Thursday, December 30, 2010

Death of the American Dream part 1

Lilly Astor was not a musical genius. However, she could weave symphonies with each press of the keys. Often melancholy, her work had a sullen rhythm reflective of her life outside the walls in which she was now confined. Her long fingers jumped precisely and hastily from key to key. The stoic expression so frequently seen on her face never gave way. That is except for her eyes. Even when she was not weaving a masterpiece with her esquisite hands, her dark brown eyes always conveyed an empty loneliness.

The report was due at ten that night, and Lilly was determined to finish by eight. The clacking of keys on her computer echoed throughout the office from her cubicle. It had been a while since she had last gone out, and one of her closest friends had invited her to drinks earlier that day. Her long brown hair was slightly disheveled at this point from the fervent and intense working. As always her face made no portrait of the kind. At seven forty five she finished. She walked over the the communal office printer, grabbed her piece, stapled it, and put it in her boss's office.

She stopped quickly in the bathroom before she left. She was embarrassed when she noticed the state of her hair and the light sweat stains forming in the pits of her t-shirt. She urinated quickly, and grabbed a scrunchie after washing her hands and pulled her hair into a tight pony tail. She raced back to her cubicle to grab her jacket to hide the small sweat stains. Her office space was clean, and after picking up her cell phone and shutting off her computer she left.

The subway ride home was bothersome. A group of young ruffians were practicing their rapping skills, and none of them were very good at it. The bright lights flickered constantly and this car reeked especially of urine and feces. A handful of homeless people slept on the hard plastic seats.

She darted immediately for the shower when she arrived at her apartment. The near scalding water was refreshing, and helped wash away the troubles of the day. After the shower, Lilly stepped onto the ceramic floor and stared in the mirror. At first she couldn't see anything because the steam had caused it to fog up. She wiped it with a towel and began to scrutinize her various features. Her hair was long and dark brown, her nose was like a button, her lips were full, and her were large eyes large and loquacious. She gently cupped her modestly sized breasts, and ran her hands down her perfectly toned stomach and past her trimmed pubic hair to her thighs. She was a beautiful girl, but she did not see herself as such.

She did her hair quickly, but it was a fashionable do. She put on a simple black dress and an ornate silver necklace. she grabbed a black clutch purse and placed her feet in black pumps. After a spritz of perfume, Lilly walked into her kitchen and pulled out a small selection of alcohol for when her friend arrived.

There was a knock at the door. Lilly sped towards it as fast as her high heeled shoes would carry her. The person on the other side knocked again.

"Stop it," Lilly commanded "I'm just about to open it."

With a heavy sigh she unlatched the lock and turned the knob. Before she could oepn the door in its entirety, the person on the other side burst through.

"Honey," He walked straight to the cabinet in which she kept the alcohol "You can't keep a guest waiting."

"Theo," Lilly rolled her eyes and plopped on the couch "You were waiting for 30 seconds; You're just really impatient. Make me a drink while you're there."

"What will you have?" Theo fiddled around in her freezer in search for ice.

"Scotch. On the rocks of course." Lilly sat back against the soft cushion of the sofa. She combed her brown hair onto her shoulder with her fingers to avoid any unwanted crimping.

"You know that gives you chest hair," Theo giggled "Such a manly drink."

"Maybe it will help me in the romantic department," she withholdingly laughed "men always bitch about how difficult we are to figure out, but you're really just as bad."

"We can barely figure each other out," Theo walked over with two drinks in hand and sat down on a chair adjacent to Lilly.

He handed her a drink with a small amount of brown liquid and two sizely ice cubes. He drank a whiskey sour.

"Really?" Lilly sat up and took a sip of the beverage and cringed. It was a man's drink "everyone says gay guys just get each other."

"Not at all." He laughed and took a sip of his drink "There's a lot of things that people assume about people in my community."

"Che sera sera." Lilly placed her beverage on a coaster "Don't make to much of it. You shouldn't put too much stock in what others think of you."

"I try not to," He candidly admitted "but, even if you say you don't, there is still that small almost inoccuous voice in the back of your mind telling you otherwise. Eventually, that little inconsequential voice grows in volume and then before you know it your self esteem plummets."

"That's true." She knew he was right. She ran out of things to say so she decided to examine her friend as she did so many times. Theo was a rather attractive man of thirty one. He had dazzling green eyes and bold features that many men would envy. He had the hairline of a ten year old and his coiffe was always styled perfectly. He was exceptionally pretty. Lilly always suspected he wore make-up. As far as adornment went, he was what one would call a snappy dresser.

