It was almost time to start. The coolers had been checked and re-checked; the ribs and tri-tip had been marinating for the past three night, and Sinetway had just checked the balance for the chicken rub this morning. If the gauges on his giant cast iron smoker were to believed (and he knew they were), he could start at any time.
They other cooks were also starting to figure it out, less talk of other jobs. More attention to the work space. It was a subtle shift, but not to an Impudite. The grills were the top of the chain now.
The demon already knew he would be the best unless one of Haagenti’s get turned up. I loss would sting, but learning when someone important had come to town was always information worth having.
‘Sin’ chuckled. Most of the demons in town were convince he was a Glutton. And well they should. He’d worked hard to build up his image. A day rarely went by without him throwing something on the grill; even his real boss would have a hard time finding fault with Sin’s daily routine.
Cooking itself become something of a blur. Even a demon couldn’t rest on their laurels when Kinder’s had volunteered one of their lead tasters as a judge. Sinetway chided himself for not noticing when the man showed up. Polished, professional, playing up the riverboat aesthetic, complete with white linen suit and bolo tie.
Something about the man’s slicked back hair and piercing gaze was sharp – too sharp. He was kinfolk. Invisible before, but impossible to miss now. Sintway couldn’t quite identify the Song, but the scene was almost comical. Sin tried to remember if any Jester’s had moved into town, they could be a nightmare during a grill.
“You look to be the best cook here,” the stranger said.
“Sure am,” Sinetway noticed the stranger avoided the word ‘man’ – possibly a Balseraph. They’re almost as particular about the truth as Seraphim when they’re not lying their asses off. “I am the master of the pit.”
Pride tinged Sin’s voice. And why not, shit talk and egoism was part of the tradition, whether dealing with another cook or visitor from below.
“No doubt in my mind,” the stranger grinned and patted Sin on the arm – the Impudite wondered when the other demon had gotten so close. “Especially not now. Mind if I take one of these ribs to go? I haven’t eaten real pig in ages.”
Sin nodded, feeling a little out of sorts. Something was different, wrong, heavy. His feet seemed to sink into the ground. The cooking pit shuddered. Then the screaming began and the world was awash in fire and soot.
Strange power coursed through the cook. He looked frantically for the stranger, beginning to guess what had happened.
The world exploded again.