More from the Dinner Party…
Small stainless steel bowls lined the kitchen counter. Filled with meticulously cut up vegetables, each morsel was uniformly diced into bite-sized pieces. Mr. Stiles was fastidious about his meals. His aversion to outré textures exacerbated his pseudodysphagia. Jasper, his concierge and executive chef, knew his way around both a kitchen and his employer’s phobia.
“Ah, your famous paella,” Mr. Stiles said, entering the kitchen soundlessly.
Jasper, accustomed to Mr. Stiles’ stealth, calmly sat down his knife, and wiped his hands on a cloth towel tucked into the waist of his apron. Unflustered by his employer’s unusual intrusion on his domain, Jasper continued about his task of preparing dinner.
“Is there a change you wanted to make in tonight’s menu?” Jasper removed a pan of roasted plum tomatoes from the oven.
“That is not why I am here,” Mr. Stiles said. “I enjoy your carte du jour. No, I’m here to discuss one of our former guests, Mr. Anton Fox.”
Jasper resumed his work while Mr. Stiles selected a bottle from the wine cabinet.
“Mr. Fox is currently incarcerated at Linston State Penitentiary awaiting trial for first-degree murder,” Jasper said.
“Well, I didn’t see that coming,” Mr. Stiles said, chortling at his own joke.
Veering from his routine of always taking meals in the formal dining room, Mr. Stiles requested that Jasper set two places for them at the kitchen island bar.
Once the paella was cooked and plated, Jasper poured them each a glass of Sauvignon blanc before sitting down to update Mr. Stiles on another of his wish beneficiaries.
Anton Fox, ever the opportunist, asked for prescience. He wanted to use the ability to foresee the future to his monetary benefit. Knowing how stocks will perform gave him an investing edge. Sporting events, entertainment awards, political campaigns, anything and everything bookies put odds on, Fox placed bets – and won.
He learned to space out his winnings, occasionally laying money on losers to keep suspicion off him from vice detectives.
Fox was lucky, that was until his gift of foreknowledge showed him visions of his pending death.
Law enforcement paid him little notice, but other gamblers knew who he was, and those less successful were skeptical of his good fortune. One high roller who had hit a rough patch, was increasingly angry at Fox’s skill, and began plotting to stop the winning streak.
After a particularly lucrative night, Fox began getting flashes of his nemesis’ inchoate criminal plans. So strong were the murderous feelings of hatred, that Fox missed the warnings regarding his own future.
Knowing the place and time the attempt on his life would happen, Fox took pre-emptive measures and killed his enemy. Thinking he had taken all precautions, seen every possible way to get caught, Fox walked away from the scene confident the crime could not be traced back to him.
What Fox didn’t account for was his wish grantor taking a cantankerous course and phoning in an anonymous tip about a seemingly perfect crime.
When Jasper finished his update on Fox’s situation, he and Mr. Stiles raised their glasses in a toast to a job well done.