He was staring pensively at the wooden coffee table, almost burning holes into the various knots which caught his atttension. Lilly took another sip of a drink to try and think of a subject to which she could change conversation. She came up with nothing.

"So what are we doing tonight?" Theo finally blurted after a few minutes of silence.

"We're going to dinner and then maybe to a bar." Lilly stood "I'm sorry for the lack of conversation, I'm just exceptionally tired."

"It's fine," Theo stood as well "I was just thinking."

Lilly just nodded. She didn't want to intrude on his thoughts, nor did she want to hear them.

"So we're going to The Arthouse for dinner right?" Theo took both of their glasses to the sink.

"Yep," Lilly pulled a black cardigan off the coat rack "Then we can go to the palace afterwards."

"A gay bar?" He smiled and opened the door "Are you sure?"

"I don't feel like getting laid tonight," She walked out and pulled a key from her small purse "There's a less likely chance of that happening there than at a straight place."

"Sometimes I think you need to get laid more often" He laughed as he exited her apartment behind her. She locked the door.

When they got outside and attempted to hail a taxi Lilly began having strange thoughts and decided now would be a good a time as ever to vocalize them. Perchance he could help her sort out the feelings she was having.

"Have you ever thought about dying," Lilly could feel a heaviness in her breath "I mean: Killing yourself?"

"Yes," Theo said frankly as as taxi began making its way to the curb "I used to want to off myself all the time when I was younger. Are you having those thoughts now?"

"I'm not considering it," Lilly said without looking at him "I was thinking about what it would do to the people around me."

"Listen," Theo uttered in such a way that Lilly had no choice but to look her in the eyes "You will hurt everyone around you. You're life will be over physically and in every other way, but you will end the life of all the people around you too. They'll be alive, sure. But, they will never forgive themselves for not doing everything they could to stop you from doing it. You will haunt them for the rest of your life. And besides, there are so many people who have it worse than you. I mean, fuck, you're a successful journalist, men love you, you're fucking gorgeous; You have everything going for you...don't be so selfish."

"I told you I wasn't considering it," Lilly was close to tears and she turned away to hide from her dearest friend.

"Lilly," The taxi was pulling up "I know what it feels like. To be alone, and fell like there is nothing you can do to pull your self from the pit that you find yourself in."

"I-I said..." She was crying now.

"Listen," He grabbed her shoulders "I tried to kill myself several times when I was younger. It is the hardest thing in the world to convince yourself there is hope and that people love you. I know it is. You probably won't even believe yourself when you say it out loud. Just keep reminding yourself, and it will click at somepoint, trust me."

Lilly remained silent and hastily entered the cab. Theo followed behind her. She pulled a tissue from her purse and dried her eyes.

"Where to?" The driver inquired.

"Fourth and De Gault." Theo responded. His gaze was still on Lilly.

She didn't say anything.

The entire drive to the restaurant she had the sickening feeling of an unnamable horror. What it was or what made her feel this, she couldn't say. As the drive continued the feeling grew into a pensive paranoia monster which overwhelmed her anytime she tried to think of something else. At this point Theo turned his gaze from her to the road which made her feel even more alone at that moment.

They arrived at the restaurant. Theo insisted he pay and he began to exit the cab. Looking at the floor of the automobile Lilly said one thing that still haunts him to this day:

"Theo, I'm going to die tommorow."

Saturday, September 25, 2010

party monster

Everything around me smells like vomit. There’s a girl in the corner regurgitating her lunch right now. The air is thick with cigarette and marijuana smoke, and I’m getting dizzy. I’m holding a cup of jack and coke, but I have yet to take a sip. I can hear the legs of beds screeching back and forth above my head. There’s people dancing rather intimately in the living room, and some of them are making out. The wood of the back deck is creaking from the weight of the roughly 35 people socializing; they discuss banal things like pop music and the latest sandra bullock movie. I only came because a friend asked me too, but she’s too busy practicing fellatio on a guy she just met in the bathroom. I look like a lonesome loser standing in the kitchen. I’m too afraid to talk to anyone. I’m staring daggers into the cheese plate; I don’t even like cheese that much. The air is beginning to sting my eyes, and the smell is making me sick. I don’t know why I’m still here staring at cubes of curdled milk. I should just go. I know I said I’d take my friend home, but I can’t stand it here. I don’t know anyone, I’m almost two hours from home, and everyone thinks I’m catatonic. What a Friday night this is.

