Longing for Fulfilment.

> We live in a world where anything you want is available - but sometimes it's out of stock, says Paul McDermott.

I can understand how, in attracting customers, a restaurant may wish to make a dish seem more alluring. One dessert that has hook in its name is "Death by Chocolate". I have witnessed friends salivating with the mere thought of the ultimate demise. I wonder whether "Death by jellied eel in sow's stomach" has as much appeal.

In the wee small hours, when naming a cocktail, the most ridiculous and obscene thing may appear best. We have all giggled with childish delight when a drunken office worker demands from a bored bartender, " ... three Orgasms for me and me mates". But why call a cocktail an Orgasm? It doesn't look, taste, or feel like an orgasm, although very occasionally (and I stress very occasionally), it may lead to one.

We live in a world where language and meaning are heading in different directions. Where Opium can be bought over a perfume counter. Where a child thinks an "Act of God" is a choc-coated-double-banana-tret in an ocean of peppermint cream.

Last week I found myself confronted by this phenomenon several times.

Looking down a menu to find an appropriate dish, I was confused. Every meal had a weird title. On the menu were words I was familiar with, but had never associated with food. The chicken stew, with pepper and caper, became Bewitchment; braised veal rolls with olives - Impulse; the hot and spicy lamb casserole - Reckless. There was Anger, Ambition, Fantasy and Fury - it'd be like eating the Gladiators.

The waiter's pad would have been a surrealist's dream, every time someone ordered bizarre poems were formed.

Two Longing, a medium-rare Enchantress, one Temptation, a double Eternity holding the mayo, Reckless - not too hot, three lo-fat Utopias, water for the table, screwdriver, rusty nail!

The meals arrived and a general mood of satisfaction prevailed. There was one problem: no-one had accepted the Temptation. For a minute the waitress circled the table, growing steadily more annoyed.

"Temptation? Temptation for anyone?"

Nobody moved, most were too busy getting stuck into their own plates of moral and philosophical dilemma.

"Someone ordered it. Who was it?"

"Maybe they've gone?"

Her voice became shrill with tension.

"Who wanted the Temptation?"

No one stirred and the Temptation returned from whence it came. If only all forbidden fruits could be sent back so easily to the devil's kitchen.

None of this would have been strange had it not been waiting for what happened next ...

The following day I found myself before a perfume store. Tendrils of sticky sweet odours lured me into the shop. There were slender bottles of musk, civet, lavender and flasks of essential oils. From floor to ceiling the place was filled with exotic distillations. I ran through a number of perfumes before discovering with horror, that some were last night's meals. There again were Longing, Excitement and Passion.

One perfume in particular held more promise - Fulfilment. To my surprise the tester was empty. Obviously this particular fragrance was in great demand. I battled my initial fear, turned to the nearest member of staff and asked, "Could you possibly find me a little Fulfilment?"

The staff were shocked to learn someone had forgotten to restock that particular scent. No need for concern, there would have to be some Fulfilment out that back. I heard them frantically tear apart box after box in search of it. Somewhere in this jungle of aromas, the odour du jour had gone missing. Tension rose as they searched for the scent. A whisper went round the disgruntled customers "No Fulfilment!"

The woman returned, a little out of breath, a fine sweat beading on her forehead. "I'm sorry, sir," she said, "We can't find Fulfilment anywhere!"

I smiled because in my heart, I sensed she was

Typed up by ktwong.