Chef Assassin’s Plan B

Haunted
Chuck Palahniuk
Chapter 14

Plan B
A Poem About Chef Assassin

“To become a household word,” says Chef Assassin, “all you need is a rifle.”
This he learned early, watching the news. Reading the paper.

Chef Assassin standing onstage, he wears those black-and-white-checkered pants
that only professional cooks get to wear.
Billowing big, but still stretched tight to cover his ass.
His hands, his fingers, a patchwork of scabs and scars. Shiny old burns.
His white shirtsleeves rolled up,
and all the hair singed off the muscle of his forearms.
His thick arms and legs that don’t bend
so much as they fold at the knee and elbow.

Onstage, instead of a spotlight, a movie fragment flickers:
where two close-up hands, the fingernails clean and the palms perfect
as a pair of pink gloves,
they skin a chicken breast.
His face, a round screen, lost under a layer of fat, his mouth lost under the pastry brush
of a little mustache,
Chef Assassin says, “That’s my backup plan.”

The Chef says, “If my garage band never gets a record contract—”
if his book never finds a publisher—
if his screenplay never gets a green light—
if no network picks up his pilot episode—
The Chef, his face worms and twitches with those perfect hands:
skinning and boning,
pounding and seasoning,
breading and frying and garnishing,
until that piece of dead flesh looks too pretty to eat.

A gun. A scope. Good aim and a motorcade.
What he learned as a kid, watching the news on television, every night.
“So I’m not forgotten,” the Chef says.
So his life isn’t wasted.
He says, “That’s my Plan B.”

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