The Integrity of the Super Club [Beta version]
Crickets chirped their chipper songs to the stars over Thugwood. Rover and Quintegrity walked down the street through the residential neighborhood on their way to the local grocer.
Dinner would be a grandiose affair that Wenno-day evening.
The couple crossed the cable bridge over the Gubbuh-Plardy River. Their path was illuminated by the bridge’s streetlamps, as well as the headlamps of passing vehicles.
“You’ll get to meet my parents tonight,” Rover said, watching his phone as he played Glove Alien Fight; the standard game, not using the augmented reality.
In front of Rover, Quintegrity’s slow high-step marching and exaggerated arm swings kept to a steady, funky groove that bumped its beat through her brain.
“I’m looking forward to it very much,” she replied, not altering her forward march.
“To be honest,” Rover told her, gripping his phone tighter as he defeated a Boogeyman Drunkard in the game, earning magnesium coins, “I’m a little worried. My family is full of picky eaters. I’m kinda picky, too, but not as bad as the rest of them.”
“It won’t be a problem.”
“I don’t know… You don’t understand how my family is.”
Quintegrity stopped walking. She turned around and blasted Rover with the energy from her most powerful “thumbs-up and bold smile” combo. It halted the boy in his tracks.
“I told you we’ve got this!” Her sunniness beamed through the boy. “Their socks shall be knocked right off.”
The attitude shockwave from the girl’s confidence alone was enough to chase away rifle-toting vultures from a roadkill buffet. However, Rover was no vulture…he was a Chork, and he wasn’t backing down.
He pocketed his phone. “Mom is happy she won’t be cooking tonight, that’s for sure. I’m not saying this’ll be a bad thing.”
Continuing with her high-step march to the funk music in her head, Quintegrity gestured toward the sky, bridge, river below, all of Thugwood, and pretty much everything…all with sweeping arm motions that appeared almost like she was stretching after a lazy nap.
*Step. Step. Step. Step.*
“Take a look around,” she told Rover in a serene voice, her multiple shadows stretching as they passed the last streetlamp on the bridge and as a Bun Gator truck rushed by. “Feel the rhythm of the world as reality’s favorite band strikes up a funky beat. That’s how you know which dance to do and which beat to step to.”
The sidewalk widened past the bridge, and Rover took the opportunity to move next to Quintegrity as she continued her in-tempo strides.
He gave her a flat look. “Is that your way of saying to just go with the flow?”
“It is.” She smiled at him as they approached the grocery store parking lot. “You just gotta tune in to the rhythm of life, and go with the funk-a-tronic boogie that flows through everything!”
Rover listened to the crickets. He looked at the starlit sky. Quintegrity’s words kinda made sense to him, though, as if he could sense this “boogie” in the scenery around him.
He chuckled. “I always knew each member of my family had their own ways of going through life. Their own ‘songs,’ as you might say, never made much sense to me, or to each other…but sometimes I think there’s a common theme among our tunes.”
They stopped walking, the glow of the grocery store’s signs painting their faces with iridescent florescence, their neon hums adding to the symphonic cricket cacophony.
Curious and intrigued, Quintegrity looked at Rover.
“What do you mean?” she asked.
The boy thought for a moment. “Well, it’s like how everyone is different. That would mean that everyone has their own groove, right?”
She nodded. “Mm-hmm.”
“But there are people who have the same songs on their playlists as other people,” Rover continued. “Like, they listen to some of the same stuff. Like this funky groove you talk about. It’s unique for some, but many of us share the same tunes from time to time…ya know?”
“Yeah, I think I understand.” Quintegrity grinned. “You get it!”
“If so,” Rover added, “with my knowledge of my family, and you, uh…being you…then we’ll cook them up something that matches everyone’s dinner rhythm!”
All this talk about the funky boogie throughout the universe was hard for Rover to comprehend, and he still held skepticism toward pleasing his family’s palate.
I think I’m not just spouting nonsense, and that I’m actually offering insight to what Quintegrity’s saying.
Yet, amid his doubt and nervousness, he held out his hand for his girlfriend to take.
Without missing a beat, Quintegrity took her boyfriend’s hand.
“For sure!” she replied happily. “Just imagine…every song in the world on your playlist! Then there will never be a moment of misunderstanding!”
At that, they hurried toward the grocery store entrance.
The automatic doors slid open.
Rows of possibilities were lined up before them where arrays of ingredients and foodstuffs were waiting. Quintegrity danced amid the aisles, twirling and springing as she grabbed the items and placed them in their shopping baskets.
Parsnips and parsley! Arugula and artichokes! Beef flanks and beet filling! Chicken and chutney! Potatoes and tomatoes! Carrots! Onions! Garlic! Thugwoodian allspice!
“MOARRR!!!” Quintegrity cackled as she raided and paraded, stuffing and stashing nary a missed ingredient into their baskets. Really, they each carried three baskets on each arm, filled to spilling at any moment.
Rover offered to pay with the Adamantite credit card his parents lent to him for the occasion, but Quintegrity swiftly beat him to the punch with her superior Mythril credit card.
The cashier man scanned each item like the good robot he was paid to be.