A girl came up to me and said hello. I just give her a meek smile and say hello back. Thank god somebody is going to talk to me. She says excuse me and goes to the fridge. I go back to the monterey jack. It seems that everyone wanted a drink then, so I decided to go to the bathroom. I walked out as a crowd poured into the kitchen. I knock on the door.

“It’s occupied!”

“Sorry” I respond.

Then I head a muffled cough coming from the bathroom and then a woman’s voice.

“Wait!” My friend came to the door.

“Hey,” I mumble.

“Hey,” she smiles “I’m not going to need a ride home.”

“Oh,” I smile “That’s good to know, I’m about ready to leave.”

“You should stay a bit longer,” my friend slurs as she leans against the door “You haven’t talked to ANYone have you?”

“Ye-…No.” I bite my lip.

“I know you’re not wild,” she places her hand on my shoulder “but you really need to live a little.”

“I’m sure I can do that in a more sedate place,” I joke. I’m not that funny.

“I’m sure you’ll change once you start talking to someone,” she moves from her lean to an upright position “anyay, don’t drink and drive.”

“I haven’t drunk anythign yet”

“Grood.” She slurs as she shuts the door to the bathroom.

I decide to take a final walk around the house at her request. It’s all the same. There’s a different girl vommiting in a different corner. The people in the living room are a few layers of cotton away from an orgy. The deck is still creaking, and the scraping of beds still persists. I sigh and begin for the door. Then I see, or at least I think I see, someone I met before. I turn to look, to make sure. We had a class together: college algebra. It was over a year ago, and we haven’t talked since then. I think I’m going to leave now. That is until I realized I have been staring for a bit and our eyes just met. I did that awkward eye aversion that I, and everyone, always do. I take a deep breath and turn toward the door. I can feel my face heating up; I probably look like a tomato. I make sure my keys are still in my pocket and I head for the door. I turn the nob and head outside. The fresh air is nice, I realize I smell like a party: cigarettes, pot, and vomit. I look around for a moment to try to remember where it was I parked. I hear the door open behind me.


I turn around. At the top of the steps is my aquaintence.

“Oh, hey.” I stammer.

“Are you leaving?”

“Yeah,” I scratch the back of my head nervously “I’m just not that into parties.”

“Me neither,” he shut the front door and stepped onto the front lawn.

“Then why are you here?” I ask him rather rudely.

“I was bored.” He says frankly “It’s something to do on a Friday night. Why are you here?”

“My friend needed a designated driver,” I shrug “but my services are no longer needed.”

“So,” he takes a step closer “it’s been like a year right?”

“Huh?” I’m confused, but I realize what he’s saying “Oh, yeah. I hated that class.”

“Me too,” He smiles “I’ve never been all that good at math.”

I just nod in agreement. Based on his hair, one would assume that he jammed his tongue into a socket. It’s stands straight up, but not in a punky way. He has a light dusting of facial hair. He looks like he may be italian. He’s thick, but it looks like he excersizes.

“I,” I cough “I think I’m going to head out.”

“You should stay,” he looks sincere “I’d like to talk to you more.”

“Me too,” I smile “ I mean, to you.”

He smiles back.

“But,” I say and he looks dissapointed “somewhere else.”

“I didn’t bring my car” he shrugs.

“I did.” I pull out my keys.

“Haven’t you been drinking?”

“I had a drink but I didn’t actually drink it.”

“Are you sure?”

“No,” I look down “But I’ve got to live sometime, don’t I?”

He smiles. I smile.

What a way to spend a Friday night.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Tear You Apart: The Story of a Boy

I lied.

I said I loved her.

I mean, Damn! I've been waiting seventeen fucking years to get laid!

When I told her I'm pretty sure she started crying. I hate when she cries; I never know how to deal with it. I guess it means she believed me, because five minutes late she told me she was ready.

Fuck, I need to go clean out my car.


My car smelled like Mexican food. I was wearing one of those stripey button down shirts you get at the mall.

She was wearing a red dress that made her tits look epic. Dude, my cock was hard as a rock all night! Anyway, I took her down by the river. She said she wanted to talk, but, shit man, I wanted to fuck! I shoved my tongue down her throat to make her shut up.

We made out for a while before i started taking off her dress. I got down to my boxers to make her comfortable. When she was only in her bra, I started playing with her tits. It as kind of cold, so her nipples were hard. It felt wierd. It took me a while to undo her know how those things are.

After a while I got bored of feeling her boobs, so i decided it was time to go to third base. I stuck my hand into her panties. I felt around and tickled her clit for a second. After that I put my fingers into her cunt. it felt like really thick Jell-O. I played around with it for a while; she looked like she was enjoying it.

