“Pièce de Résistance” may be the most deceitful story I’ve ever written.
Allow me to explain. I’m an epically finicky eater. It’s a lifelong issue, one that, thankfully, hasn’t caused any health issues so far. For example, I hate vegetables. All of them. The tastes, the smells, the textures. Rarely I’ll pick at a salad. I dislike nuts, eschew nearly all fruits and most seafood. (I recently learned this is an actual condition akin to a sensory disorder.)
So, knowing all this … how was I able to describe the tastes and textures of the foods in this story if I never tried them?
The answer is, a lot of online research. I perused cooking and baking websites, looking for descriptions of the smells and flavors. At times I swapped out food choices that I thought might send the messages that the Breadbreakers or President Grimes intended because I couldn’t be sure if I truly understood what a dish tasted like.
My closest friends, when they read this story, would ask, “You didn’t actually try all those foods, did you?” I always owned up.
President Grimes isn’t modeled on any particular POTUS, though I’ve got a couple in mind. He mostly reflects that common human desire to leave a legacy—a desire that drives some people to do the most outrageous things.
In case you missed it, “talking on the big white telephone” is a euphemism for vomiting into a commode. I thought it was a funny, if gross, way to start the story. For the record, I actually did try calamari once—but it was deep fried. Even so, I’m not a fan.
This story won a Science Fiction Writers of Christianity short story contest. Given my earlier observation that this is my most deceitful story, I’m amused by this.