Schadenfreude à la Mode
rating: +14+x

"Order up!" The waiter called out, Sous-Chef Patricia winced.

Across the kitchen, Executive Chef Stefan snatched the paper hanging in the window. Commis Michael kept his nose down towards the carrots he was julienning and bit his lip.

"Chicken Diogenes!" Stefan shouted far louder than necessary so that even the waiter ducked their head in response.

Patricia grumbled, put down her meat cleaver, and grabbed her shotgun.

"Don't forget to lock the fucking cage on the egg this time." Stefan huffed.

Patricia grunted at her supervisor and boarded the kitchen elevator. Once the doors closed and the lift started its descent, she pulled out a vial of deep red powder. She unscrewed the lid, pressed the opening up to her right nostril while closing the other, and took a whiff. A deep breath and a few introductory shivers later, the doors opened and familiar shrieks filled the air.

She hummed and tapped the barrel of her shotgun across the cage bars in rhythm to the drum beat in her head. She fluttered past rows of cowering monstrosities until she came to a stop. The beast in the cell in front of her cried out once more before it threw itself against its prison door and spat in her direction. Patricia took another hit of Ash, raised her gun, and finished her drum line with a bang.

Acid, bile, and coagulating blood flowed into the drain beneath the cell as Patricia cranked the pulley for the chain bolted to its leg. The creature's head flopped about from the remaining spaghetti strands of sinew connecting it to its body as it was hoisted aloft. Patricia giggled as gas escaped its neck like passing gas and the cadaver expelled its unhatched progeny. The remaining livestock watched on in rare silence.

The elevator gave her time for one, last hit before she ran through her pronunciation again.

"Chicken Diogenes with our sauce of the day: 'Blueray Effron'."

"Chuck in Dio's genie for our sauce of the day: 'Bluntforce Trauma'."

Patricia chuckled, looked up to the floor indicator approaching ground level, and took a deep breath.

"Chicken Diogenes with our sauce of the day: 'Beurre Effrayant'1."

The doors opened and her face drooped to match the waiting Stefan's.

"Was it afraid?" The executive chef raised a brow.

"Pfft." Patricia answered and pulled the cart carrying the corpse out of the elevator. "From the moment I walked in."

The sous chef parked the carcass by the butchery table and turned back towards the cream churner. Two liters of otherwise bland vanilla ice cream needed preparation in time for their final ingredient.

"Let me know when you get the amygdalas out." Patricia patted Michael on the shoulder as she passed.

"Yes, Chef!" Michael bowed to her and rushed over to the waiting mammalian poultry.

The sound of an electrically powered bone saw filled the kitchen as Patricia stared into the reflective surface of the metal counter.


The reflection smiled back at her.


Patricia spun around to Stefan staring her in the eye.

"Table three needs their appetizer." The head chef reminded her.

"Two Forget-Me-Pleases?" Patricia snapped to attention and answered.

"Yeah, eel juice. STAT!" Stefan confirmed while he nodded his head like a jackhammer.

Two dozen oysters, a side of caviar, and a few drops of Y-909 later, Patricia had decadence plated and in the window. The plate vanished amid the sounds of the restaurant's well-to-do customers and for 10 minutes Patricia could find peace in the simmering of a butter sauce. A dash of thyme, a sprig of sage, and a wink from her reflection in the counter below. She smiled back for a moment's vacation and breathed deep. All until the waiter returned to the window and stalled before they raised an interrupting finger.

"What?" Patricia's respite broke into a glare.

"Um, sorry, Chef, but the patrons are complaining they haven't gotten their appetizer yet and they want you to deliver it personally."

"Why do we serve this dish?" Patricia turned to Stefan while he hammered flat a section of the monster's breast meat.

"How many times are they going to order it?" Stefan answered her with a question.

Two dozen more oysters. A few forgetful drops at someone's expense. All for another dish no person of grounded self-importance would want. Patricia tore off her apron and grabbed the platter on her way out the door. Long hallways around the restaurant meant one more whiff of Ash before light and the clamoring of the over-fortunate.

"Ah, Chef!" An airy voice called from the other side of the dining area.

Patricia honed in on the source and froze for a moment. Smiling back to her was the establishment founder and owner himself, Chaz Ambrose. A face of existential apathy tightened into one of professional stoicism as she approached her boss and his affluent associates. She placed the platter of oysters between the pack of plutocrats and straightened her spine.

"Two orders of Forget-Me-Pleases."

"Finally! And here I thoughth we weres going to have to place a second order!" The geriatric mogul to Chaz's right slurred out with a slap on the ass of his most recent wife.

"You already have." Patricia let out in a flat drawl before her eyes went wide and her brain caught up to her tongue.

Chaz halted in his reach for the plate and his eyes shot up to the petrified Patricia. Milliseconds dragged on as the master chef stared her down like a piece of undercooked chicken before the table erupted into laughter.

"Brrrilliant!" The oligarch smiled at Patricia's chest and hips until his wife cleared her throat.

Patricia let out a sigh and bowed before she turned away from the table and paced back towards the kitchen. From the corner of her eye she spotted Chaz typing something into his phone before glancing back up to her. One more hit was called for. Stefan stood stiff and tapped his foot as she crossed the kitchen threshold.

