a pinch of assault

by sasha karcher

 

 
1: entree
“i’d feel safer biting the balls off a horny bull than eating this shit. you call this tortellini con funghi? i call it certain death. fuck off with this. i am personally insulted. go away. and take this plate of satan’s vomit with you!”

the live audience laughed, whistled and applauded their approval. the ‘biting the balls off a horny bull’ line had become gideon wright’s catchphrase but the ‘satan’s vomit’ one was new.

“he’s lifting his game. true professional. this is why he is the celebrity chef. oliver, ramsay, the rest of them, miles behind.” johnathon avis looked down at his assistant, stephen, expecting some sort of smart arse response.

stephen was true to form.

“this is why he is the celebrity fuckstick.”

“true” sighed johnathon.

johnathon was the producer of gideon’s international hit cooking show “a pinch of assault”. he knew no-one liked gideon. he certainly hated him. even gideon’s family detested him.

gideon was rude, vulgar, racist, sexist, narcisistic and bloody ugly. the only human he loved was himself. and he really did. completely, honestly, faithfully and possibly romantically.
he also loved his two dogs. it was well known among the viewing public that gideon adored his two pugs, caesar and diane. they were given free rein of the studio. when the cameras rolled the dogs were kept out of sight by one of gideon’s assistants but as soon as the show went to commercials the two grossly overweight pugs waddled onto the set and proceeded to eat all the scraps that had fallen to the ground.

the problem was even though gideon was such an obvious prick…he had presence. he had something that made people tune in to his tv show. and when people tuned in everyone made money. as long as that kept happening gideon would continue to be treated with kid gloves.

the format of the show consisted of twelve contestants spending 11 weeks finding out who was the best chef. the winner was decided by gideon. that lucky winner would go on to work at one of gideon’s restaurants. it sounded and read like a great prize but they all ended up doing the dishy’s job and quitting after a few months.

every week gideon would send a contestant home with the words “get the fuck out of my kitchen!” of course that was bleeped out in countries like the usa, england and australia. but in the scandinavian countries, where the show was a monster hit, there was no editing. across daycare centers and kindergartens in copenhagen one can hear children telling anyone who would listen to get the fuck out of their kitchen.

this week was the final. there were two contestants left. the slightly chubby 23 year old janet lewis from touscon, arizona and the 39 year old parissian pierre le gras.

even gideon had to admit, if only to himself, that these two were highly gifted chefs. by far and away they were the most talented contestants he had ever had on his show over it’s 11 season run. that was probably why he hated them so much. he knew they weren’t as good as him, (i mean, who was?), but he had heard that some people had suggested that gideon was only the third best chef on his show.

he had seen the hashtag #betterthangideon trending on twitter. it started with pictures of his dishes against pictures of janet’s and pierre’s. but lately people had been posting pics such as burnt baked beans, vegemite on toast, a piece of lettuce, microwave dinners, even dog food with the hashtag #betterthangideon. he didn’t let it get him down. twitter was overflowing with morons. he knew people didn’t like him, but these dickheads still tuned in every week, year after year. these dickheads had made him a millionaire.

more unsettingly for gideon, he had noticed over the last few weeks a slight change of atmosphere around the set. he had always known that the staff talked about him behind his back but they had always shown some sort of deference to his face. but lately…lately he had had a few of the younger staff openly, no, willfully ignore him. he would call them over and they would just leave the room. asked later they had said they hadn’t heard him. bullshit they hadn’t. even worse, one young girl who worked in the kiosk had told him to fuck off out of her kitchen after he complained that the quiche was revolting. he had her fired that day. that incident left him shaken. so he made a decision. he was quitting tv after the finale and going back to work in his restaurants where he could be an arsehole to his staff without being under the gaze of bloody tv cameras. he had made enough money for him and his dogs (and his family he reluctantly added) to live out their lives in comfort and style.

he was going to give tonight’s final show all he had. go out on top. this was his fucking kitchen and the two wannabe chefs, and the world, needed to be reminded of that. maybe, he thought, when he announced he was retiring he could say something about it not being over till the fat lady sings and then ask janet to sing something. yeah. good idea. nah. great idea!

 

2: main course
gideon was soaking up the live audiences’ laughter as he walked over to janet and her ‘swedish meatballs’ dish. this was the second to last competitive dish of the show and it seemed easy enough. but when gideon told them what they were cooking he handed janet the recipe in swedish and pierre his recipe in italian. gideon said something about cooking being an international language, blah, blah, blah, to justify the unreadable recipes. but he had only done it to stress janet and pierre. it had worked.

as janet blushed and blinked away tears gideon picked up her plate and threw it across the stage.

