Feeding the Homeless

by Tim Frank

You open your front door and a bundle of stench and hairy bones flops onto your brogues. You drag it across the threshold and sit it at your dining room table, double checking the shine on the silver candelabra you like to hang from your belt. The homeless man rests his head on your fine black cotton table cloth and a bubble grows from his nose, until--pop.

You hang your burgundy and off-rouge serving cloth over your left arm, evenly.

'Today sir, for entrees,  I shall be presenting a starter of honey glazed rocket with crumbled dilettante, lightly browned croutons with a lemon and reduced port-coolie topped off with a thin triangle of freshly chilled pineapple.'

You wait for a reaction, but only hear the glug of a blocked toilet.

'For main,' you continue assuredly, 'I will roast a side of duck and gripe some pork bellies, flash fry them in a chilli and mead tarpaulin being careful to keep the poultry brittle and the swine edgy, then place them on Her Majesty's rotating show plates, fanned with a centrepiece of sheered broccoli and a ferment of goats cheese in Ohio Nit vinegar.' 

'For desert, we have a mango sorbet bruschetta with a vile of mask and a distilled volley of uncrimped devil glutes.  I shall loosen a barrage of reed rinds and re-condense them in a wall pan at right-angles, making sure to lay down a worthy residue of sterilised peas with a panicky caramel lattice.'

You wait for the poor decomposing man's jaw to drop. And it does. And your heart beats that much faster.

'Now,' you whisper conspiratorially, 'we have a variety of options for the nosh snubbers, wheat pokers, nut whiners, seafood dodgers, lactose spitters and those with a callous disregard for the lentil.  Sir, I cater for all tastes.  What shall it be?'

Fart. A drizzle of warm blood relaxes down the dirty man's nose and he smears it across his cheek like a burnt cranberry jus.

'Today's mis-en-scene will be grilled negativity and a sprinkle of Soviet gristle to lighten the mood.  The colour, monsieur, is yellow,' you say, raising your arms and wiggling your fingers as if playing the grand piano. 'I thank you.'

Before progressing into white napkins of light pastry despair, you give a forthright lecture about the need to attend the right parties. You preach the right party will always serve cross shaped vol-au-vents blowtorched for that 'in bread' upper crust burnt skin crackle, and the magisterial, multi- levelled importance of attending black-tie events.

You get to work. You chop and pin, slice and thread, smooth and russet, tangle and weave, deconstruct, build and form, pile and scatter, pray to the great god of fondue to get that damn consistency,  and drip your sweat into an egg cup. Every now and then you shout, 'Shallots!' but you don't know why.

The smelly man begins to stir, blood dried, nostrils aquiver, lifts his head from the table, groaning like a tranquilised pigeon in an air-conditioned frying pan.

3 hours later you return sheepishly to the dining room.

'Sir,' you say, with thick yellow stains crawling down your apron. 'I'm afraid I cannot serve you the food this afternoon.  There have been some unforeseen problems.  I am truly sorry.'

The homeless man stares like a dog searching for an un-thrown stick. He sobers quicker than an aubergine en-huit.

'Please, I need food. ANYTHING.'

'I have to be honest with you, sir. I am ashamed and mortified. Sir, the spinach has wilted. There I said it. The croutons are frighteningly illiterate. There is more, but I cannot, no, dare not say.  I simply could not have served that wretched microwave dinner.'

The squelchy man is on his feet, sniffing and prowling.

'What are you doing, monsieur?' you say.

The man ignores you and rushes into the kitchen.

'Where is it?!' he barks. 'Oh Christ, where is it!?'

'In the bin, sir, where it belongs,' you say, massaging your temples.

The homeless man finds the tall black bin and plunges his head deep inside.  Dismayed, you grab him by the hips and pull him out.  He has your lemon Times New Roman reduction sauce splattered on his beard and crispy chapped lips. He tries to dive in to the bin again.  You yank him back, and you both collapse onto the kitchen floor, Le dejeuner coating you both.

A slither of cork and a letter of frappe slips into your mouth and a terrible thought occurs to you – about where you went wrong... Meanwhile the homeless man is in a fever, he is shaky and sweaty, red and pale simultaneously.  He sees a piece of soft, hairy duck fat on your hand. He leaps at it and bites deep into one of your bulbous arteries. Blood sprays and you think,


BIO: Tim Frank is an up and coming writer of original, experimental short fiction and film. He has written and produced a number of short films that have been shown in international festivals, such as the Edinburgh Fringe film festival. He also writes a column for satire magazine Home Defence UK.