EIGHTY, DECEMBER 1, 2002
(Copyright © 2002 The Blacklisted Journalist)
Wolf sat in the kitchen hunched over a Great Dane-sized
bowl of Chex. Maybe if he ignored the small boy's husky voice it would go away.
The whole thing was getting of out of hand.
Gone were the days when he could have an entire box of cereal and a
half-gallon of milk in peace.
know you're in there."
The boy had a
wide-awake, teasing voice. He sounded as if he had
waiting up with bright eyes for the entire night.
Max," Wolf growled. "Yes, Max, I'm in here.
Yes, I am eating the
night , Max."
shouting for?" Max was at his elbow in the bright kitchen.
was something precocious about the kid. Wolf couldn't
remember ever having been that smart. Or awake.
that could be ready and hot
the touch of a button
your mother up?" Wolf kept
munching. The kid looked like he was
ready to play basketball or run laps or something. He looked positively
up for anything.
"Nah," she's been snoring since 1:25
a.m.," said the kid, who'd been
off the digital clock and liked to be precise.
hungry?" The irony of Wolf's
life. All night long, cooking for other
people then come home ready to flake out and he's got
hungry beams set on his face.
said the kid, "I could use a little something. Just a snackaroo."
yeah." Wolf put his soggifying
bowl of cereal aside and told the
There were a
lot of great things in the freezer. The kid's mother said
was never anything real to eat in the house, but what did she call
all this stuff? Those great burgers, complete with buns, just zap 'em and
you had a satisfying munch. Or what about that fresh day-glo colored can
of cheese whiz? It cheered Wolf up just looking at it. After he did a little
shopping for the restaurant yesterday, he'd done the shopping for his
house. Blew almost $200 on groceries. Skippy smooth peanut butter, nice
soft white bread, Orange crush soda, Hellman's mayonnaise, frozen
burritos, fish sticks shaped like stars and planets and all kinds of fun,
nutritious, delicious entrees and side dishes that could be ready and hot at
the touch of a button.
He slipped some
frozen mini-pizzas into the zapper for the kid. The kidís
eyes were lit up with admiration. It was always like this. At the restaurant,
there were customers who nearly wept over Wolf's famous combinations of
textures and tastes, melodies for the mouth, as one local paper said. The
sweet-tart taste of beet might spike the pink, soft flesh of baby salmon,
penetrating the cracks of a crunchy, nut crust, piercing the fish while
grounding the oceanic vibe with the rootedness of roots, almost like
Macrobiotics. Even his salads were
poetic---wild grasses, a
hint of citrus, the dusky, ochre taste of marinated hearts of palm and faintly,
in the far distance, a high note of mint.
Wolf set the frozen pizzas in front of the kid and poured him a glass of
said the kid, patting the chef on his arm, "You know what I like."
It was always
like this---the adulation, the compliments, the contented
sighs of someone's soul hunger being satisfied. And yet, coming from the
it was different. Wolf wasn't sure
why, but he suddenly felt happy to
just be sitting there in the midnight kitchen, the two of them sat
companionably silent, eating their snacks, thinking only of the Twinkies that
would make the meal complete. ##
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