Friends exchange cooking secrets at an alien dinner party
|Stepping away from the buffet table, Calnos' appetizer plate overflowed with goodies; yellow orbs glowing like stars, green translucent wedges, and a trembling orange pudding that begged to be slurped between his incisors. Using his oscillator tentacle as a barrier, he was barely able to keep the delicacies from sliding to the floor as he searched for an opening in the crowd, finally settling for a spot along the wall. Dozens of people milled about, waiting for their place in the buffet line or wriggling their tentacles to the somber tunes of the kaleidoscopic oboe band.
He selected a wee doughnut-shaped pastry swirling in shades of chartreuse and umber, and popped the dainty in his secondary orifice, savoring the almost overwhelming flavor of angst with a hint of sorrow and dill.
“Mmm”, he closed his eyes, relishing the experience. Vikor-lok slithered alongside as he popped another tidbit in his mouth, rolling the pastry across his tongue until it exploded in a gel of pleasure.
“Have you tried these puffs?” Vikor asked. “I don't know how Nixtor does it, but his little tastings are to die for.”
“I know,” Calnos agreed with a bob of his eye stalk. He took another bite caressing the flavors of surprise and shame and the subtle hint of sea salt across his upper tongue. “He is, without a doubt, the Czar of the kitchen.”
Silently, Calnos and Vikor-lok nibbled at their plates, each bite another dive into an ecstasy of flavor. Finally, Calnos popped a last meatball topped cracker into his mouth, his' mood souring as he examined his empty plate. “Hmph, that was over far too quickly."
Vikor considered him with one eye stalk as he licked the last bits of flavor from his own tentacles. “I know” he said. “We definitely need another helping.”
The long line at the buffet hinted at the futility of such notions. Nixtor's parties were well attended and rarely was there an opportunity for seconds.
Glancing across the room, Calnos spotted Nixtor, wrapping oscillators with that bitch Kosta-Oh. “Let’s go give Nixtor our compliments,” Calnos suggested and together they snaked through the crowd to their host.
Nixtor was a mountain of a Vigalian with tentacles the envy of most and a complexion the glowing shade of periwinkle. “Vikor-lok, Calnos! Darlings!” Nixtor slithered up, oscillating against them kindly.
“You have outdone yourself again,” Vikor said.
“I don't know how you do It,” Calnos added. “Every triasta you produce a buffet that exceeds the last.”
Nixtor’s throat sac grew yellow with embarrassment. Then he leaned in, drawing them close with a tentacle. “Would you like to know the secret?” Nixtor asked, his eye stalks vibrating excitedly.
Both Vikor and Calnos waved a tentacle in ascent.
“Well then, come with me, my darlings.”
Leaving the noise and conversation behind, Nixtor led them through a series of halls and passages arriving at last in front of a plain looking door.
“You are two of my very best friends,” Nixtor said, his eye stalks considering them seriously, “so I swear you both to secrecy.” Tapping the access code, the door slid soundlessly open.
Inside Nixtor's kitchen were the usual stoves, ovens, blenders and other appliances found on the ship. But along the far wall were rows and rows of tubes. Inside each bubbled a clear amber fluid. Floating within these fluids were naked humans. The species was limited to two sexes, but Nixtor had a collection of both in his tanks, even a selection of younglings.
“Now my friends, for the secret.” Nixtor’s throat sac puffed excitedly. “I have a system for getting exactly what I want out of people.” He approached one of the tubes gingerly flicking on the switches beneath.
Lights hummed inside a tube holding a male and one holding a female. Eyes fluttering open, the occupants came awake staring about wide-eyed and frantic. Upon seeing each other, they tried to touch, hands pressed desperately against the glass walls.
“The secret I've found,” said Nixtor, “is to catch them in pairs. It seems that in pairs their flavor is enhanced.”
Reaching beneath the tube, Nixtor adjusted the settings, causing the lights in the tubes to strobe. Inside, the prisoner's bodies spasmed in wide mouthed silence.
Nixtor held a clear bowl beneath the tubes, capturing the flaxen colored nectar dripping from chrome ended nozzles. He held out a bowl to Calnor, then filled a second and passed it to Vikor.
Calnor eyed widened as he held a tentacle over the bowl and sniffed at the essence. Then he poured the contents into his mouth, shocked at the piercing ebullience of flavor.
“Oh, my word!” exclaimed Calnor. “That is deviiine!”
“Yes, isn't it,” Nixtor agreed. “I find that the emotional extract is so much more vibrant if you capture them together and extract from the pairs while both are awake.”
Flicking the switches beneath the tubes, their occupants falling again into hibernation as the lights within dimmed.
“Nixtor, I would love to help you with your next triasta buffet,” Calnor offered, as Nixtor led them from the room.
Nixtor flicked off the lights and closed the door behind them. “Oh now darling, I'm not going to give away all my secrets."