It’s likely that no one has ever described Marsden Creek as ‘progressive’. The wives still cook the meals and the men go to work. However, in 1982 a young woman named Cathy Pringle broke free of the shackles of her gender and became the greatest chef the town had ever known. It didn’t end well, though.
The Nine Greatest Deaths in the History of Marsden Creek: 6
By Nick Lachmund
For the ‘To the Nines’ Award Part 4
In 1962 Cathy was born, the third child in her family. Her father was a violent, drunken bastard that hospitalised her mother more than once. Her mother was a helpless victim blinded by her ‘love’ for the aforementioned drunken bastard. Even in her early years, Cathy resented her mother’s loyalty to her father. She couldn’t understand why she stayed with him. Her fantasies about a better life always started with her dad dying. Unlike her siblings, Cathy felt nothing but hatred for her father. She left home at 15.
A highschool dropout with a chip on her shoulder made Cathy somewhat unemployable. Stuart Pearson was the chef at a local restaurant and gave Cathy a try. The truth was that Cathy had a tight arse and Stuart hoped that she would be grateful enough to blow him for the job. She was grateful, but not that grateful. She became Stuart’s kitchen hand and worked hard. Cathy wanted to prove herself in a kitchen full of men. She rejected the advances from Stuart and the others and studied everything to do with cooking. At the age of seventeen she decided that she needed to start her own restaurant. She would show the whole town what she could do.
The fateful night that we join Cathy was the opening of her restaurant. The ‘Green Olive’ opened at 7pm and every seat was filled with town folk, eager to see what Marsden Creek’s first female head chef had in store for them. But Cathy was only really interested in one table that night. She reserved a table for four and sent invitations to her family. Cathy had a peek from the kitchen to make sure that they were there. She couldn’t wait to see her father’s face when he realised she was a greater success than he was. She saw all four seats occupied and went back to making sure the entrees were ready.
Overall, the night was a great success. Cathy had wooed the small town crowd with her sophisticated, gourmet menu. It was unlike anything most of them had eaten. When the head waiter introduced her to the crowd, she entered the dining room and the applause started. Cathy looked at her family table. It was the first time in years that she had seen them. Her older brothers had aged but looked the same. Her mum looked pretty and happy, made up and dressed in her best outfit. Her dad looked different, though. His eyes were bright and he looked more alive than she remembered. He looked sober. He didn’t look like the drunk that she ran away from.
A sense of panic settled upon Cathy. She didn’t know why, but she felt an urge to run. Her dad applauded loudly and smiled. He was proud. That was the issue. The bastard was actually proud. What did he have to be proud of? He drove her away and nearly ruined her fucking life. He had no right to be proud. Cathy’s intense stare broke as she felt the warmth of a single tear landing on her cheek. She couldn’t let him see her cry. Cathy quickly made her way back to the kitchen, leaving the guests confused by her reaction. When the kitchen door closed behind her, the tears really began to flow. She heard the door open and close behind her.
A hand touched her shoulder and she turned to see her father. He had a kind expression and asked if she was okay. Cathy felt a rage, long supressed, explode within her. A bubbling sound behind her caught her attention. One of her trainees had left a pot of oil bubbling on the stove. Without further thought, Cathy turned and picked up the pot. It turned in her hand slightly as she swung it towards her dad. Most of the oil hit him, though, and his face began to melt. His skin began to drip to the floor as the kitchen filled with people responding to his blood curdling screams. Cathy’s mother eventually got in and threw herself upon her husband, screaming for someone to do something. But nothing could be done. His face was on the floor and his screams and breathing had stopped.
After the initial shock passed, the police were called. One thing made no sense to them. Everyone they spoke to remembered seeing Cathy’s dad on the ground, but none remembered seeing Cathy. In fact, no one saw her after she threw the pot. It was as if she had disappeared. To this day, no one has ever worked out what happened to Cathy. Well, no one except for your humble narrator. But more about that later. Just know this, Cathy melted the face off her reformed alcoholic father because she didn’t know how to react to his pride. Even I think that’s a bit of an overreaction. I think that makes it worthy of a spot on our list. Don’t you?