The Chef Who Did Not Know How to Cook: A Parable–an American Fairy Tale (2017)

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Once upon a time people stopped trusting the so-called ‘experts.’  They began to see everything as a sort of private club, the elite know-it-all’s on one side, stealing whatever they could from decent working people, and the regular guys who, no matter what they did, or how decent they tried to be, were always getting screwed.  Some began to believe that the whole system needed to be torn down–it was rigged!–and started over from scratch.  Things were no longer working the way they used to in the mythological past.  Something needed to change.  A new idea was needed to make things right again.


Darren McCreely lost his job in late 2015.  He blamed Barrack Obama.  Yes, his hatred had something to do with race, but that was not Darren’s primary issue.  It was the Democrats.  It was all those political crooks, and their commie-pinko ideas (a phrase he remembered his father using over and over back when he was a child).  The way that Darren saw things, watching the 2016 presidential campaign, and convinced that Crooked Hillary was going to destroy America even worse than that Kenyan fraud, he started to think about the end of the world.


He would never call himself an Anarchist (that was another word for liberals), and Darren considered himself a true patriot.  And while he had never served, he certainly had great respect for those men (and women too! he had to keep reminding himself) who fought to preserve our freedoms.  He always told the soldiers “thank you for your service,” and thought about killing anyone who refused to bow and pray to the flag, or sneered at the national anthem.


Darren’s wife, Michelle, and his two children, Braylen and Haven, had all become resentful when he lost is job at the coalmine.  Coal was the life-blood in West Virginia, and those goddamn Democrats, with their pussy-assed environmental standards, and that ‘climate warming’ bullshit, or whatever the fuck they were calling it, all they really wanted to do was ruin the American economy and leave white men like himself out in the cold, begging for scraps at the Mexican border.


Donald Trump held a very special place in Darren’s heart.  He took Braylen, a husky sixteen year old offensive tackle on his school’s football team (the same position Darren had played throughout high school), and his sullen thirteen year old daughter Haven, with him to one of Mr. Trump’s extraordinary rallies in Virginia, on September 24, 2016.  This is what he overheard:


“On November 8th, we are going to win this state and we are going to win the White House.  We are going to take on the big donors, and big business, and big media – we are going to take on the rigged system that has shipped America’s wealth to other countries.

“We are going to replace our failed and corrupt establishment with a new government that serves you, your family, and your country.  My economic agenda can be summed up in three very beautiful words: jobs, jobs, jobs.

“We will cut taxes for all working and middle-class households in America.  We will reduce regulations, which will put more money into the hands of our poorest workers and bring thousands of new companies to our shores.

“We will unleash American energy, creating millions of new jobs and lowering energy costs. The Obama-Clinton energy restrictions are nothing more than a massive tax on the poor – we will remove those restrictions day one.

“We will repeal and replace disastrous Obamacare.  President Obama promised his plan would reduce premiums by $2,500 dollars. Instead, they surged $5,000.  Our replacement plan includes expanded access to Healthcare Savings Accounts, with support for those who need it. It includes allowing Americans to buy health insurance across state lines in all 50 states, creating a dynamic and competitive new market – they will be competing for your business.

“We’re also going to block grant Medicaid so states can develop innovative solutions to make sure no citizen in poverty ever falls through the cracks. High-risk pools will also help to ensure that those with preexisting conditions will always get the quality coverage they need.

“On trade, we are going to end the international abuse, the foreign cheating, and the one-sided rules that govern NAFTA and the World Trade Organization. Right now, America eliminates its tariffs, but then other countries tax our goods with backdoor tariffs and close their markets.

“Our massive, chronic trade deficits are destroying the middle class – and shifting money away from workers to large corporations who have no borders. There’s a reason hedge funds and Wall Street are giving tens of millions to my opponent.  Hillary Clinton is the voice for the global special interests.

“I am running to be the voice of the forgotten men and women.”



These words, many of which Darren could not understand (what’s a tariff, anyway?), filled him with a hope he had not felt since he was a child.  It was hope for the future.  It honestly felt like being in church, a revival, where a charismatic preacher, who some believe is selling snake oil, turns out to have miracles in his pocket.  Braylen seemed to enjoy the speech too, especially the name-calling, and the mocking chants from the people.  He would bully some kids at school with similar taunts the following week.  Haven was busy clicking on her phone, an irritated look on her face.  In the car on the way home when Darren tried to ask her about it, she cut him off with a whine of “I don’t caaaaarrre!”


