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Havana in the spring. Oh god, what air! What delicate breezes tantalize the cillia in my nostrils! Fanciful and artistic is the plate of the gourmand which I see before me. Eight gentle, quivering prawns lay in rows of two apiece; their skins punctured in precise designs with the tines of solid silver prawning forks each the size of the perfect half-moon crescent of my right pinky nail.
Were I to lightly sniff the fetid aroma wafting upward from the eight glistening prawns, my senses would be overcome with pleasure. As it is, I am content to merely give them the occasional sidelong glance as I prepare to rupture their dainty hides with my prawning spoon.
O joy!
Already I can imagine how it will look when I have lifted the first perfectly-coiffured piece to my lips and tested its bouquet with appropriately flared nostrils. Its greenish transluscent hide is mottled with the purplish flecks that indicate it is at its peak of ripeness. When this prawn was plucked from the cool underbelly of the deepsea prawning mine off the coast of Maui, its prime condition insured it a place at a table of opulence and luxury.
In my mind I compose a quick sketch for the series of haiku I am planning to write for my eight gleaming prawns on the anniversary of their consumption one year hence:
fragile transluscence
a bed of crushed minty ice
transported you thus
febrile, shivering
i squandered my reluctance
and partook of thee
such feminine curves
pregnant, elegant, for this:
I paid eight pieces of gold
Heavenly Father
would that you could touch the joy
of a single prawn.
Hector would be proud of my haiku. I heave a great and cavernous sigh; Hector is no more. But proud he would be, gazing across the table into mine eyes as with soft movements we each of us lift a bit of prawn high, higher, higher, until with bated breath and half-lidded eyes, we place these delicate gems of perfection onto our waiting tongues and let our scented lungs unfill slowly to coat the surrounding air in tender beauty.
“Yes, what IS it, Paolo?”
I am startled from my reverie by the sudden appearance of my houseboy. He tells me one of the priests is at the door and wishes to speak to me regarding the recent uprisings.
“Not today; not today Paolo,” I say to him casually, though my insides are roiling with irritation. I must scan the markets for a new servant. I will inform Jackery on the morrow. A manservant should know better than to disturb his master when he is a’prawning.
I wave him away with one bejeweled hand. He turns on his lithe little foot and begins to saunter out toward the kitchen. He really is saucy–I can’t believe I have allowed it to continue for this long. Really, he should be whipped with salt-scythe. That was the fate Jackery suffered Wednesday last upon failing to adequately stock my bedchamber with chilled prawn extracts in the event of my waking up with a Night Terror.
Still. Paolo has his ways. And after all, Reinalda Gimlet will be here in approximately 6 minutes. Dear Rinny always serves to lighten my mood. “Paolo,” I say, reconsidering my harsh salt-scythe thoughts and giving him a kindly glance to ease his spirit, “fetch a carafe of the 1967 Alejandrianza and the cut crystal goblets shaped like prawns that Rinny favors–ask Jackery if you’ve forgotten which ones again.”
“As you wish,” Paolo says, curtseying slightly and litheley slithering out of the room. I should never have given him that robe of prawn-silk: even though I upgraded the rest of the staff, I should have left Paolo in his cotton blend. The prawn silk makes him much to stealthy for my liking. I imagine Paolo prowling the halls of my ornate mansion in the night, creeping perhaps even into my bedchamber–
I am startled from yet another reverie by the arrival of Jackery, who informs me that Lady Gimlet is waiting in the antechamber.
“Fanciful harlot!” I greet her jubilantly, walking eagerly into the greeting-hall, my dressing gown flaring behind me like a daunting silk balloon, “I was just sitting down to a sampling of my latest prawn shipment! Do you care to join me?”

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