Week 11 Prompt: While playing truth or dare with friends on a warm summer day, a girl discovers she likes eating live bugs.
Bertie stormed through the dining room of the restaurant into the kitchen. “Deliver me from evil, Johnny,” she said in a fake southern accent and held up a transparent plastic bag. “If I didn’t go and get us a whole whack of cicadas.”
Johnny looked at the bag. It quivered with the chaotic movement of segmented bodies, legs, wings and antennas. “For tonight’s menu? Awesome! What should we do with them?”
“I was thinking cicada three ways,” she said handed the bag to Johnny.
He placed the bag on the counter, carefully opened it, grabbed one of the fluttering creatures and observed it like a hungry woman with a food sample at Costco. “How about an appetizer of cicada pâté with a rich, wasp and balsamic compote served with toast points?”
“Yum, you’re a man after my own palete.” Bertie grabbed her recipe notebook and started writing. “For the main, how about mac and cheese with Gouda, wild mushrooms and grilled cicada abdomen?”
“I think I’ve died and gone to foodie heaven,” he said as he pulled the wings off the cicada and popped the writhing thing into his mouth. He loved the feel of its spindly legs tickling the top of his mouth just before biting into the plump body with a resounding crunch. Warm, syrupy goo poured over his tongue, sharp and pungent. He rolled the velvety liquid around his mouth, savoring it as you would a creamy Camembert.
“Don’t eat too many of them,” scolded Bertie.
“I won’t,” he said playfully. “But just one more.”
“That’s it. I need a bunch of them for desert. Speaking of which, how about a vanilla bean bread pudding with a crunchy cicada and hazelnut topping?”
“Make it so. I’m going to do a cicada infused vodka martini as well. Let’s get cooking.”
She watched Johnny as he cooked. She loved him. Had done so since the first time she set her eyes on him. A distant memory weaved its way into her consciousness. She was a girl on the edge of womanhood, living in rural Indiana. It was summer, a hot one with no rain. She was on the porch of her family home listening to her dad’s old country albums, when her brother and a friend came home.
“Bert, this is Johnny. He’s new in town and has no friends,” said her big brother, Aaron with a chuckle.
“Hi,” Bertie felt herself blush.
“Sis, entertain him. I have a hot date with Allison Montgomery. Gotta go.” He jumped off the poach and left the two of them standing, staring at each other.
“Have you ever played truth or dare?” He asked. She shook her head. “You up for it?” She nodded again.
The memory faded. She walked over to Johnny, who was standing at the stove, and embraced him from behind. “Thanks for making me who I am.”
He turned to her and they kissed. “Anytime, honey. You’re the best thing that ever happened to me. Now please leave me alone, I don’t want my compote to burn.”
“Okay, I’m going get the menu and dining room ready for tonight.
“Sounds good! Do some social media. Our customers will love that we have cicadas on the menu.”
She finished up the menu and placed the sign on the sidewalk in front of the restaurant, of their restaurant, Dare.