But Mr. Trump had inspired Darren.  Sure, he was out of work.  He was collecting food stamps like some black, do-nothing son-of-a-bitch.  He wasn’t a bum–never had been.  He worked hard all his life, from the football team through the coal mine (school, as his father told him, was only teaching him liberal lies, so it didn’t matter.  How would that faggot stuff help him in the real world?)  There had to be some sort of job for an upstanding man like him.


The application process was a nightmare.  Donald Trump had been elected, although he was not yet in charge of the government.  Hussein Obama seemed to be maliciously putting policies into place that would destroy America forever.  No one was hiring, it seemed.  He was told that he wasn’t qualified for this, or didn’t have the proper education to do that.  It was Obama.  It was Hillary.  He was so proud that that bitch had lost!  Nothing gave him more joy than watching Democrats cry when they lost.  America could turn around.  They had finally elected a winner, Darren told everyone he knew.


Darren’s support for the new president was condemned by many people, much to his confusion.  Why would anyone not want to make America great again?  He lost friends.  People called him a moron.  His own sister had said that–her, in her fancy house, with her bratty kids and her asshole dentist husband.  They all voted for Hillary, and yet he never called them names.  He left that to the President.  It really meant something coming from him.


Darren finally decided he needed to “enhance” his resume.  It wasn’t lying, just pointing out the things he knew he could do if he was given the chance.  “It’s no longer a white man’s world,” Darren told his one black friend at the bar one night, buying his buddy a drink to make up for it.  This friend, also named Darren (Darren Black, if you can believe it!), worked as a bartender at a fancy restaurant.  He told Darren that restaurant work was surprisingly profitable.  And while it was certainly filled with stress and intolerance, after your shift was over nearly the entire staff was looking to party.  It could be great fun.


At home Darren considered himself to be something a grill master, so how hard could working at a steak house be?  He invented some past jobs.  He wrote that he had started his cooking career at Boyd’s (http://www.boydsteakhouse.com/), then had moved onto the very expensive Wonder Bar Steak House (https://wonderbarsteakhouse.com/) over in Clarksburg, where he said he had been a line-cook for two years.  The first job he applied for had a manager who also used to work at the Wonder Bar, so he knew that Darren was lying.  The second place–Rothschild’s, a new upscale joint, needed a line cook, so they jumped at the chance to hire such an experienced man.


Darren was proud of himself.  He considered himself the Donald Trump of the restaurant industry, an outsider who could come in with his own ideas, and change the way the world worked.  He had a vision–a giant barbecue pit with all the chops and steaks in the world being grilled to perfection.


On his first day Darren was fired.  Not only couldn’t he keep up the pace over the very crowded dinner rush, he could only burn or under-cook the meat.  Many customers complained.  Two of them got sick, one of them threatening a lawsuit.  Things got so bad that the floor manager, a former chef himself, shoved Darren out of the way and started rushing around in his suit, cooking the steaks the proper ‘Rothschild’s way.’


“You fucking suck!” the head chef screamed at Darren.  “What the fuck are you doing?  You have no fucking idea what the hell you’re doing, do you?”  The head chef turned away, growling, mumbling to himself, then taking a swig from his third glass of whiskey.  He looked over at the restaurant manager.  “Why the fuck did you hire that asshole?”


“You’re fired,” the boss said to Darren.


“Get the fuck out of my kitchen!”  He head chef screamed.  The rest of the kitchen staff paused, glancing over.  One of the two dishwashers laughed while the other, still working, irretrievably dosed on whatever drug he’d decided to use, said “Better you than me.”


“Goddamn Jews!” Darren said to his wife when he got home.  She had just finished a double shift at Wal-Mart, and was in no mood to listen to her husband whine.


“Did you really think you were qualified for the job?” she asked, trying to be civil.  “You have no experience.  You’ve never worked in a restaurant in your life.  Why would someone want you to cook for them if you don’t know how to cook?”


This only made Darren angrier.  He called his wife a cunt, and considered slapping her, but Haven was busy texting on the couch, so he restrained himself.


Rothschild’s closed a few months later, never catching on.  It was too expensive for where it was located.  Darren decided that he deserved credit for dooming the place.  He convinced himself, and started telling the story that he had sabotaged the place on purpose.


Several months later Darren found himself alone among some like-minded individuals in Charlottesville, Virginia, on August 12.  He was marching with a torch in his hand.  He was saying “Jews will not replace us!  Jews will not replace us!”  He felt good about himself for the first time in a long while.  President Trump would bring them out of this mess.  He would somehow re-open the coal mines and give him back his job.  He knew–Darren just knew!–that the place where he found himself, inspired by a President who had no respect for those Washington fat-cats, and would drain the swamp of all those Democratic bottom-feeder, and their Deep State masters–Darren knew that America was about to be great again, perhaps for the first time.

©2019 Lance Polin


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