Quintegrity didn’t even flinch at the total price racking up as she brandished her Mythril card.
And they hurried back to Rover’s home.
*Chop chop chop!*
*Grate. Grate. Grate.*
Quintegrity’s knife-work showcased her remarkable sleight of hand. The blade caught the lights in the Chork household kitchen, appearing as flickering glints of radiance in the midst of fillet-slaying, veggie-eviscerating movements.
Rover sped around, matching the girl’s movements, sorting through the prepped food and throwing them into appropriate skillets, pots, pans, ice baths, and wave-cookers. His skills at motion-capture arcade games were very handy around the kitchen.
The steaks and chicken fillets hit the hot oil in the pans, searing the marinated scents right out of them and into the air.
“Mmm, smells good!” Dad commented as he passed by the kitchen.
Juices and spices dripped from the skewers and into the mini charcoal grill, sending their olfactory previews wafting about the house.
“There are great things happening in here,” Mom sang as she passed by the kitchen.
The top crusts of multiple pies and pastries crisped and flaked in the oven, pumping the sweet aromas of caramel and berries and cocoa into the environment.
“Oh wow, I can’t wait!” Adele remarked as she passed by the kitchen.
And that was only half of the feast!
Rover and Quintegrity scrambled, flambéed, and fricasseed. Confits of garlic and duck and pork belly were assembled in ways Rover had never seen on plates as Quintegrity stacked towers of gravity-defying entrées. Medleys of greens and peppers and gourds were drizzled with rivulets of seasoned oils Quintegrity had never imagined would make complimentary pairings as Rover blended and upended daring vinaigrettes with chilled villainy of tasty treasures.
Thus, the full spread of fixings were completed within minutes of each other. Nothing hot had gone cold; nothing cold had melted. The timing was perfect.
The couple high-fived, and then they set the dinner table.
One-by-one, everything was laid out in front of the wide-eyed, water-mouthed family.
Feeling triumphant and proud, Rover took his seat.
However, Dad watched as Quintegrity sat next to Rover, and he smirked at his son.
“So, tell me,” Dad said to Rover, his face loaded with more mischief than the baked potatoes were loaded with bacon, chives, bourbon salt, black pepper, and garlic oil, “…how far have you gone with Quinn to learn how to cook food fitting for a king?”
Rover’s face imploded as if he’d eaten the leftover lemons not used in the lemon-lime tart-strudels.
“Hrrk!” He choked on his embarrassment. “Wh-What d-do you mean ‘how far’?!”
“Gross, Dad,” Adele muttered. “Please don’t assassinate my appetite with your pervy crap.”
“Oh, don’t tease Rover,” Mom said, hitting Dad on the shoulder. “He’s already a hormonal ball of fire. Don’t pour kerosene on it.”
“You’ll understand, son,” Dad said with a devious smirk. “Sometimes, the best moments sneak up on you. Heh-heh-hehhh!”
“Gah!” Rover was lost for words, his hands quaking too much to handle his silverware.
A shadow suddenly did sneak up behind him.
Startled, he turned to see Quintegrity’s smiling face only centimetres away. She reached around behind Rover, put her index and middle fingers on the table, walked her hand up to the salad spoon protruding from the salad bowl, and catapulted a cherry tomato from the greens—it landed perfectly in her mouth.
Sweating at the table was uncomfortable, but Rover couldn’t prevent it.
Is Quintegrity thinking about Dad’s comment?! he wondered as the heat rose from under his collar.
Quintegrity said nothing about it, though, which made dinner very awkward for the boy. At the least, his family of picky eaters was utterly enchanted by the meal, so he was grateful for that.
Together, he and Quintegrity had successfully found (and nailed) his family’s common tune…a song in the key of F (for “food”).
As Dad consumed his helping of duck confit like a savage animal, a blissful expression washed over him.
“This is stupendous!” he said between bites. “What’s for dinner next time, Quinn?”
Quintegrity responded with an entertained smile. “Oh, you know, the usual. It’s a simple formula: ‘Maximum’ plus ‘Most’ equals ‘What’s for Dinner.’ Remember that, and you’ll be whipping up something like this every single meal!”
“I don’t think we can afford ‘Maximum’ plus ‘Most’!” Dad’s face and voice were jubilant, but the tear streaming down his face was probably more from sadness than joy.
“And talk about a caloric overload,” Mom added, sipping her wine with a thin smile. “If we do every meal like this one, then they won’t be special anymore.”
“You’re right,” Quintegrity giggled. “We don’t want to lose that specialness. Right, Rover?”
Throughout dinner, Adele shot the occasional glance at her brother and his girlfriend. There was still that telltale nervousness on his face, as his smiles were too frequent and overdone. However, Adele noticed there was something else inside him. Alongside his jittery idiocy was sincerity…a true kind of happiness that played well with Quintegrity’s vigorous positivity.
Perhaps, Adele thought as she chewed on a piece of succulent yellow snapper sashimi, something she normally despised any other time, they really are a better match than I’d originally thought.
Rover… Lvl 689
Anti-Grav Skateboard… 499,999
Armor… Ape Laser Armor
Acc. 1… Yeet-Line ChucksAcc. 2… Farm Equipment