This is a continuation from Pavarinni’s last story. To read the first installment, click here.
To all of my fans and those still warming up, but soon-to-be fans nonetheless, my heartfelt appreciation. And to those who dislike me… those who find me uninteresting: we can only pray that they donʼt wake up one fine morning to find themselves equally uninteresting. Just as those who judge me to be glib find out they have more in common with me than they originally thought. :} (A nod to the manly one for use of his smiley.)
And now let the tale begin.
Arthurʼs face was set like stone. There were murmurings around the table but the party was mostly shrouded in silence. We were waiting for Ruber to bring out the first course.
Schwarz, sitting to my left, was cooing to himself evidently trying to keep his mind occupied and licking his fork in a rather disgusting way.
I gave him a deprecating look.
“What dude? This forkʼs tasty.”
Arthur was staring in disbelief.
Finally, he could take no more. He drew Excalibur from its sheath, behind his chair, and rested it on the table pointing in the general direction of Schwarz.
“Quit it now or Iʼll personally run you through.”
At this moment, there was a rustling from Ruberʼs tents and Ruber himself along with his servers were soon making their way towards the table carrying sizable platters. Ruber sat his platter on a tray stand.
“Here we go, Art. The first course, Pumpkin Soup.”
Rows of little white bowls, filled with a thick blackish broth, resided smugly and terribly on each platter. And one by one, these white bowls began a foray upon our table.
After everybody had received a white bowl, Ruber said something to the effect of bon appétit and departed to finish preparing the second course.
Now, I believe it is a wise resolve never to partake in any soup or beverage that has not ceased to bubble even after it has cooled. And Ruberʼs soup was served ice-cold. The thick dark broth heaved and spat in such a way that suggested a single misfortunate organism was trapped at the bottom of each soup bowl struggling for breath. Beyond this cause for repulsion, there was something long and thin floating just beneath the surface of my particular serving which was faintly purple in complexion.
I turned to Schwarz. “Are you going to…?”
I should have spared the question for Schwarz had already raised the bowl to his lips, inclined his neck back as far as he could, and was now gulping the dreadful substance down his throat. I gasped and took a quick look around the table. Not another had touched their soup, but were either regarding it with a weary eye or staring at the spectacle of Schwarz with distaste and disbelief.
Schwarz reached the bottom of his bowl.
“Whoooaaa!!” he screamed. “That was something else–tell you what! That was…”
“Schwarz,” I interrupted. “Seeing how much you enjoyed yours, I beg you to do me the honor of having mine.” I gently slid the soup bowl across the table.
It didnʼt take much prodding. Schwarz took the bowl and drained the contents.
Schwarz screamed as if gasping for air.
I regarded the neighbor to my right with a meaningful glance and nodded in the direction of Schwarz.
“By all means,” he said and slid his bowl over to me. I, in turn, lifted it and handed it to Schwarz.
But Schwarz did not disappoint.
He repeated it a third time.
I noticed his eyes were bloodshot at this point and his cheeks were red. I suppose the soup was spicy.
Schwarz didnʼt look overly interested in partaking of any more pumpkin soup but by now, a mass migration of little white bowls had taken place. And Schwarz no longer a master of his actions (if he ever has been) began to mindlessly guzzle bowl after bowl after bowl.
By the tenth bowl, his face was turning purple and by the fifteenth, he was crying. After this flurry of mechanical deglutition and lacrimation had finally ceased and every soup bowl was empty, Schwarz slipped from his seat to the ground under the table with a groan and a thud.
Though the spectacle had been extremely entertaining and sportive, every spectator was incredulous and a bit green. Unspoken but unanimously, we left him where he lie.