Santres Pigworth was one of the most famous chefs in the whole of Dudley. His pastries in particular were well known for being beyond delicious. Pigworth’s Pie was the name of his restaurant, and it was the only restaurant in town to have been voted ‘Best Restaurant Named After Its Owner’ for seventeen years in a row, despite the fact it had only been open for fourteen.
Santres ran the restaurant with his two daughters, Sallyford and Karen the Third. Karen had recently married a prince called Richard the Third and taken his surname, though it is not known whether she fully understood the process. However, Karen was a short girl who often wore a pink dress that was made of blue dresses. Sallyford on the other hand was incredibly average height, and spoke with a lisp that she had borrowed from a duck once. Together the two were inseparable, and wherever one went, the other was sure to stay away from.
On the third day in December, 2011, Sallyford did not go into work. Instead she had gone shopping with her bestest friend in the whole wide world, Paul. This would prove to be a disastrous decision for two reasons. The first is that Paul was a dog, and he was not allowed in any of the shops. The second being that on this particular day, Santres Pigworth and the staff of Pigworth’s Pies would receive a visitor from the world renowned food critic, Dominic “That’s Disgusting” Fork.
Dominic Fork was known not only for his impeccably perfect hair, but also for being one of the meanest humans to ever walk the plank. He hated food – so why he became a food critic I don’t know – and loathed chefs. The only positive review he gave was to a slice of toast that he had made himself, and even then he only gave it 3 out of 5. It was on the third then that this foul, 8ft man came into Pigworth’s Pies and waited to be seated. Since Sallyford was out shopping with her flea-infested friend, it was up to Karen to greet Mr Fork and guide him to a table that was neither round nor rectangle. As he sat down, the whole restaurant seemed to take one big intake of breath which would not be released for another 40 minutes or so.
“The menu.” Dominic said in his usual voice that was effortlessly threatening.
Karen handed him a menu that had been specifically designed and printed for if the occasion ever presented itself. The menu had only one dish on it. This was a bold move, placing the fate and reputation of the restaurant on one single meal. Still, Mr Fork read the menu carefully and then, looking up with an expression of constrained delight, ordered the Cherry Pie.
“Oh my giddy aunt,” cried Santres Pigworth as he paced around the kitchen, his hands scratching his thick, curly hair. “I cannot believe that Mr Fork is here today of all days!”
The day, which Santres regarded so significant, was not only his birthday, but also Christmas day, the anniversary of his parents’ death and also his wedding anniversary. The other chefs tried their hardest to calm him, but Santres was a nervous wreck that could not be calmed at the best of times. When Karen brought in the order, Head Chef Mingle started to prepare, but Santres stopped him.
“I, and only I, must cook this dish for our steamed guest.” he said with an air of fake confidence. He grabbed the cherries and the flour and whatever other ingredients are needed to make a cherry pie and set about making the dish which had made his name all those years ago.
It was back in 1973 when Santres first made a cherry pie. Without any real experience in cooking and without anything resembling a recipe, he threw ingredients into a bowl and 50 minutes later produced a stunning cherry dessert for his family and friends. He would have been done sooner but he stopped to eat a FAB. The guests had gathered for Santres’s brother’s birthday, and Santres had persuaded his mother to let him bake a dessert for the party. When the guests tried it, every one of them said it was the most delicious dessert they had ever tasted in their whole lives, and one of them had even eaten mango sorbet. And so, with no changes to the ‘recipe’ and after making no less than 64,000 of his trademark pies, it was 38 years later that Santres Pigworth took out of the oven the cherry pie that could either strengthen or destroy his career.
His hands shook as he carried it out to Mr Fork, who was sat patiently at the table nibbling on a napkin. He placed the dish down on the table and a fork next to it. Dominic smiled at him. Santres took a few steps back and waited for Mr Fork to try his food. And then he heard 4 words that no restaurant owner ever wants to hear, especially from a food critic.
“This fork is dirty.”
At that, Santres ran over to the table, picked up the cherry pie with his bare hands and smashed it into the face of Dominic Fork. The waitresses and chefs all gasped with astonishment at the sight of their boss smearing his reputation in the face of one of the most feared men in the whole of the West Midlands. But to their surprise, the critic did not shout. He did not turn to violence. He simply chuckled. Then Santres chuckled. Then Dominic said “Santres you old fool.”
