Iron Chef: Improv Challenge
The tension used to mount under the task lighting that flicked on whenever he addressed her. She wanted to be head chef of her every word, gesture off any wild card ingredient he brought to counter what she meant. She learned to stay her tongue when some ballsy leading question would come, a glib line fishing for whatever panting breath of sunfish he could land, or dark trout of doubt he could pull out. He knew nothing of her, except what she disclosed unconsciously as to a fortuneteller.
She learned to season her response, sprinkling their conversations with a grain of salt. She learned to curb the rush --"doth protest too much" gushing through her larynx. No thrash, no wordless oh-oh-oh, no clipped swift disappearance escaping him, no brush off with a sigh. His filleting knife gestured too fast against empty air where she had been.
Instead of an adversary to trip her up, he would be a secret ingredient that made her distinctive -- she would blueballs and soursop him -– his custard apples dribbling juicy turns, or pelted at her, hard, green, she would catch what he cast her way and craft a veggie stew of the same fruitful ideas, geographies of textures, potential to exploit. Knife looser in hand, concerns set aside, she breathed in the tropical scent of this victory, nervous sweat beading his brow when she eyed him with new appraising calm.