Marie Sexton started a bit of blog hopping with snarky lines, and heh, those have been fun. Since Jude Marshall’s middle name is Snark, of course I had to post a little sample of his story. This is from Prep Work, my new story at Dreamspinner.
I was desperate to put something in my mouth with no audience watching. Nobody but me would know what the sip from the glass was, no one else was entitled to an opinion of the contents of my plate, no one was there to tell me, “Have another bite. Do it again.”
No camera tracked every bite from plate to palate tonight; I could not take another request for a do-over of some tidbit that only starving lunatics would willingly put in their mouths. Maybe Renfield wanted another taste of the morsels I was expected to eat until Sam the Sadist and Marcie the Monster were satisfied that the light values and the grotesquerie of my meal were properly captured on film, but I did not. I wanted good, honest lager, poured with just the right amount of foam on the head, and a snack of something that the English-speaking world recognized as bread with a bit of cheese that didn’t smell like dead men’s feet. I wanted to chase it with a pickle that looked like it began life in a garden, not the bottom end of a cave in ancient Gondwanaland. And damn it, no one was going to take pictures of it going into my mouth. I would chew in privacy for what might be the first time in weeks.
I sounded ungrateful, didn’t I? I had the best job in the world—I went from continent to continent eating my way through the best cuisine in the neighborhood, telling the camera and therefore the folks down home how delicious it all was. Or how stomach turning. Or how the food in Parma, Italy stacked up to the same dish served at Rosie’s Diner in Parma, Ohio. I’ve been from Phoenix, Arizona way past Tahoma, to Bombay, to the back-ass of beyond Thailand and Kenya, munching my way through whatever the locals offered me. Sometimes I thought they were having way too much fun at my expense. Sometimes they’d fight me for what was on the plate. Sometimes I felt like an unmitigated ass for taking even a mouthful away from people who had to work too fucking hard to collect enough food for family groups who were way too kind about taking in the ugly American who couldn’t even say “thank you” properly in their language. I always worried about it coming out as the local variant of “fuck your mother.” I wasn’t much of a linguist.