"So. How are our patrons?"

"Enjoying someone's death on the half-shell." Patricia grunted back and attempted to navigate past him. "And if Chaz has something to say about my comment then you can just fucking send Michael next time."

The junior chef dropped his knife at the comment and scrambled to pick it back up off the floor. He almost returned it back to his chopping of veal tartare before a cough from Stefan reminded the commis to wash it. Stefan turned back and grabbed at Patricia's arm. He reached up, swiped his thumb across her nostrils, and licked it.

"He didn't message me about your behavior." Stefan replied as he sifted through the flavors of sulfur and delayed suffering. "Ash, Pat? Really? What's next, heroin?"

"When have you given a damn? Food's still getting out there and Chaz's friends are too drunk and horny to notice." Patricia tugged her arm free and returned to the cream churners. "Do we have those amygdalas yet?"

"Right away, Chef!" Michael yelped and rushed over to the opened skull of the abomination with a melon baller in hand.

"Mr. Ambrose cares." Stefan reminded her and took the station to her left.

"Again, food's still getting out there."

"That's not why he cares. He has an image to maintain." Stefan replied as Michael ferried over two walnut-sized lobes of brain matter.

"Oh, so caring about his gala invitations." Patricia cut the lobes in half and passed the larger ends to Stefan.

"Doesn't matter. He pays you well enough to afford that shit, act like it and keep it out of my kitchen." Stefan shook his head.

The executive chef chopped the panic center of the brain into a fine paste before dumping it into the simmering butter. Patricia mirrored the same into the churning ice cream. The cream thickened and Patricia hauled it out.

"Oil's heated for the chicken." Michael alerted them before returning to breaking down the anomalous carcass.

Stefan tasted a spoonful of the butter sauce and paused for a moment.

"Spicy. You told me it was afraid." Stefan remarked.

"They're too drunk to care." Patricia rolled her eyes.

"Ambrose will. Man can sniff the difference between melancholy and depressed in his hamburgers. You think he won't notice the rage in this?" Stefan rubbed the bridge of his nose.

"The order's not even for him! He ain't going to be tasting it!" Patricia's eye twitched and her reflection raised a middle finger to Stefan.

"Uh. Chefs?" Michael whimpered.

"He won't have to! One whiff of this and Ambrose will be twice as pissed as that fucker was when you shot him!" Stefan thrust another spoonful under Patricia's nose.


"Don't patronize me!" Patricia smacked the spoon out of Stefan's hand.

"I wouldn't have to if your nose wasn't fried from the devil's coke! Go get another one! And think of how you are going to apologize to Ambrose's table!"

"How about you give it a try?!" Patricia grabbed her shotgun and shoved it into Stefan's hands.

"CHEFS!" Michael screamed.

The two chefs spun around and glared at the interruption to see another egg for SCP-3199 sitting on the kitchen floor.

"I found an egg in it."

"I TOLD YOU TO LOCK UP THE GODDAMN EGG!" Stefan bellowed and threw his skillet full of hot butter across the kitchen.

"I did! Bastard must have had more than one in him!" Patricia eyed the unhatched livestock amid the pile of corrosive afterbirth.

"I got it!" Michael rushed to resolve the row between his superiors and picked up the egg.

Michael hoisted the egg up to his chest before the skin on his hands started bubbling. Panicked cries and an impulsive toss sent the spheroid careening through the air where it landed in the fryer. All three chefs ducked as the oil exploded and the newborn cried out. The dining area hushed for a moment followed by Chaz bursting through the kitchen doors. The master chef watched the hatchling plop down onto the floor and scurry around oil fires towards the order window.

"Stefan! Gun!"

Stefan aimed Patricia's shotgun at the freed offspring as it climbed atop the plating counter and towards the aperture to the dining area. Chaz readied a warning but Stefan's finger was faster. Buckshot nicked the scamp as it stood in the windowsill and the cries of customers followed. The creature squawked back at them as it wobbled its head from side to side and leaped into the dining hall. The culinary crew chased after it and found the seating area in pandemonium. Ambrose's older oligarch friend clutched at the gunshot wound in his neck as his wife bolted out the doors of the establishment.

The kitchen inferno spread out its doors and window until the conflagration took to the restaurant's antique carpeting. Stefan tracked the fleeing fledgling monster with the shotgun and fired one last shell to put it down. Chaz pulled the fire alarm and water cascaded down from the ceiling and washed the blood from the now deceased billionaire's body.

"Out! Out!! OUT!!!" Ambrose slapped each of the three and instructed them after every blow.

Twenty minutes later, the three chefs sat on the sidewalk outside. Fire crews and containment specialists rushed into the still smoking building as Chaz doled out wads of cash to buy the responding authority's silence.

"You two know any other kitchens hiring in Three-Portlands?" Michael sighed.

"I think a change in career might be in order." Stefan muttered in monotone.

Patricia looked down and saw she was still carrying a tub of her ice cream. She scooped a clump up with her hand, took a taste, and smiled.

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