I didn’t even notice when Alex walked in some time later, absorbed as I was in solving the crossword, so I almost fell off my chair when his low growl brought me back to reality.
“What sort of strange experiment is this?” he was standing next to the cooker, pointing an accusatory finger at my simmering creation, his eyebrows creased severely in the middle.
“Lunch,” I tossed back flatly.
“I was afraid you’d say that. Why didn’t you tell me you really can’t cook?”
“Well I tried, you didn’t seem to be listening,” I shrugged .
“But I counted on you knowing the basics, at least. I didn’t expect you to be totally incapable. How’s that even possible, anyway? You’re a girl, for cryin’ out loud!”
“Don’t act like such a drama queen. It’s not my fault you got the wrong end of the stick. Besides, take a look at it, how bad do you think it could be?”
Unfortunately, the term ‘bad’ took on a whole new dimension a little later when I found myself sitting at the kitchen table, examining the food on my plate. The withered, lifeless ghosts of vegetables floated up to the surface, then disappeared again into the depths of the steaming red gloop, which gave off an odor something like grampa’s old socks. Not to mention the huge, shriveled pink beast that lurked somewhere deep beneath the surface.
I stole a glance at Alex, who was holding his spoon in front of his face, a look of disbelief in his eyes as he stared down at the burnt offering before him. Finally, he spooned up some of the liquid and looked both disgusted and determined as he thrust it into his mouth.
”And?” I asked.
“Mmmm… I’ve never tasted anything more unusual. You have to try it.”
Arching my eyebrows in surprise, I followed his example and dipped my spoon into the bowl, and then brought it up to my lips. The taste was something like the bottom of a hen coop.