Umami | Jason Fink

 


Umami

By Jason Fink

The Never Been Pissed Award


 

I sat as the lamp shattered on the wall next to my head. There was no flinching; I’d seen it coming and knew that it would not hit me. They never did.

“What is wrong with you?” The screaming was intense, but pointless. Volume would not change things, and soon enough there would be silence. Curiously, I found the silence quite pleasant after one of their rages, as it was akin to my ears popping after landing on a long flight. The world sounded just a little bit clearer for a bit.

I steepled my fingers, watching as it became harder for this subject to move. Each one was a bit different, be it in timing, in lethargy or in acceptance. Some just decided to give in, others, like this one, fought with everything they had, but it was no use really. I’d found that, while many fight, very few are willing to cross the line to actually injure another human being, much less kill one.

Even after the meal, the one where they would find an eye or a finger or a kidney hidden in the stew on their plate, the one in which the finely ground sleeping pills I’d used as seasoning would take hold, dulling their senses, even after that they tended to have a moral line they could not cross. Once the hidden delicacy of the long pig was revealed, and the disgust began to percolate on their weary faces, I would explain what was happening.

Many tried to flee – a useless gesture as the windows were sealed and the biometric locks were keyed only to me. Often, fighting and screaming came next, as ineffectual as that was. Each time I found myself wondering if I would do the same, if I had a hidden sense of self-preservation, and each time I decided that I did not.

While occasionally obtaining a bruise or cut, the drugs generally did their work in due course, leaving me unharmed and my next meal incapacitated. Why did I tell them before they were fully in their stupor?

The fear of course.

It makes the meat more savory.

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