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XVII
Friendly Kakapo

xxx“I’m deconstructing.”
xxx“I told you not to eat the mushrooms!”
xxx“Haha, no I’m having a three course Last Supper.”
xxx“But you’ve four nights to go yet, he said, not without impatience.”
xxx“That’s the point. Three capitals, three courses; a meal in instalments. Then a farewell finisher.”
xxx“You are completely and utterly bonkers, you do know that?”
xxx“Of course — that’s why you love me.”
xxx“I don’t suppose they’ll be typical dishes of Scandinavia?”
xxx“Not really, but they are rehearsals for what I’m going to cook for you on Tuesday.”
xxx“But you’re back on Saturday.”
xxx“I know. When you’re taking me out for a light supper on the way from the airport. After that you don’t think I’m letting you out of the bedroom for a day or two, do you?”
xxx“Well if you insist. So no meatballs till Tuesday.”
xxx“I had something more like a tornado in mind.”
xxx“So what’s the starter?”

xxxThe starter was to be her own invention, and the first problem with that was finding a ripe avocado. He  had wittily said he wondered if she’d be able to ‘af-fjord’ one, which made her think a gag would be a better sex aid than the ropes Jamie Gower was last seen experimenting with. Maybe this was a step too far for Epifanea’s tastes or maybe that one overwhelming orgasm had cleared her mind, blown away accumulating cobwebs. For whatever reason, the dire prose and banal attempts to represent feelings and sensations now overrode any hope of stimulation.
xxxWell, she’d achieved the avocado anyway, a nice black-skinned Hass just softening and now nestling in her rucksack, as she strolled through the park. Heavens, even Vigeland’s statuesque but chunky nudes had more sensuous passion than Ms Gabrielle’s turgid writing. She took a few carefully framed snaps to send him later.
xxxEpifanea Tredwell was always drawn to water. She took the tram back to the National Theatre and strolled leisurely to the pier, to sit alone with frites and beer, and watch the ferries come and go.
xxxShe placed her bag on the table, regarded her exorbitantly priced avocado and grapefruit. She’d have preferred a pomelo but dreaded to think what one would have cost. Still she’d enjoyed wondering around the vast Market Hall and picked up a few snacks, as an avocado, however attractively presented, would hardly satisfy. She’d checked that olive oil and black peppercorns were available in her host’s kitchen, and even spotted some blanched almonds.
xxxIn front of the copper clock tower a couple holding hands stared into one another’s eyes. She sent him a charming photo of time and love, and captioned it, Aah, memories. He was busy at work but found time to call her a romantic cynic.
Or was she a cynical romantic? He knew she wasn’t overly serious.

She’s getting on the ferry
So sweet

She’ll be back?

I think so, yeah
If she’s any sense

 

xxx“What is a kakapo?”
xxxEppy’s host for the night, Bodhild, was intrigued.
xxx“It’s a flightless parrot from New Zealand. Very endangered — wiped out by rats and stuff on the mainland, once humans brought them in. Very cute, like a green feathery teddy bear.”
xxxEppy found pictures online and showed them to Bodhild, who was also both moved and amused.
xxx“And now you eat one! Cruel!”
xxxThey both laughed. Eppy explained that she’d once found a ‘friendly dog’ in an American children’s cookbook, an arrangement of poached pear half head, prune ears, and raisin eyes and nose. This in turn inspired her to create her own amusing concoction.
xxx“First I cut the avocado in half and take out the stone. Then carefully remove the skin. I’ll sprinkle a little lemon juice on it to stop it going brown.”
She laid the pear-shaped halves in two shallow bowls. Near the narrow end of each, she made a small lengthwise slit.
xxx“Beak!” she said, pushing a blanched almond into place; “and eyes.”
xxxShe added two black peppercorns either side of the nuts.
xxx“Oh, how cute,” said Bodhild. “It has wings?”
xxx“Of course; and feet — that’s where the grapefruit comes in.”
xxxEppy took two segments of the fruit, removed the outer membrane, and cut two half-moons to make the wings, trimming a little off the sides of the avocado halves so they’d lie flat against them. A similar trim gave a flat base, against which she placed two smaller citrus feet.
xxx“At home I use a firmer fruit called a pomelo, if I can get it. For the wings anyway — it’s a bit greener too — and maybe tangerines or satsumas to provide nice orange feet. But all we need now is the dressing.”
xxxShe squeezed juice out of the remaining grapefruit and put it in an old yoghurt pot with a little sugar and salt, and as much olive oil as there was juice. She put the lid on and shook it violently, much to her host’s amusement, before pouring a little over each parrot.
xxx“A grind of black pepper over the top, and there they are — my friendly kakapos. Would you care to join me?”
xxx“Really? I would love it! You are sure?”
xxx“Of course. I was only practicing to make it for my boyfriend next week. If you were not here, I would eat them both. But they would be too much, to be honest. One is just right.”
xxx“He is a lucky man,” said Bodhild, as Epifanea took photos of her handiwork.
“I like to think so. And maybe I’m not so unfortunate, myself”
xxx“And then I will make something main course for us,” said Bodhild, giving her guest a spontaneous hug.
xxxEppy smiled and returned her new friend’s embrace. She couldn’t help thinking what this would lead to in the world of Janey Gower. She was happy that all it would lead to in her world was a friendly supper and a late but solitary night.