Merlin's Academy for Excellence
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~Month: September~

Year: 2017

~Season: Autumn~

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     Tapa Trouble (Marl)

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    Mike Allan


    Posts : 5

    PostSubject: Tapa Trouble (Marl)   Fri May 05, 2017 9:21 am

    Mike had decided that he may enjoy having a job in the food industry. He knew that he was fond of eating, so it was unimaginable that he would not be fond of making the food that others would be eating. He'd gone around the village with his resume and headshot (He had had his headshot taken during his time as a Hollywood stunt double. The job did not work out, but the headshot had cost an embarrassing amount of money and it seemed like a waste to just throw such a work of art into the trash,) but none of the "classy" joints seemed to be hiring.

    Mike trudged through the street, his eyes darkened with the idea that he may never experience the magic that was the food industry. He would never feel the squish of dough beneath his fingers as he kneaded it into bread. He would never chop a carrot at an unrealistically fast speed. How would he live with himself if he did not know what intense carrot chopping felt like?

    As the carrot-shaped void in his heart began to grow, Mike's nose acknowledged something spicy in the distance. He could not put a name to the smell, but the man felt as though it had definitely crossed his path before. As it filled his nostril cavities, Mike began to realize that this was the smell of freedom. This smell would be the ticket to his chance at getting started in the food business. All he had to do was find the source and his life would have meaning once more

    He walked forward, the spice began to burn it’s way through his nose. As any food snob would, Mike knew that this was exactly the quality that one should look for in their food. It was a well known fact that the spicier food was, the more likely it was to be sold.

    Mike found that the origin of this smell had been a restaurant by the name of “Tapas Galore.” While he could not quite remember what a tapas was, he was sure that it was a food he enjoyed and he was sure that it could not possibly be a hard dish to make. A smile radiated on his face as he entered the store, ready for his tapas making career to begin.

    The store was festive, every element of the decoration screaming, “THIS IS WHERE WE MAKE TAPAS.” He looked to the menu board and found that the prices were so low that he knew the food quality must be high. Every culinary expert knew that if the food was good, it meant that the restaurant made so much money that they didn’t need to charge a-lot.

    The woman at the front counter looked at him, eyebrows raised. Her face showed monotony, but her eyes were radiating excitement (Mike knew this because he had spent a day as a human lie detector; a job that required an immense knowledge of body language).

    “I would like to become a tapas maker,” He told the woman.

    “Sure,” she said blandly. The woman reached beneath the counter and threw a red apron his way. “You start now.”

    Mike’s smile widened. He knew from that moment that this would be his calling. He would make tapas as no-one had ever made tapas before. He only had one question.
    “Give me a minute,” He said, dialing a number on his phone.
    “Carl!” He yelled. “I need you to tell me what a tapas is.”
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    Carl O'Connor


    Posts : 2

    PostSubject: Re: Tapa Trouble (Marl)   Fri May 05, 2017 10:07 am

    Carl was not really having that bad of a day. He'd woken up to an empty apartment (and, thank heavens, no smell of anything burning left by his roommate on the stove), made breakfast (toast; it had gotten burnt, like always, and he swore once again to get a new toaster. He never did, but he always swore it), and eaten his burnt toast with a little strawberry jam (as a treat; he hardly ate jam, since it held a high calorie count) while reading the morning papers (the stocks, he noted, had gone down once again; his favourite sports team had won; and there'd been a string of robberies somewhere in the UK that had been solved).

    He'd taken his shower after washing, drying, and storing his dishes. Then, Carl made himself a cup of tea, went to the small office table in a small room of their apartment -- the one place his roommate wasn't allowed in -- sat at the tiny desk there, and turned on the computer.

    Moving his mouse to the email icon, he took a deep breath, double clicked it, and was prompty greeted by three dozen emails. As a virtual assistant to some company (honestly, at times Carl didn't even know the name anymore) somewhere in the US, he was always busy dealing with things. He made appointments, booked tickets for people, arranged catering, and whatnot, all from the comfort of home. It had the benefit, really, of him not needing to do any face to face interactions, because he'd been told he had a resting bitch face.

    It was true -- he wasn't going to deny that -- and so it worked for everyone that he was on the other side of the world, replying emails. On occassion, he'd have to call someone and speak to them on the phone, but this was rare; timezones hardly ever worked out.

    Carl spent his morning dealing with travel agents and a catering department (the manager of the company was having some function in another state to celebrate the launch of some new product, which, while Carl had spent the last few months talking about, honestly had no idea what it was or what it did), before deciding he really needed some food at around noon.

    He made himself a salad with some cold chicken (leftovers, really, from dinner) and settled down to watch a couple of YouTube videos on the breeding habits of snakes in Australia. He'd gotten two mouthfuls of salad down when his phone rang, a blaring alarm that made him roll his eyes. It was the ring tone he'd set for his roommate, and without glancing at the screen, Carl answered it and held it slightly away from his ear.

    "911, what's your fuc-- fudging emergency?" he drawled, changing from a swear word to a harmless version halfway; Mike had told him off before for that.