“there janet, your dish is where it belongs. on the floor like the dog’s dinner it is. i should get you to get on your knees and lick that mess up but i am afraid you may enjoy yourself. i won’t even let my dogs eat that…”

janet’s eyes flashed over to his eyes for a fraction of a second then dropped to the floor again where the meal lay spread out like a crime scene.

was that hate in her eyes? it definitely wasn’t fear. that was pure hate, thought gideon.

he’d forgotten what he had been saying. he turned to camera two and said “ back in 5 minutes for the last round where we will find out who is 2015’s a pinch of assault’s champion.”

the red lights on the cameras went off and the audience murmured.

“hey janet. come over here toots.”

janet came over to gideon, wiping her hands on the tea towel hanging from her waist then wiping her eyes again.

“what?”

“you do know this is entertainment, don’t you? you do know this is just a game? don’t you? i mean, you aren’t that dumb are you? this is just entertainment for the masses. unluckily for you, you and pierre are the christians and i am the fucking lions. and the fucking emperor.” gideon’s voice was rising.

he continued, “ so stop crying a fucking river and take the shit i give you. it is what you signed up for when you came on this show. so harden the fuck up and don’t take things so fucking personal!”

janet looked him in the eyes.

“fuck you gideon”.

janet walked away.

no contestant had ever spoken to him like that. never.

“you just cost yourself the win, you fat cow” he screamed after her.

the crowd had hushed. they were loving this.

janet, who had walked back to her work station, raised a lazy middle finger and blew gideon a kiss.

the crowd erupted. some laughed, others cheered. there were a few “you go girl”s and a lot of whooping.

fuck this, gideon thought. 15 more minutes and i am done. they were all a bunch of fucking morons.

“twenty seconds”, yelled the director.

gideon had moved over to pierre.

“allo, allo my french froggy friend. i have some good news for you. you can serve up a plate of snails wrapped in testicle skin and you will still win. how does it feel?”

“ten seconds”.

pierre shook his head. “why do you always talk about male genitalia? have you none? or do you secretly love it? i think it is a bit of both, no?”

“2…1…and we are live”.

the crowd, who had forgotten they had hands, were sitting forward in their seats, mouths agape. this had definitely been worth the bus trip into town.

“what the fuck did you just say?”

the cameras rolled towards gideon and pierre. pierre had his back to the cameras so no one in the studio or watching at home could see his face. except gideon. he could see pierre’s eyes staring unflinchingly into his with that same defiance and hatred that janet’s had shown.

gideon stepped away from pierre and spoke into camera three.

“welcome back. janet and pierre were given time before the show to prepare their signature dish. in a few minutes they will present them to me and i will judge which one is the finest and as these two have been neck and neck all season, whoever wins this round wins the whole bloody thing!

“ok then. let’s do this”.
3: just desserts
the final round worked like this:

gideon would sit behind a table wheeled out to the front of stage. he would be blindfolded and a small black screen would be erected at the front of the table so the live audience couldn’t see the dish. he couldn’t have them yelling out what it was.

this was the best part of the show. this is what really separated gideon from the other celebrity chefs. he had to guess what the dish was only by taste. and not just if it is beef or chicken. he had to guess the ingredients used in the entire dish. he was never wrong. even his detractors had to admit he was a freak when it came to this.

so the audience couldn’t see, but the cameras could. everyone at home could see the dishes, see gideon slice into them, see him bring the fork up to his mouth.

it was great theatre.

gideon sat at the table and was blindfolded by an audience member. you could see his head over the top of the screen.

“so, as you know, i have absolutely no knowledge of what these dishes are or how they have been prepared. first i will taste them both and keep my perfect record by listing their ingredients and then i will announce my favorite and therefore the winner.”

a dramatic ten second pause.

“janet, please bring out your signature dish!”

the crowd cheered as janet came out of the wings holding a silver platter with a silver lid. she placed it behind the screen in front of gideon and took a step back.

the crowd hushed.

janet leaned forward and removed the lid.

gideon picked up his knife and fork and dug in. he came out with a succulent piece of dark meat and some asparagus covered in a white sauce. he popped it into his mouth, chewed, frowned and swallowed.

