I can’t help but feeling
I have offered myself up as
the subject of whatever follows,
but that does not have to be the case.
Consider the weepons
tangled up in the strange
passing of Cassius Minor
Colegrove and his seven
daughters, and their own sons,
to have had the chance to
trace the family tree back
further than a minor branch
lost in the periodicals
of the faith, for example.
One summer day they all
met the infinite regress
becoming sound or light
or some such thing, not that
any of us here on this side
could ever really know.
But consider what it was
that the progenitor of the
Minor Colegrove Clan must
have been thinking as
they were all wiped clean
from the cosmic slate
as the butt of some cruel joke
upon those gathered before
I didn’t know this until
when the satellite
It called, as per usual,
on the telephone
to fill me in:
By 1876 Cassius Minor Colegrove had become
the most celebrated chef in all of
Alberta County, Coklahomad.
His kitchen was spoken of as far
and wide as the endless universe
Nobles, Noddings, Nothings, Northfolk
and Leo buying his Capricorn
would come from the furthest
corners of the Mute Chanticleer
to taste his latest creations.
These creations included
(but were not limited to):
Public Sale of a Truck,
Surgery upon Mount Sugar,
Television Boltage & Wagon Wars Haircut Pie,
The Tri-State Armada Burrito,
Upward Momentum Flambé,
Impulsive Kiss Potatoes,
and The New York Times.
This man, Cassius Minor Colegrove,
people said that he must be Orion,
the father of Gherkin Ramsay,
and the originator of all secret recipes.
He had appeared countless number
of times in all of the Home Ecc. textbooks
of the day, having authored several of them
when he was just in the seventh grade.
His restaurant was in his kitchen, which
was connected to his living room, and
it was always packed with people waiting
to try whatever it was he was serving up.
Lines circled blocks in hopes of tasting
any type of banquet he would lay out,
some would feed on the scraps thrown
out in the trash while waiting, a sort
of precursor to the modern family or
fast food restaurant’s appetizer
or dollar meal.
The Mayor of the City came and
proclaimed him to be the greatest
cook alive, and when they were
pronounced man and wife and
brought before the traditional
chamber music dinner (at which
his own meals were served) and
the knights of the palace begged
for anyone to disagree that there
was no better match under the sky
so that they could, like proper gentleman,
take their disagreements outside
and settle it in a match to the death,
not one person was found up to
the challenge and so Cassius Minor
Colegrove and the Mayor of the City
were pronounced King & Queen of the
all the lands under the screen before us.
And so they had seven daughters,
and each daughter had seven husbands,
and each of these couples produced
Enclosed in this mess,
the eldest son had taken a liken
to his grandfather and his kitchen
and engulfed himself in the dish-washing
duties in hopes of taking his place
beside his grandfather at the stove.
But like all Satelliteian heroes,
Cassius Minor Colegrove had a tragic flaw
that once discovered would undo all his
success, but maybe for the best. This was it:
Despite being the greatest cook of all time
(Le Cordon Bleu was, after all, named after
one of his famous dishes), he had no sense
of taste, because he had lost his taste buds
in the war of Spanish Succession.
Not a single soul alive, however,
knew this little fact, and that is
because nobody can taste with
another person’s tongue (as
I’m sure you are well aware of),
and Cassius Minor Colegrove had
never told another living soul.
Imagine then, when
preparing a dish, the way
Cassius Minor Colegrove would
dip his foot or spoon in it
and take a taste, merely for
the appearance of those around
him, and make a face as if to signal
that perhaps more dill or salt or tooth
And how, upon observing a master at work
the people gathered were to be heard
commenting to one
“oh, what a joy
it is to watch
Perhaps it was this method employed
by Cassius Minor Colegrove, (this is
of course after fame had made him proud),
that had led a renowned food critic to write:
“It wouldn’t take a child’s life
wanted to misplace this exactitude,
for to touch one of his meals, it was said,
was to be half across the room.”
Yet, this is the talk of critics,
useless and useless
and useless. Cassius knew it,
the (now) Lord Mayor and Protector
of the City knew it,
their seven daughters and seven sons-in-law
knew it, along with their seven times seven grandchildren,
all of them knew it.
But it was the eldest young one who was to undo them all.
This is how it happened:
One summer afternoon, in the kitchen, while doing the dishes,
as he finished scrubbing the soap scum left behind by the frying pan
the night before to be exact, Cassius Minor II (named after his illustrious
grandfather, no doubt), had a vision as he watched the pools that stand
in the drain water slowly circle round in the shape of a cat’s eye.
In a sudden moment it became clear that
the butterblond used to fry the turkey was
constantly changing, that the knives outstretched
in their magic had cast their spells in different
manners, that there was no turning the tools on,
that 6 different recipes would sooner fall asleep
than be repeated one more time, that, not one food critic would
avoid natural lighting as it had vowed to last night,
that the emperor was naked, that there was no
captain, that he would never become the head
chef, would always remain dishwasher making
minimum wage, that he still had not had a warm
breakfast once in his life, that if he began this latest
batch of dishes it would take him at least an hour, that…
his grandfather could not actually cook to save his life.
and oh, family secrets, how they weigh on the soul.
Each of us making the same mistakes as those
who have gone before us, staring at the same
symbols on the screen, pretending that they make
some sort of sense, that we can use them to our benefit,
that somehow the universe has been organized to
serve this foolish ambition.
Cassius Minor Colegrove II, unable to refill the sink
and prepare the water wetter for the next load
of dishes quickly undid his apron and approached
his grandfather at the stove, who had just turned
the gas on and was about to light the grill.
“You sir, are a liar!” said the grandson.
And the whole kitchen gasped.
And the whole restaurant stopped eating.
And in a moment, the whole family came forth.
When all had gathered before the scene
Cassius Minor Colegrove spoke:
“By what merits do you bring forth such accusations
eldest grandson of mine?”
Not a fork was heard to hit a plate when
the grandson answered: “I know that you
cannot taste your own food, grandfather.”
Cassius Minor Colegrove quickly
grabbed the paring knife and cut
out his own tongue, then reached into
his eldest grandson’s mouth and cut his tongue
out too. The grandson, unable to speak,
thought: “oh, now I get it,” and Cassius Minor
Colegrove nodded his head as they shared
a perfect moment of understanding.
The entire restaurant, filled to capacity
with those who had waited hours for seats,
and also those who were waiting to be seated,
and also the entire Minor Colegrove family
who had come to witness the confrontation, stood
and applauded and grandfather and grandson
took a bow.
Cassius Minor Colegrove then struck a match
to light the grill, and they were all killed
in a fiery explosion because the gas
had been left on this whole time.
There were no survivors.