The sound of music; The Lion, the witch and the wardrobe; The inn of the sixth happiness

3 things to inspire 1 story written in 20 minutes. #story320
These three movie titles provided by @yvonnefankhanel

The hills were alive the the sounds of clanging metal and crashing wood. Their cacophony was carried through the valleys below.

In a small cottage carved into one of the hillsides, a witch worked, dancing around her cauldron, throwing in many different ingredients. Carrots, leaks, cabbage, potatoes, celery, onions, beats, garlic, beef, venison, and chicken. Using a big spoon she stirred the stew while thinking of the dinner she had been unexpectedly invited to serve at the Inn of the 7th happiness. Or was it the 6th? No time to waste on meaningless details.

As the stew boiled, the witch prepared a basket with breads, butter and jams. Outside she hitched up a scraggly donkey to a cart twice its size. She changed robes, an identical long dark green robe with a hood, and brushed her hair.

The cauldron would be impossibly heavy and hot to carry but she had placed the fire under a steel cart with wheels that could be locked. Unlocking the wheels, she rolled the hot cart with steaming stew out to the donkey cart.

It was dusk, so she’d need to hurry and get down by night fall.

She pulled off a wrench from the back of the donkey cart. By the handle of the smaller stew cart, she clasped the wrench and began turning it, slowly lifting the pot to the level of the donkey cart.

Once at the right height, she pulled herself up to the donkey cart and attached the wrench to another lever, twisting it. This time, two boards extended out from the donkey cart underneath the cauldron, like the tines of a fork gently cradling a pea or shallot.

Shimmying the stew cart under the extended wood planks, she ensured the pot was secure, then she pulled the pot into the back of the donkey cart by reversing the twists with the wrench.

She lifted the stew cart, now cooler, behind the pot and secured the back gate of the donkey cart.

The distance down to the inn was short. Had she walked it would have taken a few minutes but with the full pot of stew, it took her nearly half of an hour.

When she arrived at the inn, the guests and innkeepers were waiting.

“I’ve brought the stew, now we can all eat!”

A few villagers ran around the back of the cart, pointing.

“As we suspected! That cauldron must be 10,000 pounds at least!” said a villager.

“Not quite, but it is heavy.” replied the witch, but nobody noticed.

“She must have had to use witchcraft to lift such a heavy object herself!”

“No, I built this–” started the witch but she didn’t finish because the villagers had grabbed her.

“She’s a witch, trying to poison us with her magic brew! Burn her!”

And so it would be an incredibly long and unnecessary time before machinery was introduced to humans as they burned her, the cart, the donkey and of course, the stew was ruined.

The Chef, Braveheart, Nacho Libre

3 things to inspire 1 story written in 20 minutes. #story320
These three movie titles provided by @refinedcravings

“You may take our lives but you will never take our freedom!” He said, staring at me, breathing hard through his teeth. Saliva was being pushed through his teeth with the ebb and flow of his breath. A snot bubble was beginning to form. He wiped his nose with a hand and wiped his hand on his apron. His other hand rested on a cutting board next to a large knife and some minced garlic.

I chose my words carefully.

“Listen, all I’m saying is that if you use that cutting board for garlic, then you can’t also use it to make the pastries. They’ll all taste like garlic.”

He nodded but the saliva-breath-snot show went on.

“Also,” I continued, “did you watch anything last night? Any movies?”

“Yes.” He seethed.

“Was it a film based in Scotland, by any chance?”

“Yes, why?”

“No reason. Look, why don’t you take the rest of the night off, I’ll cover your shift. Go home, rest, watch something funny.”

“Yes chef!” He grabbed the knife and stabbed it into the cutting board. I flinched and peed a little but nobody noticed. He pushed through the double doors and was gone.

The rest of the kitchen staff came back to life and the hum of the kitchen resumed.

Every chef from line cook to sous chef wants to be set apart, nobody likes their creativity stifled but when you work for a restaurant, you work for the head chef.

He’ll just need to learn to control his nerves and work as a team member.

The next day he walked in calm and collected, but still a little cocky.

The dinner service began and we all worked like a machine; orders were brought in and called out, cooking times were shouted, and the kitchen was a choreographed ballet of fire, food and moving feet.

Then someone ordered dessert. I glanced over at Chef “William Wallace” and saw him shyly peeling garlic. I walked over and he began chopping quickly, too quickly.

“What the hell are you doing, chef? Do you think garlic belongs in every dessert?”

He chopped his pinky tip and it rolled next to the other pieces of garlic.

With a snarl he said, “I am the gatekeeper of my own destiny and I will have my glory day in the hot sun.”