Kitchens can be very lonely places. That is what I thought sitting at the table staring at a single pan of lentils steaming away on the heat. Outside it was dark, and inside it was bare and empty. Now and again water would foam up over the pan and roll down the side sizzling into the flames. God, has any man in history ever been quite as lonely as this? I poured myself a coffee cup of wine, popped another tranquillizer in my mouth and waited for something to emerge from time.
Verity should have been here 27 minutes ago. 9.00pm she said and now it was 3 minutes before half past. I picked up a fork and ran it under my nose. It smelled of dog's breath. I swapped it for the one opposite and peered down into an anaemic plate. It was the first time in weeks I had set the table and it kinda reminded me of something I had forgot. Like my memory had been jogged by a police reconstruction of the crime. No matter, the doorbell would ring soon and Verity would be here spilling out the good news. I tried to let that thought excite me, but what could she possibly have to say that'd make things better? Instead I found myself wishing that John would wander down the hall in his favourite white tennis socks and hard-on. Outside of that happening, I'm not quite sure how good any other news could be.
As the time ticked on I sat listening to bubbling water and going over The Flaming Chef's words in my head:
“pick through the dry lentils... cover by a few inches with vegetable stock... Simmer for twenty minutes with a little minced onion, a spoonful of canned, diced tomato and a splash of dry white wine. Don't add the salt until the end - salt at the beginning will make the lentils tough!”
Well, I had done all that, but what does The Flaming Chef say about what to do when your guest is three hours late, the lentils have boiled dry and you're sitting there in a diazepam stupor hoping that Elvis Costello will wander naked down the hallway? What's his advice then? Because when I next came properly to that's the position I was in.
“Fuck this shit” I screamed, knocking the clock off the wall. With 'just gone midnight' shattered on the floor, I closed the gas and dumped the saucepan in the bin. The cheap ass Morrison's Jam sponge, that was to be our secret dessert, I scraped out the window for the cats. Tonight would be no different from the rest... hours of terrible insomnia buried beneath a mountain of filthy blankets. I killed the lights and in absolute darkness stumbled down the hall. That's when the phone rang...