The Exotic Dish

Ronia was pretty sure she was eating human flesh. She dabbed at the rolled-up hunk of meat that looked like a boneless wrist with barbecue sauce on it. She changed forks and speared her salad, but still couldn’t bring it to her mouth.

It smelled like meat. Not any particular kind, but meat. What would human meat smell like, she wondered. She couldn’t think of an animal that was close to a human that she’d eaten. She recalled the line “The closest thing to the flesh of a man is the flesh of a pig” from Gangs of New York. Did the meat smell like ham? Or bacon? Certainly not bacon… Pork? Hmm.

She asked for another menu, “To get an idea of the desserts.” The smiling waiter brought her one and she had another look at what she ordered.

“Brontesquilla.” She imagined a brontosaurus steak from Flintstones. What was brontesquilla? Was that French? None of the other items were French. Why oh why did she always insist on trying new things? Why didn’t she go for the chicken strips?

Surreptitiously she removed her phone and googled the word. No results relating to meat. “Did you mean brown tequila?” Google asked.

Was it misspelled? She searched, “Brontesquilla meat”. Nope. “Brontesquilla Moon Night Restaurant”. Nothing. “Moon Night Restaurant reviews”.

“Food is great!” “Took so long for our order.” “Wine selection okay.” “Wouldn’t recommend.” “Best barbecue joint in town.” “Pricey but good.”

Nothing useful. She looked down at the brontesquilla. It looked like a miniature skin-coloured rolled-up sleeping bag. Uncannily human. But it couldn’t have been. Right? Was it just a trick of the light that it looked that way? She moved it around on her plate. Didn’t help. Her stomach was growling, either from disgust or hunger or maybe from both.

She didn’t want to sound stupid by asking. But eventually she couldn’t help it.

“How did you pronounce this?” she asked.

“Pronounce what?” the waiter asked, smile smile.

She pointed with her fork.

“Bront-esk-keel-a.”

“Oh.” But what’s it made of? Eel? It didn’t look like eel…

The waiter smiled and began to walk away.

“What’s in it?” Ronia blurted.

Pardon?”

“What, uh. Brontesquilla is, like, pig?”

The waiter laughed, wagging his finger at Ronia in a “You old rascal” kind of way. Then he left.

That meant it was, right? Or…

More tummy rumbling. It did kind of look good. And it was expensive as hell. There was no way she would push away expensive exotic food on any other occasion.

She hoisted her knife and fork and gingerly punctured the flesh of the brontesquilla. The barbecue sauce, disturbingly red against the tan-pink flesh of the meat, dribbled down inside the carved slice. She separated a chunk of it from the whole. It dribbled red as she lifted it. She could smell that unfamiliar smell as it neared her nose. What was it?

It squished between her teeth. Again. The sauce rolled around her tongue, tingling it. Squish. Squish. Swallow.

It was the most delicious thing she’d ever eaten. This was why she always ordered the exotic stuff, no matter how afraid she was of it. She smiled to the waiter when she caught his eye. He smiled back. Oh how he smiled.

 

 


 

 

 

Day 280’s three random writing prompt categories were, “Trick of the light,” “Cannibalism,” and, “Best example.”

This story is basically Green Eggs and Ham, right? I mean, same idea?

– H.

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