Down & Under Pt20 – There must be some kind of way out of here

I’m burning loose ends and tying up my bridges before confusion sets in. Some niggling feeling at the back of my brain tells me I’m too late, that I have in fact counted my chickens after they’ve bolted. Maybe a recap would help. This is how things currently stand…

I’ve said no to more kitchen work after developing a phobia of Head Chefs – see Parts 1, 6, 9, 10 & 15

I’ve turned down more shifts at the memorial home, fearing for my sanity after the graveside zombie attack – see Part 19

I’ve told the agency I won’t do anymore major sporting events due to their lack of resect for legal working conditions – see Parts 2 & 4

I’ve renounced shifts at the conference centre way out of town in the middle of nowhere because it’s way out of town in the middle of nowhere – see Parts 3 & 12

Most worryingly of all I’ve grilled almost everyone around on their past and future aspirations and have run out of further topics and victims to pass the time. I need fresh blood and without Bret around, the unexpected is off the menu and daily drudgery has set in with no relief in sight.

My employment – and conversation – options have shrunk to vanishing point, so in spite of everything I may have said in Part 8, here I am again, back at the scene of the Japanese teenage vomit; the manager-less, cleanliness-less, sad excuse for a supposedly classy international hotel chain. Since I was here last, either the powers-that-be have spontaneously woken up to how badly run this place is or they’ve been reading my blog. Whatever the reason, change is afoot and big ideas are a-brewin’. Three of us are singled out from the pack and briefed by a short gentleman with brilliantined hair called Myku. He stands in front of a white board upon which is a meticulous diagram and points to things with a chopstick as though orchestrating a bank heist with Michael Caine.

“While the Culinary evening is underway ‘here’, the Samovars (that’s Russian tea urns) will overflow with smoke from the dry ice mixture that will be put in ‘here’. You will serve green pineapple tea with coriander to the VIP guests who will be seated ‘here’ and ‘here’ whilst enveloped in a white celestial cloud.”

Like a film student trying to ape a Spielberg blockbuster on a shoestring, I fear the outcome is fated to be less dramatic than the vision. Peter (K.O.D.F.A.V.S), Eli (newly recruited French girl) and yours truly are dispatched to pull off this feat of wonder while the main attraction, a Masterchef themed evening where the guests have to determine the ingredients of a variety of dishes, will happen centre stage. A top Melbourne chef has been hired to oversee the event and theatrically lift the lid on various silver platters to reveal the true identity of each spice and legume. Our little sideshow in which we proffer exotic tea from within an unearthly swirling nebulae, should at the very least resemble a scene from the Munsters. With any luck we’ll vanish completely and re-materialise somewhere else.

Despite the copious amounts of planning and dry ice, our extravaganza ends up looking like someone has put a slice of burnt toast in a teapot. A small wisp of smoke escapes the samovar and duly escapes most people’s attention. But then most people’s attention is somewhat addled…
What started off as a civilised affair for well-to-do types has plunged into a wine-hazed girl’s night out, a supposedly hilarious excuse for falling off chairs and giggling uncontrollably. The chef is taking it all in his stride. In fact he’s far too good natured for a Head Chef. I reckon he’s an actor who hasn’t done his research properly. I could give him some pointers on that score.

“I’ve made a decision.” Says Peter, coughing from behind a wisp of smoke. “I want to help people. I’m going to study law.”

“When did the social conscience arrive?”

“I didn’t say I wanted to help poor people.”

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