I asked her to grab my dick. she did

I asked her to blow me. The bitch said not tonight.

After finger banging her for a while I got a rubber out of my pants. I got naked and put it on like a pro. Before i put it on i asked her if I could just pull out; It's supposed to feel better. She said she could still get pregnant.

So anyway, it rocked when we finally started fucking. Her pussy was so tight! She was howling like a fucking wolf, dude! It didn't take me long to cum. I mean, it took some time, but with a cunt like that...I mean, fuck man! After it was done i threw my rubber into the woods.

I asked her how it was.


I am the man!

Bat's Mouth: The Story of a Girl

He loves me.

He said he loved me.

There's a part of me that wonders if he only said it to finally get me to do him. but...

When he said it, I knew he meant it. there was no way he was lying. He was just too sincere. The way he looked at me...I felt it. I really felt it.

I think I'm ready.

I'm sure I'm ready.

I really need to go shopping. I'll buy a nice dress; a cheap one. I'll do my hair just the way he likes it. oh, and i'll wear that peach blossom perfume. It smells sexy.


He picked me up around seven. he was wearing one of those vertical striped shirts with a pair of decent jeans. Even though the shirt was wrinkled, he looked nice. Nicer than usual anyway. His car smelled like tacos.

The music was that dumb screamy shit he always listens to. I don't love it, but i deal with it because I love him. He looked over to me now and then, and stuttered 'thank you' each time. I smiled back of course. It's just...that little voice inside of my head that said it was all just to do me is now incredibly loud.

we got to the meadow around seven thirty. I brought the blanket, he brought the condoms. We placed the blanket on the ground, then we layed on it. i wanted to talk, but he just shoved his tongue in my mouth.

He was rubbing my breasts, and he was trying to undo my dress. I was fidgeting a bit to try and slow him down. I mean, has he never heard of foreplay.

finally, i caved in and he got me down to my bra and panties. He stripped down to his boxers. Even in the darkness i could see he was hard. it kept poking through that unnecessary hole in his boxers. He began to undo my bra. Well, attempted to. I ened up doing it myself. He 'motor-boated' me for, like, 2 minutes, and then he stuck his hands in my panties. His fingers were cold and clammy, so it was really unpleasent when he put them in me. He jammed two of them in. It stung. It wasn't bad, but I wasn't loving it.

He asked me to touch it. I did.

he asked me to put it in my mouth. I said not tonight.

He pulled his fingers out and pulled the rubber out of one of his pants pockets. I took off my panties and he took off his boxers. i laughed a bit as i watched him put on the condom. He flubbed with it for a bit, then he asked if he could just pull out. I paid attention in sex ed. I know you can still get pregnant that way. After messing with the thing for a while he finally got it on.

He looked at me and asked me if i was ready. I nodded. I wasn't really wet. he started to put it in. It hurt so bad! He was gentle at first, but all I wanted to do was punch him in the face. The more he put it in the more it hurt. He tried kissing me on the neck to distract me...I guess I wasn't good at hiding the fact that i was in pain. When he pulled out for the first time everything was cool for a few moments...until he shoved it back in. It was the same boring pain for, like, 5 minutes. Then he slumped on top of me, and then he rolled off. He took off his condom and threw it in the woods.

He asked how it was.

I said 'Wonderful.'

I was lying.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Metal Box Mix Tape

"I think it's about time." Chloe murmured while lighting a cigarette. She inhaled deeply with the tobacco stick clasped between her painted lips. She held it in for only a moment and released a gray cloud in a breathy sigh. Her dark brown eyes flashed quickly at a stout young man struggling to put on a pair of high top canvas sneakers "We're going to be late, c'mon!"

"Hold on! These sneakers take time. You know that!" the young man in the chair rebuked.

"Christ," Chloe rolled her eyes "It sounds like your trying to shove your feet into a pair of women's boots before a drag show."

"Fuck You!" he grunted "They need to come up with an easier way to get these things on." With a final mrph! he managed to have the shoes in their proper place.

"Let's get going, Duke," Chloe started toward the door adn then paused "unless you want to put some make-up on and waste more of my time."

"Seriously, fuck you." Duke Spat "You just walked into my house twenty minutes ago and shouted 'We're going to a party, Fatass! Get Up!'"

"I only said it like that because I love you." Chloe giggled.

"Of course you did." Duke walked out the door and started for the car.

"Don't leave without me jerkface!" Chloe cried as she hastened towards the car. While running, as a result of a great deal of practice, she expertly through her cigarette to the ground and doused it with a quick, moving jounce.