“hmm…interesting. definitely a caesar salad dressing. but not a typical caesar dish. you have asparagus, pine nuts and some lettuce. the meat on the other hand is not chicken. i think it is rabbit. yep. rabbit. that’s it.

“janet’s dish is a rabbit caesar salad! am i right? we will find out soon enough. and janet? it was very tasty. good job.”

she took her platter and exited the stage.

“now pierre, bring out your signature dish!”

pierre put his silver platter on the table and removed the lid.

gideon’s fork came up with some dark meat, red sauce and roast potato. he popped it into his mouth.

“steak diane. definitely a diane sauce. with simple roast potatoes with some rosemary and oregano mixed in with the seasoning. and the meat? don’t think it is rabbit again. it is definitely very gamey. cooked to perfection though pierre. well done. is it kangaroo? don’t tell me. yep. kangaroo. you have made a kangaroo steak diane with roast potatoes.”

pierre took his dish away.

the screen was taken from the table and gideon removed his blindfold and stood up.
4: after dinner mint
johnathon avis knew something was wrong. different. during the last ad break gideon had lost his temper, but that wasn’t unusual. what was unusual was that he looked slightly shaken. he was not as cocky and self-assured as he usually was.

it actually made johnathon laugh a little. he, like gideon, was leaving after this show. he had received a much better offer from jaimie oliver to direct his new show and he accepted straight away. he started his new job next week. his new life. away from prima donnas.

still, something was decidedly off today with gideon. and what was that? not being 100% sure on the meat. that had never happened. what was going on?

so when his phone vibrated and gideon’s personal assistant asked if he had seen gideon’s dogs, johnathon knew something was very wrong.

and then the penny dropped. and he smiled.

johnathon decided to watch the rest of the show from the sound controllers booth.

5: cheque please

gideon walked around to the front of the table and faced the audience.

“this is a difficult one tonight guys. in all my years in the industry i have never been stumped like this before. i could still be right, of course, but i have never not been 100% sure before.

“so before i announce the winner i would like pierre and janet to come out here and tell us what the hell that was that they just cooked!

“janet, pierre, come on out!”

janet and pierre walked in from opposite sides of the stage and stood flanking gideon.

“ok guys, whatever it was that you cooked, they both tasted delicious. well done to both of you”.

polite applause.

“first, janet, what was your dish?”

“caesar salad, chef”.

“i know that, janet. but what was the meat? was it rabbit?”

“no, chef.”

“well, what was it, woman?” gideon nearly hissed through clenched teeth.

“caesar, chef. it was a caesar salad.”

“…ok.”

a confused looking gideon turned to pierre.

“yes, well…pierre. i hope you are a little more communicative than our chubby little friend there. what was the meat you used in your steak dianne?”

“steak dianne, chef”.

“ok”. gideon snapped. “what bloody animal did your meat come from, you stupid french bastard?” spittle flew into pierre’s face as gideon screamed the question at him.

“it came from a bloody diane, chef”.

“what the fuck are you two talking about?”

he had had enough. he was just about to call it a draw and walk off when janet tapped his shoulder.

“i put caesar into the caesar salad and pierre put diane into the steak diane.”

“huh?”

janet sighed.

“you just ate your dogs.”

 

6: the tip
as it was reported on the news the next morning, gideon had taken a carving knife and started swiping it at pierre and janet. fortunately, and suspiciously so, pierre and janet were both carrying their roasting forks and managed to stab him on either side of his neck.

gideon bled to death live on tv.

there were over 30,000 complaints made to the network.

18 of them were due to the network not having cut the live feed sooner so the viewers didn’t have to watch a man die during dinner.

28,000 of them were complaints regarding animal cruelty.

but pierre and janet were never charged with anything. not murder as it was a clear case of self defense as every one on earth saw.

and they weren’t charged with animal cruelty.

gideon was right. he was always right. janet’s dish was rabbit and pierre’s was kangaroo.

the rest of the complaints were in regard to the audio dropping out just as janet and pierre were explaining what their dishes were. johnathon avis took the blame for that. he dropped his coffee all over the console, he said, when one of gideon’s dogs had tried to piss on his leg.

there were two calls made to the network offering condolences on gideon wright’s death. sort of. someone did ring up saying they were sorry for his death but they rang back not long after apologising that they had gideon mixed up with someone else and they didn’t give a rat’s arse about gideon.

pierre and janet opened a restaurant in new hampshire.

they don’t serve dog.

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