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What the Hell? Someone On Floor Cooking Steak au Poivre Again


Photo by Tim Pierce / CC BY 2.0

What is that succulent scent wafting through the hallowed halls of Harnwell? God damn it. Is that steak au poivre? Damn it! That’s unmistakable. That guy across the hallway is making steak for the fifth time this week. Every single night, man. Every single night I go to sleep with that distinctive smell on my nostrils, and every single night I have this recurring dream: my eyes open, I find myself adjacent to a Parisian boulevard, sipping a fine apéritif, mulling it over in anticipation of my first bite into the heralded main course: a feast truly fit for a king, savory motes of bovine flesh floating over the undertones of a fine peppercorn crust, an oasis for my impoverished taste buds; I watch the sun glide past the abutments of the Arc de Triomphe, descending, lightly, as if pulled by string, through the glowing peephole that is my imagination. But as dawn breaks, the only solace to my deep-set carnivorous desires is the tough, economically-calculated gristle of a Big Mac. Dear Lord! How did it come to this? Christ, how did it come to this? I’m literally sitting here, a captive in my own dorm, as that kid across the aisle is living it up with his haute cuisine and sous vide, while I have to scrounge up whatever I can from last night’s McDonald’s misadventure. How excellent! I feel nauseous. Oh, sorry — I meant to say I feel nauseated — ah, there it is! There it is again. The smell of simmered heavy cream, delicate cognac, added salt to taste! An experience so Sisypheanously out of my reach, through barriers of drywall, across the cool expanse, aromatic particulate crossing the gap between rooms, infiltrating my olfactory factory, electrical impulses triggering, scattering electromotive forces like billiards, hardy neurotransmitters crossing the gaps between cell bodies, these signals of decadence finally achieving a perfect quincunx at my mind’s eye! Holy moly guacamole, I need that steak! I’m slobbering like mad over here: awooooooga! Somebody throw me a bone, preferably one with some damn meat on it! What will it cost? (A steep price, I’m sure of it.) When will it end? (No time in the foreseeable future.) How can I still smell that damn steak days after it’s already been devoured, savored, enjoyed, relished, and fancied? (The window is broken; it can’t be opened.) Why does it persist into my dreams, and why does it persist into my nightmares? (The A/C is broken; air can’t be circulated.) Why has it come to define my life? (The lights in the dorm are broken; nothing can be seen.) Yes, yes, an infernal dance for the culinarily snubbed seems fitting. Doesn’t it? (It does.) It’s settled then. I’ll do it while my limbs still wield the potential for movement! I’ll do it as the days turn to years! I’ll do it so long as my tongue still hungers for the taste of life! I will dance! Dance, you tragic clown, dance!