Cooking for guests was always harder than he anticipated. When it was just himself, he could enjoy the subtlety and beauty of the culinary arts; invitees cared nothing for these things. They wanted their meal, and they wanted it fast. Still, he always appreciated the chance to share with others the solace he found in the kitchen.
Hustling frantically between pots and pans, between ovens and refrigerators, Marreese Speights put the finishing touches on his lovingly prepared dish. A last dash of parsley completed the ensemble, which he brought to his eager teammates.
Justin Holiday and Leandro Barbosa were waiting at the dinner table. For some reason, everyone else who he had invited had declined. It was no problem for Marreese; he preferred a more intimate setting anyway, and NBA players had busy social lives. They leaned forward eagerly as the plates were placed in front of them.
“Wow, Marreese, this looks, uh, great!” Justin said as he inspected his dish, which was spaghetti covered in a mostly-grey sludge. Little bits of green accented the sauce.
“Yeah, this is what I call haute cuisine” Leandro agreed. “We certainly have nothing like this in Brazil. What do you call it?”
Marreese smiled, proud that his creation was well received. “Speighetti deux”
The smiles that his teammates bore were being replaced by grimaces as the smell of the pasta reached their nostrils. “Do I want to know what happened to the first version?” Justin asked as he prodded the gelatinous mass with his fork.
“Now now, a chef never reveals his secrets. Eat up!”
Justin’s hunger overcame the repulsiveness of the food. He tentatively took a small bite, gagged a bit, and swallowed.
“These vegetables are uniquely cooked, may I ask what they are?” Leandro questioned as he dissected the mass in front of him.
“Not vegetables, per se, I actually just took some green Jolly Ranchers, diced them up, and put them in. I feel it adds another dimension to the rich tapestry of flavors already present.” Marreese responded as he himself shoveled the pasta into his mouth.
Justin made a show of looking at his watch. “Oh no, I totally forgot that thing I was supposed to do! I really have to go Marreese, the food was great!”
“Yeah, I forgot also the thing Justin was going to do. I must assist him. Thanks Marreese, I had a great time.”
His mouth full to capacity with Speighetti, Marreese couldn’t respond as his teammates left, their food almost entirely untouched. He didn’t appear too sad, however, and pulled their two plates closer to him. Some people just didn’t appreciate fine dining.