    True enough, a voice came yelling down the phone. It was almost as if Mike didn't understand that the speaker was right next to where he put his mouth, and he didn't actually need to shout to be heard.

    Carl blinked once. He blinked twice. He stared into the bowl of salad and poked at a piece of chicken and wondered what he ever did to the universe for them to place him with a roommate like Mike. Then, he let out a long, slow breath. "Tapas," he said, matter-of-factly, "originate from the Spanish. It's an appetizer, small dishes like fried squid or goat cheese and pepper tarts. They are usually served as appetizers, before the start of a meal. However, they've evolved to become an entire course of its own, and are usually served at bars so people don't drink on an empty stomach."

    He paused, mulling over his own words, and then added, "Did you get a job at a tapas place?" because heaven knew that when Mike began asking stupid questions, it had to do with his latest job. Mentally, Carl wondered how long Mike would keep this one -- a day? A week? He wasn't sure. He didn't really want to know, either.

    "Anything else, Mike? Or can I get back to my salad now?"
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    Mike Allan


    Posts : 5

    PostSubject: Re: Tapa Trouble (Marl)   Wed May 10, 2017 4:33 am

    Carl answered the phone almost immediately. Mike appreciated having a friend such as Carl; someone who would take a moment out of their life to explain Mexican appetizers to their roommate. It was not that Carl had an interesting life, anyways. Mike didn't like how repetitive Carl's days were. Tea, burnt toast, salad. The only interesting thing in Carl's life was the fact that he somehow managed to always burn his toast. He blamed this on the toaster but Mike knew better. It was obvious that Carl was a dragon.

    Mike listened to his roommate as he explained what seemed to be the world's most confusing Hispanic dish. How could one food have so many different forms and properties? Was he expected to know how to make multiple different kinds of tapas? Mike was suddenly unsure of whether or not this was the job that he'd hoped it would be.

    "Squid, peppers, drinking," he nodded. The only one of these words Mike had understood was drinking, but he knew that drinking in the workplace was not something that business owners appreciated. He remembered this from the one time in which worked as a bartender. Mike wanted to look back on his times at Krusty's Seaside Drinkin' Joint, but Carl was still talking and what he said sounded like vital information.

    When Carl asked if he'd gotten a job at a tapas place, Mike nodded.
    "Yes Carl," he replied. "And I really think this one is going to stick!" He thanked Carl and allowed him to get back to his salad.

    Mike re-entered the Spanish safe haven that was Tapas Galore, a new arsenal of knowledge in his mind.
    "I am ready to make some tapas," He told the lady at the desk. She shrugged, eyes void of any sign of life or emotion.

    As soon as Mike stepped foot in the kitchen, he felt the tapas magic surround him. There were tortillas everywhere! And beans, and rice.... and hot sauce.

    Mike looked at the hot sauce as if he'd never seen hot sauce before in his life. It glowed red with warmth and he knew that this match was right.

    "I love you," he told the hot sauce, holding it tight.

    But he must have held it too tight, because next thing he knew the hot sauce had squirted all over the stove and the floor and every other part of the kitchen.

    "I THOUGHT I MEANT MORE TO YOU THAT THIS!" He yelled, digging his phone back out of his pocket.

    "Carl," he said. "I have a hot sauce issue."
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    Carl O'Connor


    Posts : 2

    PostSubject: Re: Tapa Trouble (Marl)   Thu May 11, 2017 4:32 am

    It always seemed as though everything and anything he ever said went over Mike's head. It was almost as though trying to explain accounts to a two year old; all the child heard was "blah blah blah numbers". In this case, all Mike had picked up on, apparently, were the three things that honestly had nothing to do with tapas. He let out a sigh. "No, Mike-" he started, then cut himself off. "Actually, yes. Squid, peppers, and drinking. Just please -- please -- do not actually drink while on the job." Mentally, he added, 'again'.

    Why anyone thought being a bartender meant you had to taste test each and every drink one served, Carl would never understand. But it seemed there had been that slight misunderstanding, and Carl had to end an important call early to go pick up a drunk Mike, who had worked his last day at some drinking joint.

    As soon as they hung up, Carl returned to his salad, but it no longer looked good. He let out a sigh; he knew what he had to do. There was only one tapas joint nearby, and if Mike didn't know what one of those was... Tossing the salad into the fridge and making sure all the lights were off, he grabbed his jacket and headed out of the apartment, making sure to lock the doors behind him.

    Work could wait.

    Carl hurried down the block to the tapas restaurant, only slight urgency in his steps; he had always been a naturally fast walker, although he liked to take his time strolling through parks or forests to relax. He'd needed a lot more walks since moving in with Mike.

    He was halfway there when his phone rang and he quickened his pace as he took it out of his pocket, almost apprehensively. It was Mike. Already? he thought, pressing the answer button. A split second later, he said, "Already?" He paused. Then, "What do you mean 'hot sauce'?"

    In the distance, he could see the Tapas restaurant, and he pushed himself even more. A bead of sweat formed and rolled down his back, but he ignored it. "And what exactly do you mean by 'issue'?"
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