Out of breath, he dropped both arms to his side, still gripping the knife in his left hand.
All motion ceased. Ten pairs of eyes focused on his white clad form. A few noted the tilt of his toque, set aslant by the force of his tirade. Most flicked their gaze between the knife, and his face. The sharp-eyed observers tracked the red rash of his prominent cheekbones, watched it subside to pink. These same observers silently cheered as the blood flow returned to his knuckles, the white replaced by a healthy glow. The deep slashes of his forehead smoothed. Once again they recognized the handsome, boyish, wanna-be food TV star they had all admired.
For his part, Dan wondered what they’d do with that footage. Certainly he’d be booted off the show. Though, on second thought, tirades and potty mouth have become the hallmark of Gordon Ramsey’s fame. Television viewers tuned in to watch the drama, didn’t they? And Dan’s was totally unscripted. He was a natural. He would be the next Anthony Bourdain. Finally, he could escape the kitchen, and see the world.
Dan sucked in a deep breath. He looked around. He might be getting ahead of himself. Was that fear on the face of his sous chef? Did the camera crew believe he might wield that knife? He had only brandished it for effect. To get his point across. What was his point? Truth in reality? Did he actually say, or shout, truth be told, that he would not fake a story about his mother, or his brother, or anyone else having cancer, simply to arouse emotion in the viewer? Inject a little pathos one of them had suggested. Dan thought that’s what had sent him over the edge. And then wondered if he fully understood the definition of pathos.
Yet, here he was on the verge of tears. Roll the camera, my friends, and you’ll have your emotion. He had no control over the footage. He could not dictate what they aired. He imagined all the audible gasps from the househusbands at home bouncing babies on their knees as he raised the knife in his left hand, and proclaimed his commitment to truth in reality shows. Like one of Shakespeare’s fools!
No one had yet uttered a word. The three judges stared, openmouthed. Though he would have preferred a different approach he finally had the beautiful, celebrated chef’s complete attention. He allowed himself to imagine her long, dark tresses like a waterfall flowing through his fingers as they lay naked in a bed amid pristine white sheets.
He was not only getting ahead of himself, he was fully immersed in the realm of fantasy, or science fiction, and then he wondered what was their defining difference? Unicorns versus aliens? No matter. No celebrated chef of either gender was about to lie naked with him on crisp sheets. Not after his deft display of how to come storming into crazy town.
Dan braced himself as the top dog, the showrunner, approached him. Carefully, in full view of his audience, he placed the 10-inch chef’s knife on the stainless steel table. Then, he reached to his waist, began to untie the skinny strings of his long white apron. He flinched when the show’s creator reached his side.
“That was some display, Dan.” The man glad-handed him, clapped him on the back. Dan pitched forward, losing his balance, grabbed for the edge of the table, and couldn’t help but notice all the fingerprints on the steel surface.
“Thank you?” Dan asked.
Astonishingly, the boss began to applaud. He looked around, nodded to the crew, encouraging the others to put their hands together. As the applause blossomed, the big man leaned in to Dan, and whispered, “You’re a shoe-in for the next big thing, Dan. Stick with me, I’ll make you a star. You’re going to be the next Guy Fieri.”
Out of the corner of his eye Dan sneaked a glance at the beautiful, celebrated chef. Was she smiling at him, or at someone just behind him? To make certain Dan turned around. There was no one there.
The beautiful, celebrated chef flashed her perfect teeth. And was that a wink, or did a speck of dust enter her eye at that precise moment? Or maybe Dan was getting ahead of himself.
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