"where is this party, by the way?" Duke asked as he tousled his chesnut brown hair and opened the car door.

"Well," Chloe bit her lip "it's at Miranda's"

"That's forty five minutes away!" Duke moaned "I wish you would have told me that before."

"If i told you before you wouldn't have wanted to go." Chloe admitted nonchalantly as she sat in the passenger seat. Duke released a terse sigh and sat in the seat next to her. He fumbled in his pockets on a 10 second epic quest for his car keys. He succeeded and placed the key into the ignition. He turned it. It grunted but refused to begin. Again he turned the key. Buh-rum-rum-rum-rum. He turned it once more and the automobile began with a loud cough.

The radio started.

Song: Daylight by Matt and Kim

"Oh, oh, oh," Chloe paused from applying her dark blue eyeshadow "I LOVE this song!"

"Yeah," Duke agreed as he set the car in reverse "It's pretty good."

"Turn it up!"

"No." Duke stated firmly as he pulled onto the road.

"I though you liked this song..." Chloe pouted.

"I do, I'd just rather not be distracted by loud music. He admitted as he caressed his short but full beard.

"You want to talk don't you?" Chloe threw her makup into her purse "I know what you want to talk about."

"I didn't say anything" He gulped.

"It's ok," Chloe briefly played with her pixied blonde hair "It needs to be discussed.

Song: Cosmic Love by Florence and the Machine

"what are we?" Duke asked emphatically.

"We're friends." Chloe shrugged.

"That's all?"

"I don't want to say yes and hurt you, and I don't want to say no and get your hopes up."

"What if that isn't all I want? What if I want us to be something more?"

Chloe paused. She stared out the window and watched the passing scenery of suburban neighborhoods and harvested fields.

"I don't think I do. I don't."

"We always do what you want. I'm getting tired of bending to your every fucking whim in the hope that one day you might just accidently say 'i love you' and mean it."

"Duke, It doesn't work like that. You can't foce it! If it's sex you want...I'm fine with that."

"It's not that at all. I'm aware that you're willing to sleep with me because we already have. I want you to love me!"

Song:Ode to Divorce by Regina Spektor

"I can't!" tears began forming in the corner of Chloe's eyes. "I can't...and I won't. Our friendship means too much to me."

"You know you've got me." Duke accused "I would break my fucking back for you, and you know it!"

"No, no, no! It's not like-" Chloe began.

"Really?" Duke was yelling now "It's not like that? Every god-damn time we hang out it's what you want to do. If it isn't, you just sit around and bitch and moan the entire time!"

"Is that really how you feel?" Chloe's voice was shaken and she was visibly shocked.

"Yes." Duke took a deep breath and talked in a more normal tone "But, it would all be ok if you just told me what I want to hear."

"this is why it won't work." Chloe turned back to the window "We're vipers. We're fucking vipers."

They both fell silent.

Song: What's a Girl to Do by bat for lashes


Song: The Bed by St. Vincent


Song: Truce by the Dresden Dolls


Song: Asleep by the Smiths

"Please," Chloe finally pleaded "Please, you're my best friend..."

"I just don't know anymore," Duke reasoned "I just feel empty now."

"We'll get over this in no time," Chloe laughed nervously "this isn't the firt time we've argued."

"You and I both know that this time will be different." Duke said flatly.

"But it doesn't have to be..." Chloe stared at her lap "If you'd only just forget those silly feelings."

"So it's my fault?" Duke stared intensely at the road before him.

"No, I-" Chloe looked up "we're here."

"Yeah," Duke pulled the car against the curb "you go in ahead of me, I need a minute."

Song: Made Up Love Song #43 by Guillemots

Chloe exited the car and began walking to the door. She turned around briefly to look at Duke. She sighed heavily, and went to the door.

Duke looked up longingly at her as she walked away, then quickly returned to staring at the steering wheel. He looked slightly to the left...he remembered he hadn't shut the car off.

He put the car into drive.

Song: Dog Days Are Over by Florence and the Machine

He was free.

One Last Dance

*Fun Fact: this was an english paper.