The two men laughed and hugged each other like a pair of old school friends who had not seen each other for years. This was an appropriate style of hug as they were a pair of old school friends who had not seen each other for years.
“What the devil are you doing in my restaurant Dom?” asked Santres.
“Well, I was in the neighbourhood and thought I’d pop in and try this cherry pie I’ve been hearing so much about.” said he.
“And what’s with this Mr Fork nonsense?” Santres asked.
“I changed my name. People didn’t take me seriously with a name like Dominic Bumfluff.” he said.
The rest of the conversation was pretty irrelevant, mainly talking about if they’d heard off old school friends or what size their wives’ breasts were. The waitresses and chefs were dismissed back to their work and Fork and Pigworth left the restaurant to go to a drinking place where they had 15 pints each and fell asleep at the bar.
The next morning, Santres awoke in the boot of Dominic’s car. He recognised it from the distinct smell of mustard that had always been around Dominic, though he never understood why as Dominic hated mustard. Santres did not remember getting into the boot and certainly did not recall covering his mouth with duct tape. He was worried. What had happened between him and Dominic Fork that night? He began to question his ‘friend’ and thought back to his school days to try and remember if Dominic had ever said anything to him about planning to become a food critic, visiting his restaurant, taking him to get drunk and holding him hostage in his car. He did remember Dominic saying something very similar, but without the hostage part. But Santres’s thoughts were interrupted as the car halted to a stop. Santres was worried. So worried that he wet his pants a little, which made him even more worried for what his possible friend’s reaction would be to his wet pants and the stained boot. Then Santres remembered that Dominic had kidnapped him, so staining his car was probably something he deserved. He listened carefully and heard two voices. One was clearly the voice of Dominic Fork, the other was a female voice he had not heard before.
After a short conversation, the car boot opened. Dominic smiled at him, but Santres could not be sure if this was a ‘wasn’t this fun’ smile or an ‘I’m going to kill you now’ smile. Dominic helped Santres to get out of the car, then marched him over to the woman and presented him to her. The woman was confused. Santres was confused. The little boy who was watching out of a window on the opposite side of the street was confused. The ghost that was living in their shed was confused. A lot of people were confused, but all became clear very soon.
“Here you are my love.” said Dominic.
“What?!” cried the woman, “Why have you brought me a man with duct tape on his mouth?”
“Well, earlier this morning you said you fancied an Italian for tea.” Dominic answered.
“I didn’t mean a bleedin’ Italian man!” the woman shouted, “I meant like a pizza or something! Christ Dom, I’m not a bloody cannibal!”
Dominic looked embarrassed. The woman looked furious. Santres still looked confused and the boy across the road had gotten bored with the entertainment and gone off to watch cartoons instead. Dominic apologised to the woman and told her to go inside. He then took the duct tape off the mouth of Santres.
“Sorry about that,” Dominic said, “My wife is ever so confusing with her requests.”
“You lunatic!” shouted Santres.
“No, you’re right. Thinking about it, it was a silly mistake to make.” he replied.
“Why on earth did you put me in the boot?!” Santres asked, still shouting.
“Well you were quite drunk and started singing. I couldn’t shut you up so I put you in the boot.” he answered.
“And what’s with the duct tape?” Santres asked, now a little calmer.
“Like I said, you were singing.” Dominic replied. “I tell you what, let me make it up to you. Come in for some supper and you can stay the night, I’ll drop you off back home tomorrow morning. Yes?”
“Okay then.” Santres replied.
“I’d better call my family first, they’re probably worried.”
“Don’t worry, I dropped a note in on the way here.”
So the two friends went inside and ate kippers. Meanwhile back at the restaurant, Mrs Pigworth was just coming around after having fainted. She was holding a note which read in giant letters ‘YOUR HUSBAND IS DEAD’ and at the bottom in smaller writing ‘PTO’. When she regained consciousness, her daughter, Sallyford, showed her the back of the note which read ‘… funny. I’m going to show him to my wife. Expect him back home tomorrow. Yours drunkenly, Dominic Fork.’
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