Monday, October 6, 2014


He figured he could get away with it. Confident Louie wouldn’t be back for at least an hour, Gil had the bowls out and was stirring the batter when Louie slammed into the kitchen of Rattigan’s Pub. He stopped dead in the doorway. “What the hell you doing in my kitchen?”

“Uh.” Gil froze in mid-stir. “Cooking?”

“Not in my kitchen, you ain’t. I thought we had an agreement. I don’t come onto the floor and wave cleavers at the customers unless they’re acting up, and you don’t come into the kitchen.” Louie stepped inside. He reached toward the wall. Gil tensed, but the rat only grabbed an apron. “What’re you doing in here anyway? Chloe don’t let you cook at home?”

“She had this craving,” Gil said. “For muffins. The bakery didn’t have what she wanted. I figured your kitchen would. I was going to pay for whatever I took. There’s the money right there on the counter.”

“Cravings, huh?” Louie chuckled. He waved Gil away from the table. “Out’a the way, amateur. I got this. What’s she got a hankerin’ for?”

“Oatmeal muffins, with walnuts, bananas, and spinach.”

“Did youse just say bananas and spinach?”

Gil nodded. “That’s why the bakery didn’t have any. They don’t get much call for those.”

Louie shook his head. “There’s fine dining, and then there’s shifter dining. I can do spinach. Won’t be the first time.” He took the bowl from Gil, sniffed the contents, bared his teeth at it, and dumped the whole mess in the trash. He picked up a clean bowl to start from scratch. “Trying to cook. What the hell was you thinking?”

“I was thinking my wife wanted muffins,” Gil said, miffed. “They would have been good, too.”

“Yeah, you keep telling yourself that. You ain’t even got the oven on.” Louie took care of that task. “I dunno why you even still work here. You’s the mayor of the city.” He pronounced it da mayuh. “Ain’tcha worried about your rep?”

“Part of it’s for the rep.” Gil took a seat on a stool by the door, well out of Louie’s way. The chef didn’t like people hovering over his shoulder while he created. “Show my constituents I’m still a regular guy. One of the herd. Or flock, or whatever. The bunnies are the ones who engineered my election. What do bunnies run in?”

“Circles, mostly.” Louie emptied oatmeal, butter, honey and water into the bowl and blended it with a practiced hand. Gil looked on enviously. “Mayor Gil, the common man. Smart move. You’s turning into a regular politician. Next thing y’know you’ll be wearing shades and smoking them smelly cigars.”

“I quit smoking ages ago. Tobacco makes my tongue taste like a dumpster. Now I eat peanuts. Lemme crack the walnuts. I’m pretty sure I can handle that.”

“Okay. They’re in the cupboard over there. How come you don’t drive around in a Caddy like Mayor Link used to?”

“I like Hondas. Though we’ll probably have to upgrade to an SUV, if Chloe’s right about a litter.” The nutcracker slipped in his fingers. “Crap.”

“You okay over there?”

“Yeah, yeah, I got it.” Gil attacked a walnut. Bits of shell went flying. Louie didn’t say anything.

“Every now and then it hits me,” Gil suddenly blurted. “I’m going to be a father. I don’t know if I’m ready for that.”

“Join the club. One day you’s a normal guy, struttin’ around without a care in the world, then alla sudden it’s diapers and crying and feedings in the dead of night. But that don’t last too long. Once they start talking they’re a lot more fun. Then they hit the teens, but you got a ways to go before that happens. Plenty o’ time to go bald.”

“Thanks loads. You have kids?”

“I raised a couple’a rugrats, back inna day. Dunno if I’d have time for it now, what with this place and all. I ask again: you sure you wanna keep working here?”

Gil sighed. “Are you kidding? This is my refuge. I don’t have to be the Mayor here. But I’m going to be ‘Dad’ wherever I go. That’s scarier than being the mayor.”

“’Fraid so. Hey, cheer up. You’re gonna do okay. I mean, look atcha, and you born human and all. You done good at being mayor, and being a bar guy, and being a straight shooter, and being a buddy. As far as being a squirrel, though … eh. Chloe say how much spinach she wants in these?”

“I didn’t ask. Enough so she’ll know I didn’t forget.”

“Okay, but if your kids come out looking like Popeye, don’t come crying to me.” He folded Gil’s walnuts, a banana, and chopped leaf spinach into the batter. “Huh. Don’t look half bad. Lessee how they come out. I might make a batch for samples, see if the customers like ‘em.”

“Like what?” Bettina wandered into the kitchen, yawning. Like Louie, she stopped when she noticed Gil. “You’re in his kitchen? And you’re still alive?”

Gil turned on Louie. “You let her in the kitchen and not me?”

“She don’t try to cook. Wolfgang Puck over there thought he could make muffins,” he explained to Bettina. “His missus gotta craving.”

“Ah. We’re at that point, are we? So of course you came here.” She put her arm around Gil’s shoulders and steered him back into the dining room. “Come with me. We’ll drink ginger ale and chat about children until the muffins are done, or that look goes away from your face. Whichever comes first.”

“What look?” Gil demanded. Louie and Bettina just smiled.


Rebecca Gillan said...

Where on Earth did you find a picture of oatmeal banana spinach walnut muffins??? And, oh, the odd cravings of pregnancy. I kept wanting pretzels, apples, and cheese, which I know is not as bad of a combination as some. But that's all I wanted for like six months!

Savanna Kougar said...

Yeah, let the real chef take over. Gotta admire Gil for taking care of Chloe so well. Fun flash, Pat.

Pat C. said...

Same place I find almost all of my pictures: on Google Images. Originally it was cranberry and spinach, but then I found that picture, went, "Holy cow, they're real?" and changed it to banana to fit the photo. At least she's craving healthy stuff. Gil will probably be craving strong drink around delivery time.

Serena Shay said...

Wow, you had me until the spinach. I mean, oatmeal, banana and walnuts sounds tasty, but I keep the spinach to the salads. ;)

My cravings were pretty normal, thank goodness, at first it was peanut butter and OJ, every day. Then Golden Grahams cereal. What really threw me though was the steak cravings in the second trimester. Holy cow, you'd have thought I was Ziva. Thank goodness I didn't add sauerkraut to everything!

Chloe ought to stop by and see Ziva when her cravings get fierce, she'll probably find anything she needs there. hehe