“Time’s up!” Gary roared. “Let’s see what effluvia you fulsome sycophants have constructed today!”
Gary sighed as he pushed his rolling chair back from the desk at the front of the community cooking classroom. So far, his new job at the YMCA had been an arrant failure. None of the heroin addicts had picked him to be on their basketball team; his run as Parcheesi champion had been cut tragically short by some twelve-year-old Lithuanian snot with a sense of self-entitlement and what Gary suspected were sleeves hiding pawns; the junkies had proceeded to make name their team “The Heroines” and the new mascot looked suspiciously like Gary in a very well-tailored prom dress; and now, most horrendous of all, none of Gary’s quite sententious puns and pontifications were being noticed by the cute blonde with a peg leg who would show up on Thursdays for Kitten Knittin’.
The cooking class he taught was Gary’s one respite from the horrors of work. He loved the farragoes and the gallimaufries — almost as much as hearing the dulcet tones of his own baritone, Gary chuckled to himself.
“What’s so funny?”
Gary surfaced from his reverie like a scuba diver with a crab caught in his breathing mask, and looked into the rheumy and cataract-filled eyes of Yuri, who appeared to have a substance that looked suspiciously like human hair mixed with earwax in his wok. Gary felt the bends set in.
“Nothing, Yuri. Good work on your orange chicken.”
This cadre currently passing through his cooking class was unquestionably the worst thing that had happened to Gary in his new job. None of the twenty-seven ragged looking men could cook worth a damn, and they were constantly bickering over ingredients, utensils, even water bottles that smelled suspiciously like fermented potatoes. All of Gary’s favorite recipes — grape ape, pear bear, cinnamon simian — had seemed to fail utterly at piquing their interest.
A deafening explosion sounded from the other side of the cramped room, and large knife thudded into the wall three inches from Gary’s rather soft and melon-like head.
“For the last time, Nikolai!” Gary screamed, not taking his eyes from Yuri’s marshy excuse for a gaze. “WE DO NOT USE PLASTIC EXPLOSIVES IN THE PFEFFERNÜSSE!”
Gary sighed again. Yuri smiled.
“What’s so funny?” Gary asked, and turned to face his froward flock of fledgling sous-chefs.
But there facing him was not the tattered mob he expected, but a tattered mob he knew only too well. “The Posse of Pugnacious Plebeians‽” he interrobanged, and let out a marvelous high F sharp of a shriek. Whirling around with the grace of a thoroughly intoxicated figure skater in order to grab Yuri and use him as a human shield/battering ram, Gary found his face rather impolitely introduced to the bottom of his own wok, an odious Yuri connected to the other side.
“Look, you imperious epicurean,” Nikolai said as he walked over to Gary, who for the time being firmly believed he was reenacting the entirety of “The Taming of the Shrew” alone for the Duke of Luxembourg, “that’s for looking better than me in a prom dress.”