A bittersweet post – this is the last instalment of my dream-inspired short story about Jason, a chef with the ability to time travel. ‘Behind-the-scenes’ type posts to follow, plus lots of other writings and ramblings. 🙂
In another room, Miles and Weston were stage-whispering dramatic phrases and rhetorical questions to each other, like “but has she got what it takes?” And ”is his talent going to burn out?” – lots of meaningless cathchphrases for the cameras’ benefit. But behind the facade, they already knew exactly which two contestants were going through to the next round.
It was Miles’ job to inform the director who they had chosen to qualify, and he approved the choices. The contestants were then ushered back into the studio, where they stood awkwardly in a crooked line in front of the judges, trying not to look anyone in the eye.
The air was thick with nerves and the smell of washing-up liquid.
Jason stuck his tongue out the corner of his mouth to catch a bead of sweat.
“We are now going to announce who has qualified for the next round, and who we are sending home,” Miles said gravely.
“Jackie, Luke, please step forward,” Weston said, “Jackie, you have a great palette, but no eye for presentation. You’re going home, I’m sorry.” Jackie bowed her head, managed a meek smile, and stepped back. “Luke, you showed a lot of promise, but I’m afraid you’re not going through to the next round either.” Luke burst into tears, much to everyone’s surprise, and had to be dragged back by Jason and Sylvia. The director decided to leave the scene in the final cut because it was, “Funny”.
“Stephen, please step forward. We admire your love of the classics, with a twist. You might be qualifying.”
Jason gasped. Stephen, qualifying, really?!
“Sylvia, your flavour combinations were very brave, but too outlandish for us. You’re not going through.”
Angela, Jason and Stephen looked at each other nervously. They were the final three!
“So, half gone, one more to go,” Miles said. “Now then, Angela, we were concerned about you at the start of the competition but then we tried your dish, and we think you have a lot of talent, which we want to see! Angela… congratulations, you’re going through!”
“Whoo-ee!” Angela cried, twirling on the spot and throwing her arms in the air maniacally. The judges shared a look. The truth of the matter was, they’d only put her through to avoid being cursed. Miles was very superstitious… and cowardly.
“And now we come to Jason. Jason, your Beef Wellington blew us away. There’s no doubt about it: you are going through! Congratulations!”
Jason jumped for joy and ran to embrace the judges while Stephen swore, ripped off his apron and stomped on it before leaving the room.
“Congratulations, Jason and Angela!”
“Thank you!” they chorused.
“Right, let’s get the cameras off and some champagne out to celebrate,” Weston declared to a lot of cheering.
Jason and Angela simply stood there grinning… until Weston returned with a bottle in each hand. “Erm,” he said, and his tone sent shivers down Jason’s spine. “Erm, there’s something weird going on in the wine fridge.”
“What do you mean?” Miles asked.
Weston swiveled the bottles to reveal their labels. “There are, like, typos on all the bottles!” True enough, one bottle declared that the contents were from 1817, the other from 2044.
Jason and Angela gulped.
Then they both realised that the other person was as jumpy as them.
“Do you know something about me?” Jason asked Angela.
“Do you know something about me?” Angela retorted.
Jason narrowed his eyes at her. Angela tutted.
“While you were gallivanting around saving your beef, I was here saving your bacon!”
“Yeah, well, you can’t fix this with a fake gas leak!”
“Does anyone know anything about this?” Miles asked. He was trying to convince himself that it was a silly prank but there was a tremble in his voice.
“Ha, so, funny story…!” Jason began, and he closed his eyes. Tight.
Who wants a sequel?! What was your favourite and least favourite part? Tell me in the comments 🙂