Roasted

To Vinz, there were a few advantages to having a literal flaming skull for a head. One of them was the lack of lacrimal glands.

Now that didn’t mean he couldn’t cry. He didn’t remember how he came to be, just waking up one day in this strange body with a blank mind, and he didn’t know how his physiology worked. But experience had showed that despite his “condition”, he could cry, bleed, and emote in ways a regular old skeleton couldn’t. “Must be some voodoo shit.” Lino once said to him at the orphanage. “Doesn’t matter anyway, right? You’re Vinz, you’re my friend. I don’t care where you come from.”

Vinz’ face shifted in an expression of happiness, his flames taking a bright yellow tint. His roommate always knew what to say to stop him from obsessing over his origins. Maybe he’d find out the truth one day. Hell, if shapeshifting, cold-sensitive aliens were a thing, magic could be real for all he knew. Maybe he’ll look into it.

He shook himself out of his reverie. Right, he was done cutting the onions, now he just had to put them in the oven with the fish and potatoes. He had to practice the actual cooking part of cooking if he wanted to keep his job at Pipo’s.

He closed the oven door,  squinting at the recipe displayed on his phone: “Bake at 425 for about 20 minutes until filets are opaque and flakey. Okay, sounds simple enough.” He glanced at the kitchen clock and frowned. Almost seven PM… Lino would be back from his interview at the sushi place any minute, twenty minutes just weren’t gonna cut it. The fish had to cook faster somewhat.

He let out a hum. Maybe he could cut the baking time in half if he doubled the temperature?

…Yeah, sounds legit.

***

Angelino unlocked the apartment door about five minutes later. “Hey,” Vinz greeted, lifting his eyes off his crossword as his roommate made his way inside. “So how did’t go?”

The shortie greeted him back and flopped into the couch next to him. “T’was fine. They didn’t have a lot of applications so I might actually have a shot this time.”

“Nice. How’s the joint?”

Angelino smiled, bumping his shoulder against Vinz’s. “Pretty good. The boss and hours seem nice enough, and I’ll get an actual bike for the deliveries.” His smile widened, turning smug. “The waitresses are hot, too.”

Vinz ignored the brief twisting in his guts. “Yeah?”

“Yup. I think they like me. Called me kurobetta.”

“Wazzat mean?”

“Dunno, black-something. I’ll look it up later.”

The hothead rolled his eyes, playfully elbowing his friend. God he’s such a flirt. “Whatever, Don Juan. Anyway, you hungry? I made fish, should be ready in a few.”

Lino’s head tilted to the right, his gaze focusing somewhere above Vinz’s flaming skull. He raised an eyebrow. “Is that why the oven’s smoking?”

“Wha-”

Vinz almost snapped his neck to look behind him; thick black smoke was pouring out of the oven and gathering under the kitchen ceiling. He eyes widened, yellow irises reduced to bright pinpricks. “Holy shit!”

“Yeah, I smelled it when I got into the building, but I didn’t say anything cuz I thought you were handling it-”

“Shut up and open the window!” the skeleton shrieked, bolting towards the kitchen.

He grabbed the oven handle, yanked it open, and wow okay that’s a lot of smoke. Good thing his eyes weren’t affected by stuff like this. His throat, however…

He stumbled back into the living room hacking his lungs out, wondering how he managed to fuck up such as simple as grilled fish. Lino was standing in front of the open window, his inky black face a mix of amusement and concern. But mostly amusement. “You still suck at cooking, Vinny.”

Vinz glared at him. “Shut up,” he wheezed, “And don’t call me that. If you call me Vinny, I’m calling you, like, Angel or something.”

Angelino just beamed. “Are you saying I’m heavenly? What a charmer.”

The hothead groaned and turned away, flames turning a lovely shade of green. “Ugh, forget it. I’m going to check the damage.”

It didn’t look good. In fact, it looked as good as the charred remains of a fish corpse could. Which was not good at all.

“Damn.” said Lino, peering over his shoulder. “What’d that fish do to you?”

Vinz sighted. “That was supposed to be dinner. We don’t have anything else.” The fridge was empty and the deli was definitely closed by now. Great, this is just great.

Angelino hummed. “Must be something left. Lemme check.”

The young man went for the cupboards while his bony roommate mourned over his culinary failure. At the third cupboard he went still, his brain trying to process the information. After a few second, he chuckled and turned to Vinz with a devious glint in his eyes. “Hey Vinz! Do we have skewers or something?”

***

“I can’t believe this.”

“Sure you can. Hold still, this one’s not done yet.”

Vinz was sitting cross-legged on the floor, his back propped up against the couch. And on said couch was his best friend, holding marshmallow skewers above his skull.

Angelino was using his flames as a makeshift barbecue. This was… kind of humiliating.

“You owe me for this. Big time.” he grumbled, munching on his chocolate-free, crackers-free s’more. Lino shrugged. “Hey, you’re the one who burned our food to a crisp. I appreciate the attempt buddy, I really do, but let me do the cooking next time, okay?”

The skeleton huffed, choosing to focus on the shitty B-movie playing in front of him. Whatever. One day he’d manage to cook something edible.

Maybe.

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