Heute abend (FICTION)

Heute abend cooken mit mir! Glookmal here Mann. The Chef, eine Profi, sweats beneath the lights. The agony of his inaugral performance relived. To agree to this, this farce of a presentation. He looks down at the knife in his hand and sees the hot spotlights of the studio reflected in it.

Chop, chop. His Profi fingers obey the old command. Chop, chop but no. In that sudden reflection he had seen his fate and his hand had faltered. A trickle of sweat coursed along a frown line. Trickled down the bridge of his nose to form a wayward drop and left to find its final path, into the bubbling pan beneath.

His companion, the host of the show, smiled and doled out careful portions. A dollop of this and that - fried, roasted, boiled and sieved and sieved again. Her careful smile at once maternal and at the same time chilling. Practised gestures, televised gestures.

The Profi searched for the autocue. Gaze fixed blankly on the words he must read. Bratwurst und Schnitzel, Appfelcooken, Artichoke, Fleisch alle diese Fleisch. He feels a sudden revulsion and the copper-plated pan falls.

In an eternity it reaches the tile and the silence which has fallen over the studio, fallen over the twenty or thirty invited guests whose normal happy burbling is the soundtrack to this ritual of humiliation. The pan crashes to the floor.

This is where the needle slips the groove and Camera 2, in a direct and rather untypical manner, finds itself framing the ample bosom of Frau L├╝bbener, our genial hostess – whose earlier cover was blown but who had now recovered a semblance of professionalism, the glint in her eyes less hard as the camera panned up - its spark now reduced to ash.

The Profi, a man whose life had been spent in the hot furnaces of international kitchens, a man whose knowledge of Larouse was so complete, found himself lost for words. Staring inanely into the spotlight. The Studio manager screaming into his earpiece.

Berlin 23/3/07