Wednesday September 11th, 2013

The exercise:

Write about something: rotten.

I was scrounging through our tomatoes this morning in order to fill our latest restaurant order. At this time of year there tends to be a lot of split, overripe, and rotting tomatoes and this season is no different.

At least I was able to find the twenty pounds of heirlooms and ten pounds of beefsteak that had been requested.


Henri stepped into his apartment and froze, his keys dangling from his fingers mere inches away from their waiting hook. He sniffed the air gingerly, once again catching the scent of something distinctly unpleasant.

"What idiot left food out?" he asked himself. Or rather, he asked the bust of himself that decorated his entryway. The (overpaid) artist had captured him in fine form, a lit cigarette between his lips and a menacing gleam in his eyes. The statue was easily the most pleasant company he kept.

Moving reluctantly toward his kitchen, Henri studied his surroundings and was not pleased by what he saw. The cleaners had been scheduled to come three times during his two week absence but from the looks of things they'd only been twice.

"People are about to lose their jobs," he muttered, his cell phone already in hand.

But, as it turned out, there would be no need for him to make that call.

For when he arrived in his kitchen he found waiting for him on the floor, spelled out in large letters with rotting vegetables, the words We Quit.


Anonymous said...

I guess when you grow a lot of vegetables it's inevitable that you can't necessarily harvest all of them before they overripen, but that's still a shame. Well done on getting the order filled then!
Ah, Henri has returned! I was starting to worry that you'd turned over a new leaf and were only going to write about nice characters now ;-) That's a delightful tale, and I really like the image of Henri standing next to his bust. The rotting food in the kitchen is just the icing on the cake really.

Michel smiled as he walked into the kitchen, dressed in his sparklingly clean whites. A new job, a fresh start. He'd been Henri's PA for far too long, and though it had taken all of his courage (and then a bottle of Pernod) to quit, the relief he'd felt afterwards made it all worthwhile.
The line-cooks looked up, and then looked down again, continuing chopping, peeling, slicing and prepping. There were pots of water boiling on stoves, wisps of steam drifting across the kitchen, and from the stockpots at the back, huge ten-gallon stainless steel vats, came the fragrant scents of chicken, beef and veal.
"Boss," said Choo-choo, whose nickname came from both his stutter and his job as sous-chef. "Boss, we gotta problem. All the produce is rotten."
"What?" Michel's face registered shock, and for a moment his whole body tensed, subconciously expecting Henri to start shouting.
"All the produce is rotten. There's a note, from some french cock called Henry."
"Henri," corrected Michel. How on earth...?
"Whadda we do, boss?"
"...dim sum," said Michel. Henri might be challenging him still, but he could deal with him just as he always did, and Henri had had no idea that he'd been eating rotten food in pastry-parcels for the past six years.

Aholiab said...


Discovering rotten produce beneath the lush foliage in your garden is never pleasant. But just imagining the heirlooms and beefsteaks made my mouth yearn for a BLT or two! I hadn't met Henri before, so this was quite an introduction to his character and how much he is loved by those around him!

Nice add-on to flesh out Henri's persona! I cracked up at the last line... perfect retribution!

A dude with some money ill-gotten
Spent it on sheets made of cotton.
He just robbed a bank
Whose credit line stank.
He’d buy silk if his luck weren't so rotten.

Marc said...

Greg - yeah, I'm still coming to terms with the idea of wasted produce. I was much more troubled by it when I first began this farming stuff...

Pfft, only nice characters. As if :P

Love the tie in with mine, that's some wonderfully clever stuff. Though I think Michel is not nearly done with Henri yet...

Aholiab - ah yes, Henri is quite... something, all right :)

Hah, that's a fun little poem! I rather enjoyed reading it aloud :D