A NOISE IN MY KITCHEN

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Short story just published by RAC Magazine.

It started two weeks ago; I bought Mastering the Art of French Cooking at the used bookstore for $3.  In my innocence, I flipped through the pages and scanned a couple recipes.  The book was beyond my palate, so I closed the cover and removed it to my collection. I am the kind of person who buys wine by the box, and seldom uses it for gravy. I pick and spit delicate truffles, with no regard for rarity or price; a mushroom is a mushroom. That evening I settled into my chair for television and an Aunt Jemima breakfast sandwich with a slice of reheated Red Baron pizza, microwaved for an impromptu feast.

Later in the night as I slept, there was a high-pitched trill emanating from the kitchen.  I convinced myself it was a passing train although I don’t live near any tracks. I roll with a shiver and search for dreams.  Hours later the pots began to rattle and tattle, the pans shifted and clanked.  I had a sudden urge to braise beef bones into a clear broth and to eat fishes and snails gathered from the seas far from home. I arose, and wrapped in false bravado I searched.  Finding nothing, I went back to bed for a fretful toss and turn until dawn, blaming the dynamic dinner whose crusts and wrappers still occupied my trash.

Each night since, I search for slumber with a pounding heart and ears probing a tentative silence. Once I find sleep, there is a noise in my kitchen, followed with an enticing aroma I can’t identify. After a fortnight of fear and anticipation, I gave up my search, accepting I can never catch the hazy alchemist who prowls my kitchen. 

At daybreak, the constant clanking stops and I nap.  When I finally struggle forth, I discover a sink full of dishes and a large metal spoon resting near the stove evidence of the nocturnal intrusions.  Julia Child haunts my kitchen. She quietly judges me during the day and prowls at night.  I accept responsibility for buying the book and dismissing her lessons.  Out of desperation, I remove it from the shelves and return it to the kitchen counter where it belongs.  I open to a page, dust off my ramekins and encounter herbed baked eggs with thyme infused baguettes.

Today I feast, tonight we rest.

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