Fork Fest Review
Noir on This for a While
“The facts lady, just the facts.” The detective opened his worn notebook and produced a pencil, pocked with teeth marks.
“Tell me what you know.”
The lady licked her lips in anticipation as she nestled into her tired La-Z-Boy rocker. It squeaked with her every movement
“Don’t you want to know the menu first?” she asked. “No,” barked the detective, “We’ll get to that later or in the course of events, if you know what I mean.”
“Oh I do,” said the lady. “You mean to say that dessert never comes before the dinner?” The detective gave her a look as though she might not be from these parts. “That’s right lady––at least where we come from.”
The lady reached down to the side of the La-Z-Boy and the detectives eyes followed. “Hands where I can them.” She looked over and smiled at him. “I just want to recline.” And with that she nudged the lever and the mighty La-Z-Boy clunked into full horizontal.
“Now where was I,” she asked?
“You’re gonna tell me everything.”
“Yes, well, they called themselves Fork Fest and there were all types of them.”
“What kind of fork?”
“I don’t know. Four-tined, probably. Does it matter?”
“Could be very important,” said the detective. “So who was in this Fork Fest and what did they do exactly.”
The lady stared at the ceiling, feeling now both hungry and as if she might fall off to sleep.
“I don’t know. They talked about cheese and wine.” The detective put pencil to paper.
“Cheese, what kind of cheese?”
“Oh, I don’t know. I can barely remember the cheeses in my own kitchen.”
The detective scribbled madly then flipped the page, his eyes suddenly attracted to young woman, reclining in front of him.
“So who were these people, these Fork Festers?”
“Well, let me see,” she said.”There was Carmine, Karl, Carole, Karin, Corrinne, Hideo and Sandra.”
“And that was everyone?”
“I think there was a Bob… a Bob super naked or something, but he was off in the snow.”
The detective’s lead crushed under the sudden weight of this clue. “Bob super naked.” He repeated before chomping down on his pencil. “I like it.”
“You like it?” she asked. The detective flustered at the thought. “No, I mean, it’s an intriguing clue.”
“Clue to what, “she asked.
“Nothing,” said the detective. “Just a naked guy I’d like to get my hands on.”
“There were Artists,” she suddenly offered, as though that might get her off the hook. “Something about paintball paradise and cultural nomads and….” Suddenly she froze. “I saw the postcard. They were on it.”
“Who?” pressed the detective.
“Carmine, Hideo. They were on the postcard and they looked mean––they looked like they might throw something, anything. We even had the dinner at their place.
“What did they look like they might throw?”
“Her eyes welled with tears as the realization hit her. “Pottery or parties or both. I just can’t remember.”
The detective chewed on his pencil. “Damn those artists.”
They called him the “salad master.”
“Who?” grunted the detective like he’d been punched in the gut.
“Hideo, Hideo. First he said that Carole made really good salads and then she said he did and everyone agreed that he was the salad master…the salad master.”
“So what was in this salad by this salad master?”
“Romaine, red leaf lettuce, water cress, mint, tarragon,” she said. “And a dressing of lemon juice, honey, olive oil, rice vinegar, salt and.…” Her voice trailed off.
“Pepper?” asked the detective. “Was it pepper?
“Yes, yes, that was it. Pepper.” She gathered her thoughts and continued. “The starter was baby artichokes with fennel and parmesan.
“Delicious,” murmured the detective. “Go on.”
“There was a pasta with anchovies, black olives, parsley and lemon juice, with lots of garlic.”
“What were they drinking?” asked the detective, his brow shiny with sweat.
“Wine, of course and I think that Carmine made one or two negronis with kumquats and then Corrinne, she brought some Prosecco.
“Sweet subversive swine.” He jotted more notes and without being asked, she offered.
“That’s Corrinne, with two r’s and two n’s
The detective worked his eraser and gritted his teeth, wiped his brow. “Go on, what else?”
“They talked about Patagonia, I think.”
“Yeah, Sandra, she’s one of the new Festers. Well, she just came back from there. Seems she was out roaming in the mountains.”
The pieces were beginning to fall into place. The detective didn’t know quite where they were falling or why, but they were falling or at least he was thinking they were doing something. Mostly though, he was just hungry.
The detective was delirious. “Sweet,” he muttered.
Nervous, the young woman began again, in detail. “Yes, they had a dessert liqueur called VOV and she went on rambling as though she were reading from the label. “Proprietary famed brand of Zabaglione, a Marsala wine, egg, spice, and sweetening custard-like mixture bottled as a liqueur. Made in Italy since 1840.”
The detective licked his parched lips.
“Did they drink this Vov stuff straight?”
She looked at the detective. He looked at her.
“Well, I think Karl did, but the other two….”
“So they mixed it?
“Yeah, they mixed it in with coffee in these cups that Hideo made.”
She too was feeling delirious. “I don’t know––something about a main course of fish and potatoes. The fish was sole and the potatoes were fancy, called, new potatoes. It was cooked with leeks, in wine. With olive oil, nutmeg and oregano.
The detective chewed his #2 straight through to the lead. “How did they finish it off?”
She turned and looked at him. He looked at her. They just kept looking at each other. Hmmmm.
“Do you even want to know my name,” she asked. “I’m Elisa, and I was there. I saw it with my own eyes.”
She raised her head from the La-Z-Boy and propped herself on one elbow, staring into the hungry detective’s eyes.
“It was ricotta and orange peel and wheat berries in a pie crust served with strawberries soaked in red wine I think.”
“Sounds delicious. What did they call it?” She almost winced in fear, afraid of her answer. “Pizza Grana.”
And for a moment they both looked at one another, confused. Then she leaned back, her eyes focusing on the ceiling.
The detective stared at her, pondering the clues. “The gay mafia.”
Elisa sat up with a startled, “Oh no.”
“Oh yes,” mocked the detective in his husky assured manner.
“This Fork Fest thing is just a front. These guys are just a bunch of food thugs.”
“Oh my, no,” said Elisa as she let a loose calf rub up against the unsuspecting detective’s leg.
“It all fits. Forks, festivals, Italian foods, drinks I can’t pronounce.”
The detective noticed her calf, rubbing against his ankle like a cat, purring for affection.
“When’s the next one of these Fork Fest things and can you bring me?”
Elisa smiled at the thought. Her and mister rough-tough-detective at the table.
“The 9th of June,” she purred, “At Carole’s.”