Wednesday, May 10, 2006

From Supercell Anemia (a novel)
Chapter “La Crème de la Récolte”
by Duncan Barlow

Although Gilles does not really like eggs, he is scared of angering the chef. Charlie collects some napkins and silverware and walks outside to sit at one of the tables in the cul-de-sac. Gilles stays to collect the food and pay the bill. The pirate straps a strange mechanical device over his nub. It looks like the base pirate’s hook, a black metal semicircle. He grabs a beater, slips it into the dark nub machine, and clicks a small switch on the side. The silver whisk whirls and the man dips the contraption into a stainless steel bowl. After several minutes, he clicks off the power tool and removes the mixer from his arm.
He walks to the back, to a strange makeshift-frying slab; he pulls an egg from a yellow styrofoam container, and cracks it over the edge of a blue glass bowl. Gilles shoves his hands into his pockets and feels the tiny balls he stole from Dr. Moore. He rubs them gently, rolling them between his fingertips, still unsure why the doctor held onto them.
The baker, unsatisfied with the shape of Charlie’s cooked egg, curses in French, and tosses it into the trash. He cracks another egg and drips it onto the griddle; it sizzles and the room fills with its sulfuric smell. Gilles looks out the window to make sure that Charlie is not watching and slowly inches an oval out of his pocket. He holds it before his eye and looks through it; he sees the chef, tiny and inverted. The chef curses again and grabs another egg out of the box. As he raises it over his head and says something to it in French, it lines up perfectly with the ball in Gilles’ hand.
Gilles pulls his hand down and lets the sphere roll into the center of his palm. The muscles in his abdomen tighten and he feels a rumble in the top of his back. Reaching into his breast pocket to grab a copper strip, he drops the translucent pellet onto the floor and it rolls beneath the counter. He wipes the metal clean and slips it into his mouth. Gilles looks to the chef, who has now inserted a spatula into his nub machine and is putting Charlie’s eggs onto a plate.
The chef brings the plates to Gilles and he pays for them as he carefully slips his left foot beneath the counter, rolls the ball back towards himself, and bends to pick it up. He walks through the door and Charlie stands to grab her plate from him.


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