“This is it,” the words echoed throughout the room “I can’t believe it’s finally over.”
There were twelve of us. Sitting in twelve cotton cushioned chairs at tables arranged to look like a horseshoe, we sat in quiet anticipation. Eyes darted erratically from person to person in order to preserve the image of the others in our minds. Even in the uniformity of our white jackets and chessboard pants, we each played a unique role in the melodramatic culinary comedy which conspired over the year. We were a family, and this was our home. Room 222, 216 and the numberless kitchen were the set of our growth, self discovery, strife, and friendship. We had entered knowing that after tonight we would never be a family again. It would never be home ever again either; visitation was ok, but we would never be welcomed as we were before. Each of us knew that this would be our last hurrah.
Everybody jostled in their seats in the restless half hour before the examination began. We conversed, cajoled, and encouraged each other while we waited for the chef to enter and give us a final pep talk. The day as a whole was bittersweet, because it had been an incredibly stressful year even though we were excited to leave at the same time. After the residential sassy Latin girl reviewed the game plan with everyone, the chef entered. He walked in hastily, and began listing off guidelines and advice for the day ahead of us.
“Remember 110 percent mise en place, and the clock is the boss!” the chef quipped “Ok, let’s go!”
With that, the clock struck one and everyone collected their things and darted to the kitchen. We all breathed the thick (almost metallic) air as we burst through the door one by one. This was the last time the long metal tables, the dim lights, the sinks, and all the equipment would be ours. It felt as though we had taken a person who recently passed for granted, and then rose from the dead, like a phoenix, for a final chance at redemption. Each of us went to our respective stations and evaluated what needed to be done, put on our hats and aprons, and made sure all the equipment we were to use was available. We unpacked our knives, measuring cups, and other tools, and got promptly to work. Like a storm, 12 individuals crowded the dry storeroom and walk in refrigerators grabbing for ingredients and tools. When everything was all set up the day truly began.
There were three of us on pastry. Meghan, a thin brunette girl with enough boy trouble to make Juliet jealous, Tina, a young woman who shouts when she speaks and is a concern for cooking time, and I formed the baking trinity. The tasks given to the pastry team were to bake naan flatbread, cheddar cornmeal scones, and a chocolate torte with a cappuccino mousse filling. Each of us had our respective jobs that day: Meghan was to make the cake, cut it, and ganache it, Tina was to make naan flatbread and whipped cream, and I was to make the cappuccino mousse (which filled the layers of the torte) and the scones. I quickly put the chocolate and butter in a bowl over a bowl filled with urn (from a container just below boiling point) water to melt them. As that conspired I separated my eggs, weighed out my sugar, and created the coffee syrup that will act as the flavoring agent. When the chocolate was nearly melted I whipped the egg yolks, cream, and egg whites and folded it into the chocolate. After I had made two batches and placed them into hotel pans (a metallic, flat bottomed pan that comes in various depths and areas), I let them chill in one of the walk in fridges. It was around three when I finished that task so I knew I had to quickly begin work on the scones. I combined the flour, eggs, cornmeal, seasonings, and cheeses into a large yellow glob. I kneaded and rolled them carefully onto a floured table and cut out the shape, and baked them.
When the hour turned 5 it was time to breathe. We cleaned up any outrageous messes that were created over the past four hours, and checked to make sure everything was where it needed to be. Unfortunately, the breather was short for Meghan and I because we had to begin assembling the torte. The plan was for me to be the runner, and I would go between the freezer and dairy walk in grabbing cakes and taking them on round trips. She would fill a pastry bag with moose and spread them between layers and the system worked out rather well. However, around halfway through the cake filling Meghan came upon a discovery that could have changed how the rest of the day conspired.
“Corey,” Meghan said as she piped a layer of the cappuccino cream on a layer of cake “I don’t know if we have enough mousse.”
“What?” I said in a daze “what are we supposed to do?”
Everything seemed to stop for a moment. I stared at her, breathing heavily, trying to imagine some way to rectify the situation. If we ran out of mousse, it meant we may not have had enough dessert to serve to our friends and families sitting in the dining room.
“I don’t know,” Meghan stopped piping to wipe her hand on a bowl to release any mousse on her hand “maybe we have to make more.”
This made me nervous. There were only about two hours until we had to plate and serve the dessert. The difficulty in the situation was that mousse takes about four hours to set. There was a chance that if we placed it in the freezer, it would be fine. However, that ran a different series of complications. I realized in that moment that I had to start making a batch of the fluffy chocolate confection, and then hope for the best.
“Shit,” I whispered under my breath “do you think we have enough time?”
“Maybe,” Meghan spoke “make a single batch instead of a double. It might have enough time to set.”
“Alright, I’ll get on it.” With that said I darted into the store-room to make sure we had enough chocolate chopped to make even a single batch. I quickly grabbed whatever chocolate we had and dumped it into the dish that helps balance the scale. By some marvelous twist of fate we had exactly (to the ounce) what we needed and I placed it into a separate metal bowl and I began melting it without the butter. I speedily gathered all the necessary ingredients, but made sure to hesitate on separating the eggs so as not to over mise en place. I ran back to the dairy walk in before beginning.
