Friday, 18 January 2019

Two Food Groups - Flash Fiction

I sliced a segment from the onion and placed it into the frying pan to test the temperature of the oil. On contact, the oil spat at me like a cat with claws drawn and raked my exposed skin. The flesh instantly bubbled up and I went to the sink to mollify it. When I returned to the frying pan after my involuntary ablutions, the onion was turning from caramelised brown to charred black. I was sorrowful that my neglect had engendered its own contusion spectrum of burn. I extinguished the gas and tried to scrape the segment with the spatula. It took some considerable effort to detach its melted glutinous tendrils and I stared at the ghostly black impression of where it had lain on the anodised steel. A sooty shroud intaglio imprinted on the skillet. 

In time my skin repaired and renewed itself smooth and pink once again. In its incipient stages, the blister had filled with the fluid detritus of the damaged skin and I panicked at the uncanny recreation of the trapped water beneath the oil droplets that had precipitated this calamity in the first place. However, the onion, which out of guilt at the abortive ruination of one of its members, I had kept in the fridge, never did regrow and renew itself, but merely shrivelled and discoloured. Through a bruised yellow, to a caramelised brown. I threw it away before it reached the black obsidian hue of immolation. 


As the logging industry drives the local fauna into further and further shrinking acreages of forest, so governmental legislation herded smokers into ever smaller zones. And while we were relatively unassailed and unsullied by fuming fugs in our places of work and leisure, the transition between the two arenas was choked and befogged by the concentrated tobacco plumes bookending both termini of any journey. Huddled in the doorways of offices and public houses, where once they occupied snug bar and hunkered in basement bunker nicotine yellow smoking rooms. 

But a new plague had broken upon the city as the technology moved on apace. The streets themselves were now vaporous with exhalations from portable mini-chimneys or urbanised sylvan pipes. Now while it’s true these were only harmless steam droplets emanating from vaping, they were from ersatz infusions drawn from the fruit food group and thus far from benign. So one is blithely perambulating along an arcadian avenue devoted to the atelier and the artist studio, when one is artificially pitched headlong into a synthetic orchard through the unhappy coincidence of walking in the wake of one respiring the scent of apples or cherries. Perhaps instead you are determinedly tromping the concrete pavement of the thoroughfare, composing in your mind the pitch to put across at an imminent sales meeting, when you are thrust into the factitious citric or olive grove through the effluential pestilential emission mimicking the action of car exhausts, as they too profane the air you locomote through. So now one of my intended set of destinations, that of restaurants and other eating places, is now tainted by the fact that my nostrils have already tasted the desert course before I have even sat down to the hors-d’oeuvres. 

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