“What in the HELL is… this?!” Diego roared. He slammed a fist on the stainless steel counter, sending a clanking tremble through the hanging ladles and pots.
The prep cook’s eyes darted from the crate of red-scaled fish, to his chef’s reddening face, then quickly to the kitchen’s floor. The dishwasher barely contained an amused chuckle, his mouth caught between a smirk and an ooooh-boy.
The white-faced prep cook wiped his brow, pursing his lips furiously, before eeking out, “Today’s… f-fish order, chef.”
Diego balled a fist, lips tightening, and nearly beheaded the young cook with the sweep of his glare. What kind of idiot had the manager hired? He looked at the box of fish and wrinkled his nose in disgust.
“You expect me,” he paused, seething, “to feed people...” he paused again, barely able to spit the word, “magikarp?!”
For a moment, only the faint bubble of simmering water broke the silence in the large, shining kitchen. Then with a breath like hissing steam, Diego whirled in a fury and slammed a pot lid shut with a crash. What was the cook thinking accepting an order like that? Only a few words were distinguishable from his grumbling string of curses: “… half bone… tasteless… might s’well eat… hard rubber…” That bastard of a fishmonger Kenzo! Taking advantage of a young cook. And where the hell was his sous chef, Dave? He should’ve had the deliveries sorted long ago. Later, he told himself, later. “Just get rid of –“
The crate of fish suddenly erupted, a volcano of furiously flapping fins flailing and sliding in every direction. Half a dozen karp crashed into the hanging pots, sending them careening down the counter and onto the stove. Scalding stirrers flew and boiling liquid splashed as the massive pots of simmering stock tipped, sending cooks scurrying for cover. The din barely masked the flurry of curses Chef Diego hurled as he raced through the kitchen, dodging clanging cookery and flying karp. He snatched a fish from midair and began smacking the fire out of any magikarp that came near him, whirling like a violently swearing twister in a dervish of fish-smiting-fury.
As soon as he’d subdue a wildly flailing fish, another took its place. Diego snorted, belting a karp with a particularly wet ‘schlock’. Just as he began to resign himself to spending the better part of the next hour getting the fish under control, he caught wind of something akin to ozone.
Across the kitchen the young prep cook stood like a lightning rod, steering his floating magnemite through the glut of yellow-whiskered targets sliding through the room. Electricity crackled across the magnet-pokémon’s body, leapt through the air, arced over the stainless steel counter, and crashed into a magikarp with a sizzling ‘zot’. The cook whipped out a pokéball and hurled the orb for the fish. The clean hardness of the young man’s face reflected the carefully measured skill he took in the toss. With a smoky flash of energy the karp disappeared and the ball flashed red, locking in its quarry.
It only took Diego and the young cook a few minutes to contain the rampaging fish. One last crackling thunderwave, the heat of a thundershock, and in a hazy flash, the final fish was captured. Chef Diego heaved a sigh, wiping the fish slime from his face. The young cook panted, exchanging a brilliantly jubilant smile with his wearily hovering magnemite. “You were great, Arges!” he said to the exhausted steel-type, juggling the stack of gleaming red and white pokéballs.
Chef Diego eyed the cook and his pokémon as they slumped against a wall. The young man was unable to contain his smile, leaning against his happily crackling magnet, juggling a stack of pokéballs shining with fish slime. A slight grin crept across the chef’s face as he said, “Kid, I think you’re in the wrong line of work.”
The young cook smiled, unaware of the red fish-scale stuck to his cheek. “Maybe so,” he said, fingering a magikarp-slimed pokéball, “… maybe so.”
Ready for grading.
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