“How are we doing?” I asked Meghan.
“With what?” She paused in a bewilderment birthed only from intense focus. She then released a high pitched squeal like she had done every time she heard something shocking or remembered something important “Oh, the mousse. How many servings do we need?”
“We should be safe with seventy five,” I calculated “will we at least make that?”
“Maybe,” Meghan continued to mousse “check how many cakes we have now, and then multiply it by 15.”
I heeded her advice and did as much. At the time we had four cakes done and she was at work on a fifth. We were told to prepare 7 cakes to be sure there was enough in case any were flubbed or something of that nature. I returned to the dairy cooler.
“Can you get 3 more cakes with the mousse we have?” I asked with a tinge of hope in my voice.
“Um,” She looked at our current mousse stock “I think so.”
“Ok,” I sighed heavily “good, I’m going to keep the ingredients just in case but I don’t think we’ll need them.”
After that stint of tension Meghan finished piping, and I continued my duties as runner. Once all the cakes were in the freezer Meghan made a quick ganache and I went to help other stations throughout the night. Around seven thirty everyone sat down for dinner and discussed the pros and cons of each dish sent out into the dining room. Both breads (the scones and the naan flat bread which Tina baked) were highly praised. Once the clock reached eight, we all stopped. It was time to plate the dessert. I quickly ran to grab a pair of vinyl gloves so as not to leave a fingerprint in the delicate ganache which covered each slice of the cake log. Everyone on pastry (and a few others from the kitchen) began to assemble the dish. First, a small pool of raspberry sauce (which was made at an earlier date) was placed at the ten o’clock position on the plate. Next, three medium sized raspberries were placed within the almost gelatinous pool of sauce. I was assigned the next task of placing each cake slice on the plate. After Meghan cut five or so slices, I would take a tray and gently place the slices upon it. I would then quickly and carefully lay each slice of cake on the plate so it did not come in contact with the sweet blood red pond already waiting on the plate. After said process was completed, a girl began the task of adding whipped cream to each dessert. On each slice, there would be five piped puffs placed in such a way as to make the cloudy substance look as if it were dripping off of the cake. During this process we each changed our now filthy chef coats to a fresher whiter one. I took over the whipped cream piping at the end so the other girl could change her coat.
When the final dish was plated, we each grabbed two desserts. As a class we entered the dining room and presented our plates to two guests of our choosing. I chose my parents for dealing with me over the course of the year, paying for the tuition, and raising me in general. We then stood by our guest’s tables and waited until all of the remaining desserts were served. After the guests were all served, the chef instructor introduced us one by one. Each of the students (myself included) thanked the chef instructors, our families, and our comrades. We talked about our future goals, how the experienced changed us, and the joy and sadness of disbanding our dysfunctional family at the night’s end. The guests joined in applause, and soon after the formality ended. We conversed with our respective guests, showed them around the kitchen, and took a magazine’s worth of photos. One by one we all returned to the kitchen to clean up any remaining mess and gather our belongings. One of our class mates (almost ceremoniously) shut off the lights of the line.
Earlier in the day we were instructed to go to the classroom for a final meeting. We filtered in sporadically; all the while we joked and reminisced about the year that had passed before our eyes. Once we were all settled in a seat or atop a table, our chef instructor and the residential pastry chef entered. Each offered our congratulations and a few words of wisdom. The two which stuck with me the most were ‘don’t ever tell yourself you can’t do something, because each of you has the potential for greatness’ and ‘don’t ever lower your standards’. Though a bit trite, the two chefs gave incredibly true advice.
It was the last moment we were a family. One by one we filtered out of the room (after saying one final goodbye to the chefs) and journeyed to our respective homes. Because I don’t drive, I had to call my parents and wait for a ride. I waited outside of the building on a small picnic table which sat under a tree. While waiting I watch the branches shift in the light summer breeze, gazed upon the blazing stars, and began to reflect upon the year that had passed. The year, especially the dinner service that just ended, showed me that I really could do anything I am determined to do. Before this year, I had never been in a really high pressure situation. Even though I did have some instances where I became beyond stressed (even at one point passing out), I felt that with a little struggling I could really get anything accomplished.
I felt and welcomed the breeze. It had been a long, hot night in the kitchen, and the waft of brisk air that could only come from a summer night was surreal and marvelous. I sat at the table, watching and waving as a few of the stragglers left. Down on the road, I then saw my mother pull up in her car. I was relieved to see it, but also sad that everything would truly end in moments. I got in the car, said hi to my mother, and buckled my seatbelt. I made one last glance towards my ‘home’. Something rang in my head as she began to drive away. It gave me a quick smile, and I let out a sigh. I would have to agree with Dorothy: “There’s no place like home.”

