A few years ago a Singaporean publisher had the idea of publishing a series of books of very short stories with food based themes.
One of the themes was 'Baguette'.
My submission, featured here below, was accepted, but unfortunately due to financial constraints only two books in the series were ever published, so rather than leave this languish unread on my hard-drive I thought I'd leave it to languish unread here instead.Su Li woke up in Paris, a city she had dreamed of visiting all her life. She was jet-lagged and hung-over from too much wine on the long flight from Singapore, but she wasn’t going to just lie in bed nursing a headache, though the thought was tempting.
She stumbled out of the hotel and into a sharp breeze as cold as any Singapore cinema. She walked narrow cobbled streets looking for a strong espresso to help her headache. A red neon sign above a shop-front flashed repeatedly. Pain. Pain. Pain.
Pain - of course - the French word for bread. Su Li laughed at her own mistake and stepped inside the bakery. She was immediately enveloped by the warm yeasty smell of bread. Usually it would have made her mouth water, but this morning her fragile stomach churned. Enough pain already, she decided.
After walking another hour, she finally sat down in a café and ordered a coffee from a waiter who spoke to her in Vietnamese. The air was filed with the mouth-watering smell of Pho – the perfect hangover cure.
Eating noodle soup in Paris felt like cheating. Some fresh French bread might add a Gallic accent.
“Avez vous baguette?” she asked, hoping her French was correct.
He returned and placed two chopsticks on the table. Su Li frowned.
“Yes, miss. Zis is baguette.”
“No – bread. French bread.”
“Ah – du pain. You want pain.”