seat. A small gnome like creature sat in the center seat. The green cap sat side-ways like it was rushed on and I would have thought it should fall off but in all the times I’ve seen him, it never had. “Bob,” I said. He nodded. I was always afraid of saying much more. He was such a persnickety little fellow and truthfully, he scared the hell out of me. Beneath that, I coughed in my head, cute exterior was a vicious and calculating, sharp toothed little fae. And the fae never had anything but their own interests in mind. The only reason they even gave me the time of day was because I was part fae, part were-wolf. Whenever they needed to tell the Alpha something, they came to me. Oh boy.

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ANNE CARGILE

Sherry watched Tom in the kitchen with no small amusement. She was careful to school her expression into polite interest as he lectured, but it was hard, and getting harder the more wine she drank.

“You dice pepper like so,” Tom said, demonstrating. His knife moved with sure skill and the neat pile grew steadily. “When you are beginning a sauté, you don’t want to be rushed. Great food takes time.”

“Mmmhmm,” Sherry acknowledged as she took another sip of wine and tried not to giggle. A more persnickety man she’d never met. It was too bad she thought, lifting the glass again and watching his sure movements as he diced and chopped and stirred. Everything smelled delicious. She decided she’d wait until after the meal to kill him and took another sip of wine.

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ALANNA CORMIER

I rushed around the garden to gather the last of the ingredients that were needed, but slowed as I approached the peppers, so that I could be sure that I picked the biggest one. This was going to be the most important item of them all and I felt giddy as I brought the shiny red beauty inside. Quickly, I began to chop. This had to be done before she got home. My nose involuntarily scrunched as her image came to mind and her terrible persnickety attitude, but tonight that was all going to change. With glee, I dropped the herbs and vegetables into the cauldron of boiling water, and then added a dash of salt. That’s when my doorbell rang. Looking through the peep hole, I saw that she had arrive and she was going to make a delicious entrée.

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NICOLE DRAGONBECK:

Jemma took a moment to take a deep breath, trying to calm her nerves. There was no sense in getting rushed and botching this. Those persnickety girls were going to get what they deserve, Jemma told herself, gritting her teeth. That was not doing anything for her nerves, though it did wonders for her motivation.

Catherine, Emerald, and Gorgeous (what kind of parent named their child Gorgeous?) were the most popular girls in school, if not the whole town. This wouldn’t have been a problem if they had been content with the knowledge and allowed Jemma to quietly continue her own life without torment or harassment. But no, they just had to make her life miserable. Well, now it was their turn.

Jemma watched the potion simmer, until it was just the right shade of vermilion, then added the peppers. The Trinidad Moruga Scorpion, the hottest pepper known to mankind. The potion just called for ordinary bell pepper, grown under a full moon until they flowered then sprinkled with unicorn tears, but Jemma couldn’t help herself. She really wanted them to suffer.

It took another hour of painstaking simmering and refining, but at last Jemma had the thin, gold liquid in a small bottle. She put in in her backpack and went to bed. She never thought she’d say this, but she couldn’t wait for school.

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DESIREE MATLOCK:

“You rushed through the presentation phase, Dierdre.”

She stared down at the food. She expected him to be a little picky, but she had not expected the new head chef to be such a wheedler for perfection. She clasped her hands together. “How?”

“I expect my sous chef to know this. Look. Look closely.” She stared down at the peppers, sliced in a perfect julienne, at the towers of breadstick, arranged just so. At his ridiculous aoli that did not in any way taste good with roasted peppers, but as carefully arranged as anything else. Her presentation looked just fine, and she sighed.

I don’t know, she admitted.

“Your breadsticks are arranged to point accusingly at the other guests at our table. Each person’s plate, in this arrangement, would be declaring war on every other plate!” He picked it up, slammed it back down.

“J’accuse!” Say your peppers.” His arms flew about, and he stormed away.

Dear God, she’d been warned he was persnickety, but this was ridiculous. Maybe it was time to accept the job in Vegas. It might be too corporate, but anything was better than working under Monsieur Fussy Pants, lord of the terrible menu.

www.DesisTwoCents.com

JM PAQUETTE:

“Come on, Doris, don’t be such a stick in the mud!” Coral teased.

Doris glared at her, hand protectively covering her tea cup. “It has nothing to do with mud, Coral Anderson, and you know it. That stuff will give you cancer!”

Coral dropped the sugar packets on the table, giving up. “Fine,” she snapped, “if you want to drink lukewarm piss water, that’s your own damn fault.”

“I will drink my tea the way I like it,” Doris declared, taking a small sip to prove her point and failing to hide the wince as she swallowed.

Coral didn’t miss the expression. She may be old, but her eyes were still sharp. “You need sugar, woman!” she insisted. “Stop being such a persnickety old witch and just admit it!”

“I do not need sugar,” Doris said, her voice calm. She placed her tea cup back into the saucer with a minimum of delicate clanking. Her hands shook, but not as much as some. “Besides, I like to take my time. Some people don’t like to be rushed into things.”

“Rushed into taking your tea with sugar? You’re talking crazy. It’s not like I asked you to try hot peppers with your dinner or anything.” Coral sneered, remembering last night’s dinner debate. Everything with Doris was a debate these days.

“You and those damn peppers,” Doris muttered. “You think we don’t know the only reason you got into gardening was so you had a reason to show your backside to Carl across the way?”

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1 Comment

Filed under Creative Writing, Writers Group, Writing, Writing Exercise

One response to “Lord of the Terrible Menu – an ISG Writing Exercise

  1. Pingback: Writing Exercise: This had to be done before she got home… – Alanna Cormier

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