Fire And…. Pancakes
I breathe in once. I breathe in twice. On my third breath I pull my neck back, teeth bared and I exhale really hard. /No fire./ I grit my teeth. You’re not exactly helping here, Verde./ You can’t breathe fire because you lack the proper…. visual aid, yes, visual aid is the word./
I remove the beanie from my head and scratch at the fabric. Explain./ You describe the magic you take from me as ‘strains’, but you do realize that there are no strains? No spoon, so to speak. That ‘strains’ is just a way for your mind to interprete the magic, to render something abnormal and weird more normal and less weird./
I dissemble what Verde just said. You’re saying… it’s like a crutch. As a person with one leg can only walk through the help of a crutch, so must a supernatural employ some kind of visual representation because…. /Because magic in its purest form would drive you insane./ I make a note to gather together my other notes. I know that magic has to with mass, density, healing, the unconscious templates that supernaturals adhere to and other attributes, but I need a more factual overview.
I open my coat a centimeter or two, and look at the tattoo that inches up. The gleipnir. The prison that holds Verde inside my body, the necklace that is a necklace at the same time as it is a tattoo. Representation. Alright, a metaphor for fire.
I will be opening my mouth…. and the atoms and the molecules will spew forth. They will be spewing forth… like a waterfall, a cascade, like vomit. The fire will be orange, orange like a sunset, like carrots, like traffic cones.
I pull two strains from Verde and I breathe. No burst of fire. No melted snow. Not even a little surplus heat. /That was anticlimactic./ Like you could do better./But I can. May I?/ Oh, go ahead. Even expecting it, I still experience a certain amount of fear as Verde takes control of my body.
Verde operates my mouth, and without the effort that I used, white fire erupts from a point about a twenty centimetres from my mouth. And just like that, I am in control of my body. I stare, sullen, as the white fire fizzles out, but not before melting large chunk of snow. The wind brings the rapidly cooling steam against my body, and I sigh./I am sure you will get the hang of it./ Sure.
I try three strains without result.
Four strains, and as I close my mouth, I think I see something pass through the air. A faint haze, like the heatwaves that Nevena can make. I remove one of my gloves and drag it through the air. I can’t be certain that the air is hotter.
Eh, screw this. I drag ten strains, everything I can take from Verde and let it loose. Traffic-cones and waterfalls, traffic-cones and waterfalls. A small gout of flame, the size of a apple flickers and patters out before even reaching the snow. I did it! Did you see that, Verde! /Congratulations, my boy. Now, try to make it larger…./
An hour later I stand in my kitchen, having managed to consistenly being able to produce a burst of flame, yet no bigger than a fruit. Ah well, that’s a task for another day. I glance at my wooden kitchen-table, bought from one of Hermann friends, where my laptop displays several search-tabs about pancakes.
I glance from the table to the oven. Right. I can do this. I mean, I am sixteen. People used to be married at that age, fought wars, grow chesthair and so on. Just because my parents, and later on Hermann have cooked for me all the time, and just because I don’t even know how to boil an egg, well that shouldn’t stop from trying. I look back at the recipe. Flour. Baking powder. Milk. Eggs. A second bag of flour– whole wheat.
Riight. I pour two deciliters of ordinary white flour in a bowl. I add a deciliter of whole-wheat. An egg. Two spoons of baking powder. And I freeze. According to the recipe, I am supposed to add milk ‘at my leisure’. What does that even mean!? I scroll down. It says that the mix should be smooth and flowing. Alright, less is more seems to be the approach here. I grab a whisk and start to stir it.
I frown. My mix isn’t smooth; it’s closer to a paste than the smooth flow the recipe ordains. I add a timble more milk and whip the whisker frantically. My mix becomes smoother and now I start to worry. What if it gets too smooth? Flipping the pancakes would become impossible.
I stop when the consistency of the mix is not quite water, not quite paste. I swipe some sweat from my brow, and start the timer on my oven. I put a frying pan on top of one of the panes wait. I hold one hand over the pan, and when I feel that there is enough heat I grab my pancake-mix and I halt. Whopps. Almost forgot oil.
A minor application of oil and I pour down some pancake-mix. I have checked various search-engines, and I have come to the conclusion that the pancake should spend between thirty to sixty seconds on each side. I grab my phone and start an alarm. At the forty-fifth second I attempt to flip the pancake over, only to fail. At the fiftieth second, I try again, only to fail once more. Third time’s the charm, huh. At the fifty-eight second I manage to flip the pancake over, but I am standing too close, and hot oil spatters my arms.
“Fuuuuck, aaaah”, I roar, oddly satisfied at having managed to flip the pancake over, and yet irritated at the scalding. The next pancake goes easier, and the next after that, I begin to develop a rythm, a rythm that I lose myself in.
And before I know it, I am done. A full plate, stacked, my very own tower of Babel. Yes, I did it, I- RIIIIING.
I look at the fire-alarm, that is screeching. Nooo, what did I do wrong?