Home Sick

I looked up through my window at the inverted horizon of Three Portlands, phone to my ear. "It's just… I've been here a while, and…"

"A while? It's been, what, a few days?!" Boss answered. "I get that you like traveling, but I'm putting a lot of resources into you. You've gotta squeeze all you can outta Three Ports!" Usually he would've been screaming, but I guess my food reviews had been gaining traction in the Peculiar Post. Good reception equals more money for him, after all.

"It's boring, okay? I just wanna move on, you know? I already went to the bakery, so I think that's enough. You understand, right?"

"I do not—" Cutting himself off with a loud sigh, he lowered his voice, probably trying not to get annoyed with me. "One more place before you leave, okay? I know the perfect restaurant."

As if on cue, my stomach rumbled. "I suppose I shouldn't go through a Way on an empty stomach…"

"Perfect! I'll send over the details now."

"Thank you for joining us on this fine night, Mr. Morrison," the waiter said. "Your table is here, the meal will be out shortly. Let me know if you need anything."

The Homestead looked like a regular 'fancy' restaurant. White tablecloths, little candelabras on every table, and generally dim, comfortable lighting… but wafting through the air was a sweet smell, like that of a melted marshmallow.

As I took my seat, I scanned the room to see overjoyed faces— one girl was even crying, rapidly shoving forkfuls of pancake into her mouth. Honestly, I can relate sometimes. But being able to pry raw emotion out of oneself is not something a lot of food can do. Usually—

"Your food." The waiter placed a plate of…

"What is this?" I asked, pointing down at the tannish-brown mush on my plate.

They gulped. "It's what the cook made for you."

I pointed at the girl across the restaurant, who was still inhaling her pancakes. "Why'd she get pancakes? Mine looks like a lump of… tar, or something."

"T- that's what the chef made for her." Something was clearly wrong.

"Okay…" Not wanting to waste any time, I picked up my spoon, scooped a bit of my 'food' up, and shoved it into my mouth. I swallowed hesitantly. "This is… Hmm."

"Yes?" The waiter asked, clasping their hands together expectantly.

"Uhhh, it's… bland. Like… like a microwave dinner."

The look on their face was a mix of fear and confusion.

"…what's it supposed to be?"

They took a moment before stumbling out a response. "It's supposed to taste like a homecooked meal…"


"This place isn't for me," I muttered, sitting up as the waiter mustered out several lengthy apologies, "I just… it's okay."

Using magic to make food taste homecooked. What a brilliant idea…

My throat tightened as I left The Homestead, barely remembering to shove a twenty-dollar bill into the waiter's hands.

Reviewing something when I am not the intended audience does not leave a good taste in my mouth. I didn't experience the meal how it was supposed to be experienced— of course it wasn't going to be good! So I sat down in the lobby of my hotel, called Boss, and told him just that.

His reply was… not happy. "Come on, you should be able to get something out!"

"I just said it wouldn't feel right."

"Does it have to?"

I paused for a moment. "I think you know what I'm going to answer."

"Listen, Morrison. Your job is to be entertaining or informative. This should be easy for you! Just, like, write a bad review for once—"

"No," I interrupted. "It wasn't a bad restaurant. I saw someone bought to tears by their food, do you know how hard that is to do?"

"No, but… fine, then write about whoever is the intended audience. 'I personally did not like the food, but do not let that dissuade you.' There, already got the start of it done for you."

I sat back in my chair, staring at the hotel ceiling. "Fine. Check your email in an hour, I'll whip something up."

"Thank you," Boss said, hanging up.

I let out a sigh. Standing up, a small globe on the dresser caught my eye, and I suddenly got an excellent idea. I walked over and gave it a spin before poking it with my finger, bringing it to a halting stop. For my next destination, I would be going to…

Maybe I should respin.

…should I?

I mean, I bet I can find something out there…

You know what? Why not?

I flipped open my laptop and stretched for a moment before typing out something Boss was likely going to be angry at me for, and praying that all the ad revenue we've been getting from my reviews so far would make up it.

Food In The Anomalous Community by Edwin Morrison
Volume 3

Last volume, I reviewed Paraweiser Pastries, a little pastry shop in the middle of Three Portlands. Well, this volume is going to be a bit different.

Overall, the food scene of Three Portlands is incredibly impressive, and with thaumaturgy everywhere, it's quite magical as well. From a restaurant with the ability to make a homecooked meal from your childhood to a cart always offering the best comfort food, many establishments didn't even have a menu!

As a whole, I give the city of Three Portlands a 10/10. Just make sure to research wherever you're going first, otherwise your experience may not be the best.

Now, my next destination— as chosen by the spin of a globe— will be the Pacific Ocean!

Miles away, at the Peculiar Post, Boss sat back in his chair with a grumble. "I really shouldn't let him get away with this…"

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