Mulligatawny

by Garrett Ashley

The sous-chefs resolve to spit in the mulligatawny. The head chef finds them spitting and goes out to the floor and sees why they’re spitting and comes back to the kitchen and spits in the mulligatawny. The owner arrives. He meets the patron who ordered mulligatawny. He walks to the kitchen and spits in the four quart pot full of mulligatawny. The manager doesn’t know the pot’s already full of spit. The patron’s wife comes to the back, and asks if she may see the mulligatawny.

She leans over the pot and spits.

The sous-chefs and head chef and manager watch the patron’s wife return to her seat. The patron unfolds a napkin (the fork and spoon rattling across the table) and tucks it into his thick, red plaid shirt. He licks his lips. When the patron asks his wife where she had gone, she tells him the bathroom. The manager returns to the office. The sous-chefs and head chef remain at the window, watching. The patron’s wife receives her bread. She nibbles. The patron pats her knee beneath the table. He sniffs his bread. He pats her leg. And sniffs. The sous-chefs leave. The head chef watches through the window. The patron’s wife receives her Chicken Parmesan. She tastes. The patron receives his spit-mulligatawny. He sips.

“It is delicious,” he says. He pats his wife’s leg again.

She watches unconsciously. The head chef watches. The patron’s wife reaches over with a spoon, dips it into the mulligatawny, and tastes some herself.

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Garrett Ashley eats at least four meals a day because he’s underweight.
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