The Bouillabaisse Kid.

by Serge

Hey. Welcome to Stegosaurus. You got a reservation I hope, because we're booked up 19 months in advance.

Over at the grill, we're frying up some cupcakes. We're frying up some cupcakes and Chef Violet just tossed in some broccoli so it looks like we're frying up some of that too. Mini-cans of soup are zipping through the air. Chef Violet likes to throw stuff around a little before she cooks it; she likes to wing it against a wall, to see if it has what it takes to get thrown in her pot. I scramble around the kitchen unit trying to keep up with her, but I can't lie to you: it's tough, man.

One second I'm taking some crab out of the washing machine, for our stew, I guess/ then the next second she's trying to get me to fillet a stegosaurus so we can bake its short ribs with what appears to be a slice of orange and a semi-flattened half-gallon of milk. I don't ask questions. There's no time for inquiry, for learning her secrets. She looks at you at the beginning of the service, just once, with serious eyes that bitch slap your cheeks a little bit. It's a glare, really. A look of big mistrust; little eyeballs sizzling a laser hole in my forehead saying: you fat bastard: you know nothing of the Parisian school , of perfect reductions, of how the skin of the sublime chicken should snap between your teeth.

She just grabs a hold of her wooden spoon and looks deeply into my soul, four seconds tops; "You have force-fed me fatty inbred turkey nuggets! And ketchup! Since the day I was born!"

I plea with my eyes! Let me make it up to you, Jolly Rancher!

"Step aside, Papa! Let me cook my Foods of Love for the World!"


By now, of course, I'm in a spin/a daze. What the hell is happening?

Chef Violet moves to her sink and pulls out some bright green chili peppers and tosses them in the air so that they land down on the ground with some hot dogs and a goat with its eyeballs open that she has laid out down there. Then, before I can try and be of any kind of pathetic help at all, she just reaches her little fingers down, slinks them around around an edge, and just yanks out the whole damn sink basin and hurls it backwards with an elegant motion: as if that sink were the bane of her very existence and now we could get on with the show.

That costs money, you know?, I say to her. But, nothing.

I move out of tornado alley and try and prepare some wine glasses and a tea kettle on the little table. Still, no sooner have I started pouring out a wonderful Chateau Invisibiliti 1922, when Chef Violet comes  Sasquatching through my set-up: swinging a lion in one hand and a bushel of grapes in the other, talking some crazy kitchen smack, and sending my glasses and goblets in six different directions. I try and pick them up and say something mildly rude but it doesn't matter because she isn't listening to me, she's preparing her legendary bouillabaisse. She slams the head of some kind of a brown fish against the side of the fridge until she's pretty sure it's dead and then she flips it into her big red pot with a bright orange carrot, the hot red crab, and some fried chicken legs.

I attempt to hand her a glass of the wine I managed to salvage. I figure, hey, these big time chefs, they could use a little sandpaper here and there, to smooth out the grit. She takes the glass, looks at it. A long second passes.

Maybe I done good, huh chef? That's what my face says. I'm one of the weaker Muppets, all jammed up against King Kermit in the crowd.

She talks to the wine.

She speaks to the vino.

Fucking genius, I think. Pure genius. Talk to the reds. Encourage them to shine tonight. Who knows who will be out there/ what critics dine among us this evening?

Wine Whisperer!

I stare in awe as she sweet talks the wine then scolds it, all in one breath.

She drops it on the ground without touching it to her lips or dripping it in her magic pot.

My heart thuds down on to the crummy floorboards in my guts; an old stripper dies on the pole.

I watch as Chef Violet flings a fried cupcake into the microwave, slams the door shut, hits some buttons, takes it out again, and drops it straight into the hole where her sink used to be. She cackles at her burners and aims her wood spoon at the boiling crab like Jesse James. I ease her a hard plastic tart. She pings it off the counter top so that it flies off across the kitchen. She speaks in tongues at the brown fish.

She hits the spoon against the faucet and puts a whole eggplant into the dishwasher.

I hand her a cabbage and an ice cream cone.

She plops them into her percolating broth.

I get all giddy.

At three-thirty on a weekday afternoon, a two year old takes plastic food from me and I light up like a  pickle jar of headlights.