Friday, August 20, 2010

Cinder Life

Eliza Bergen hated life in the town, and she made sure everyone she met knew. She would often discuss the glamour and wonder of city life, in spite of the fact that she (nor anyone in the town) had ever visited the city. Her ideas of the brusque metropolitan life only came from the movies on the television. Everyday she would go to work at the general store and to each customer she would repeat 'This town is so dull. How can you stand it?'. Each day she would walk home from work in a frumpy dress with some sort of gaudy home made accessory to add some 'glamour'. With each paycheck she would save a little more everyday to go to the city. Her mind would race; She would quickly make her way up to the top of high society, and all the other city girl's would be jelous of her.

Minnie Lewis always thought Eliza was an odd girl. She didn't have the heart to tell her that there was no way to get to the city from the town. No busses ever passed, no cars from other towns travel through, and to get out of town she would have to get herself a car in the first place. Each day when Eliza came into work and she spouted her daily 'This town is so dull. How can you stand it?'Minnie would just give a hearty laugh and say 'Child, it is dull. But it's home.' With that Eliza would normally begin work as she did every day. She wished that Eliza realized what a secret blessing it was not to have the excitement of the city. There had never been a murder or unnatural death in the town's history, and there had only been two robberies. Minnie said this everyday and Eliza just brushed it off. Minnie cared about that girl.

Randy Michaels was in love with Eliza. He would do anything for her, but she never noticed him like that. Whenever they talked, Eliza would ignore any advances and talk about the city. He always offers to go with her, but she retorts and lets him know that the endeavor is her's alone. She would tell him about what she saw on the television the night before, and it always excited him. 'One day, I'm going to do something in this damn town, and no one will ever forget it.' Randy would always smile and encourage her. She never did it, but he didn't care. He loved that girl.

Constance Bergen was dying. Each day when her daughter came home she would beg her daughter to spend some time with her before she died. 'Some other time Mama.' Eliza would call up the stairs as she grabbed a coke from the fridge. Eliza would then leave and spend time with the boy down the road. A few hours later when she would come home Constance would call for her daughter. 'Mama, the movie's on soon. I'll get you your dinner, and afterwards i'm going to watch the movie. Her mother would then explain that she had a television in her room and they could watch tonight's movie together. 'You'll just ask questions mama.' Constance would then cry. She wanted that girl.

Eliza Bergen is about to die. Earlier today she decided to do something in the town that would never be forgotten. There was never an unnatural death in the town, but she would be the first. She had found some rope in the shed in her backyard, and tonight she will hang herself. Earlier in her room she decided not to write a note. They know I hate this place, so i don't even need to write a note. She will hang herself on the edge of the woods near the largest cornfield in town.

It's now night time. Eliza Bergen has her rope in the noose form, and she's hanging it on a tree. She's climbing its firm and wobbly branches. She places the loop around her neck and looks at the sky. It begins raining which she finds to be oddly poetic. She jumps: The loop tightens. She is gagging because her neck did not break. She is crying; she wants to yell but her trachea has now collapsed. Her writhing and swingins is slowing down. Her face is serene and all the tension in her body is now gone. That's the moment she died.

Before the end of the night the tree was struck by lightening and there was a small but managable fire in the cornfield. The next day everyone assumed that Eliza had finally run away, and they forgot her entirely.

Peter Bergen saw his sister die. He cannot speak and he is deaf. He cannot read or write. He saw her face in its final moments, and he smiled because for a few fleeting seconds she was happy. It was when her face was blank that his entire world died. Eliza had understood, and had been the only one to understand, that Peter was not stupid. She had taught him the alphabet a week before she committed suicide. Every night, alone in his room, he would cry silently. Four weeks later his mother died. He was alone in the world now. Though he loved his mother, it was Eliza that still plagued his thoughts. He cared for that girl. He loved that girl. He wanted that girl.

The day after his mother's funeral a social worker came and took him to the city. The boy who's entire world could only be found in the ashes of a gnarled tree lived his life hoping that one day he could truly find the happiness that his sister did not have.

Her name was Jessica, and she found the coals.