Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Carved Cravings by J.P. Bowie


I love this small cafe I frequent on an almost daily basis -- or should I say nightly?  Here in the throbbing heart of London, this sequestered spot attracts the young and the gifted, and those who feel the need to hobnob with them. My discerning eye can pick out the ones last mentioned quite quickly. They gush, they pry, they push nearer to those they wish to emulate, as if youth and talent could be transferred somehow by osmosis. Has it never occurred to them that those precious gifts are exactly that -- gifts that can neither be bought nor acquired by rote?

Regardless of these charlatans, I enjoy to sit here and watch, over the brim of my wineglass, the interactions of the artists, writers and poets, recognizing the great bond with which they are connected -- admiration for each others' work.  One such young man had caught my wandering eye several nights before. Achingly beautiful, his hair a halo of golden curls, his skin alabaster with just a slight pinking on his cheeks and his eyes of clear, cerulean blue. It was a wonder to me that he was not surrounded by the sycophants that crowded in around the tables oohing and aahing over a particular work they neither understood nor would remember the next day. Sometimes I tired of these fools and would entice them into the alley that ran alongside the cafe. There I would drink from them that which I craved more than life itself before sending them on their way, their minds even emptier than when they were uttering banalities over some artist's latest endeavors.

My young friend, for that was how I had become to think of him, even though he did not know I existed, seemed  impervious to the presence of the fawning crowd. Never did he look up from his work, nor turn his head when a loud guffaw or a shriek of adulation could be heard over the general hubbub created by the cafe's clientele. His only distraction came when Phillipe, the cafe owner would personally deliver his dinner. Then he would raise his head and smile at his host, and my heart-- that part of me that should not pound nor quicken, that should lie dormant in my chest, would literally lurch inside  its cavity, and a need, so deep inside me, would roil and claw its way to the surface where my emotions could be laid bare. It took all my self-control to not jump to my feet and assail him with words that surely would be construed by him to be only echoing the sycophantic rantings of the mob that surrounded him every night.

And so I sit each night, only watching him while he eats. Each small piece of meat glides from his fork to between his finely shaped, pink lips then disappears into the warm, moist recesses of his mouth. His cheeks glow and his eyes glitter as he chews. He savors each morsel as though it were a gift from the gods themselves. I crave that -- that tempting meaty fragrance he so lovingly consumes -- perhaps more than I do the life blood that surges through his veins. How I wish that he would look at me, smile in that winsome way of his, and offer what to me would be a succulent piece of himself. I would part my lips in acceptance of what he he had carved with his own fork and knife, then my eyes firmly fixed on his, I would inhale the pungent aroma before gently tugging the red meat into my mouth.

My eyes downcast, I look away from what is all too tempting, and when I turn my head in his direction again, his place at the table is empty, and all I can do is wait, craving his return.










9 comments:

  1. JP:
    This was so skillfully told I was a couple of paragraphs in before I realized it was fiction. It was fiction, right?

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    1. Yes fiction - I actually had no clue what I was going to write before I sat down at the computer - thoughts of chocolate sundaes, fudge cake etc, you know the kind of thing we really crave - but then I got into my vampire mode and it sort of spilled out.

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  2. This is both literally and figuratively delicious, JP! Is it an excerpt from something published, or just a fantasy riff? Either way, you've most emphatically captured the nature of craving.

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    1. Thanks Lisabet. Not an excerpt just something I concocted rather quickly. I was at Bent-con over the weekend and there were lots of fantasy figures in costume, - that might have fired my imagination!

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  3. A beautiful post, JP. I was struck by the details your lurker was able to discern in his focused observations. It seemed almost like when we travel, we absorb every idiosyncrasy, watching strangers' day-to-day life, as if we're infatuated by the cultural differences.

    Perhaps I need a vacation.

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    1. Years ago when I was young and single I used to people watch in a cafe called The Stockpot. It really did attract the bohemian side of London, endlessly fascinating - and on our last visit I was happy to see it was still there, though the crowd was more yuppified - sign of the times.

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  4. A lovely invocation of the intensity of cravings for what you never can have.

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  5. The Stockpot! Now I can imagine this fantasy taking place in an actual cafe. When I lived in London, 1973-74, I often had lunch at the Stockpot because the food was good, though it was always crowded (not something I enjoy while eating). This is a marvelously believable vampire fantasy.

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  6. I would read a longer story about these characters for sure. I often feel the vampiric craving for blood is thematically linked to a craving for youth, and you've really illustrated that here. Great flash piece!

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