Short Fiction

You're the Sauce
Matt Johnson
February 18, 2002

The banquet hall was filling up, and Mike Miller felt excited in his new, stylish clothes—black slacks, new polished Redwings with new black socks, and a black jacket with gray pinstripes over a clean white shirt and a vibrant blue and gold necktie with jagged stripes. Mike always felt confident when he looked good, and his clothing made him feel more relaxed about addressing the crowd tonight.

The catering staff came through the large double doors with their steaming trays of food—baked potatoes, mixed vegetables, and fettuccini with a rich, thick tomato and roasted garlic sauce. The guest speakers were invited to serve themselves first from the buffet table, and Mike stepped in line behind a woman wearing a white business suit and a clean white skirt. Mike grabbed a dish and served himself some salad as the woman dished up her pasta from one steaming tray with a pair of tongs and then poured herself some sauce with a ladle from a large steaming pot.

Wait a minute.

The sauce from the ladle didn't pour down onto the pasta. Instead, defying gravity, it poured sideways and splattered on the woman's suit. She shrieked as the searing sauce seeped through her garments and burned her skin.

That sauce! Mike thought in panic as he started to back away. It couldn't be!

A few staff members crowded around the woman, and one started to mop up the mess on her clothes with a damp washcloth. In the confusion, one server banged his elbow on the side of the saucepot and the entire metal implement turned over.

Mike knew what was coming and he turned to run out of the dining hall. The pot hit the tiled floor with a clang, but the sauce never touched the ground. Instead, it flew into the air and soared across the room in a dozen different directions, aiming at anyone with a clean, expensive garment. The blobs of sauce plowed into neatly dressed guests and soiled them, many of whom started to howl in agony, more from their ruined clothes than from being burned. One particularly large blob of sauce flew straight at Mike, but he was through the double doors before it reached him. He slammed the doors shut as he heard the red stuff splatter against the other side.

Mike heaved a sigh of relief, but he started moving again when he saw the tomato gravy oozing under the doors and through the cracks. He was down the hall with a healthy lead as the sauce was finally through the door, and started flying after him. Mike rounded one corner and another hoping to outrun the Italian delicacy, but the sauce was gaining on him steadily.

Mike burst through another pair of double doors and found himself in a steaming kitchen. Chefs wearing white aprons and hairnets were busy preparing desserts and a meal for another banquet that would start in an hour. Mike ducked behind a long counter just as the sauce burst through the swinging doors. The chefs turned and one screamed at the floating delicacy as it hung in midair and pondered the situation. The sauce was tempted to soil the clean white aprons of the stunned kitchen staff, but they were cheap and the sauce was eager to ruin Mike's new suit. It glided over the counter and failed to notice Mike crouched on the floor.

Mike jumped to his feet and was about to run for the door when the sauce whirled around and shot right back at him. Mike jumped out of the way as the viscous substance grazed his hair and whipped back around to take another shot at him. He dashed to the other side of the kitchen and spotted a colander full of steaming pasta next to the sink. Thinking quickly, he grabbed it and whirled around to face the blob of pasta as it rushed at him. He shielded his face with the bowl of pasta as the sauce hit it dead on. Screaming in agony, the malicious condiment became a tame entrée. Mike set the dish down and wiped his sweaty brow. The sauce was immobilized at last, and his clothes were still spotless.

The chefs applauded Mike as he made his way back to the double doors. However, before he could wonder how this perspiration would affect his stylish new clothes, several strips of bacon dripping with grease rose out of a nearby pan, and a large chocolate cake rose off the counter and started to advance on him. Mike rolled his eyes and ran through the doors into the hallway.

The chase was on again.

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