Chatterbox is a monthly link-up hosted by Rachel Heffington. In her words it is:
Chatterbox is an event to help authors get to know their characters and stories better. I love to talk and I love to write dialogue. Chatterbox is, essentially, an exercise in showing your character via the way he or she speaks. It's fun, it is sassy, it is simple. Each month I will assign a conversation topic and it will be your duty to write a conversation between several of your characters regarding whatever I topic I designated. Who knows? You might even end up with something you'll want to work into your real novel. When you are finished writing your post you will be able to link up with me here at The Inkpen Authoress and we'll have jolly larks reading the wide variety that springs out of the assigned topic.
You can link up with January's HERE and follow the links to read other writer's entries. (And yes, I'm rather late with this- but it is still January so I'm ok.)
The topic for January's Chatterbox was food. I was going to write one using characters from Three Kyngdoms... but that kind of flopped. Then, just yesterday I was browsing a Pinterest board and this came to me:
Johari, seated at her desk, looked up when her door chime rang.
“It’s me, sis,” she heard her eldest brother’s voice over the intercom. She pushed the button to open the doors and a moment later he strode into her office.
“Hello, Jaris,” she stood up and hugged him.
“Hey, sis. Have you eaten lunch yet?”
“No, I’ve been trying to finish this report,” she indicated the CHATU on her desk.
Jaris turned to the nearest Companion, “Lassi Bolena, can the princess leave the report to eat?”
“Yes, sir. In fact, she should leave it. It is high time for her to eat.”
“And why could you not have asked me that?” Johari asked indignantly.
“Because I doubt you’d have told me the truth,” he smiled charmingly. “You’d have said something about needing ‘just a few more minutes’ to finish the report. Whereas your Lassies have only your best interests at heart and thus they would tell me the truth.”
“You certainly are high handed,” Johari grumbled, eyes still kindling.
“I will make it up to you,” Jaris replied tantalizingly.
“Join me and I will show you.”
Reluctantly, Johari gave the order to break for lunch. Companions Bolena, Melita, Tiegra, Jorda, Alejan, Jetain and Mataro followed her as Jaris led her out to the gardens. He twisted and turned until they came to a grassy spot near a trickling artificial brook. A blanket was spread out and her other three brothers sat on it, two huge picnic baskets nearby.
“Yay! You got her,” Jyder jumped up to pull Johari down onto the blanket with them.
“Yes, he kidnapped me, after practically asking my Lassi to order me to leave my work,” Johari frowned at Jaris.
“I’ve promised to make it up to her,” Jaris winked at Juston who winked back.
“Now what are you boys up to?” Johari asked with a long suffering sigh.
“A picnic, apparently,” Jiffrey said. He delved into one of the baskets and began to set forth the food.
Johari glanced over the dishes and trays he was setting out. “It looks like you have enough food here for half the army.”
“Well, I didn’t know how many of your Companions would be with you,” Jiffrey shrugged. “Besides, we’re starving.”
“As usual,” Johari nodded.
“And we have a special treat for you,” Jaris picked up a smaller basket and reached in, withdrawing something and handing it to his sister.
She looked it over curiously. It was a yellow food, roughly triangular in shape. It was lumpy and vaguely resembled a pineapple.
“It looks like a cross between a pineapple and a kohlrabi,” she glanced at Jaris in puzzlement.
“Is that dragonfruit?” Mataro spoke from behind her.
Jaris grinned, “Yes. Jori always said she wanted to try it. I found some in the specialty market when I was in Shaebara.”
“I thought dragonfruit was red,” Johari was turning the fruit over in her hands.
“So did I,” Jyder reached for one of the fruits himself.
“Some are yellow,” Jetain said. “They are a favorite in my home province.”
“Here, let me show you how to eat it,” Jaris reached over and took the fruit from Johari. He sliced it open with a knife and then carefully sliced around and scooped out the middle, a creamy white with black seeds in it. He took the white part, sliced it into strips and then handed her a strip. “Make sure you chew the seeds, or they will be indigestible.”
Tentatively, she tasted it, “It’s mild, almost bland,” she took another bite.
The other boys had sliced into their fruits and were tasting them. Jaris tossed fruits to Mataro and Jetain and they cut them open for Bolena and Tiegra. Juston and Jiffrey cut open fruits for Melita and Jorda.
“I thought it would be spicy,” Jyder said in disappointment. “It is called dragonfruit after all. And the outside is a yellow color like dragon’s fire.”
“When did you ever see a dragon to know what color its fire is?” Juston asked skeptically.
“In pictures, dummy,” Jyder threw the rind of his fruit at his older brother.
“Dragonfruit is rather misleading, Prince Jyder,” Jetain told him. “It has a scary name, and a pretty color, but inside, it isn’t remarkable.”
“It’s delicious though,” Johari said, reaching for another strip.
“It tastes like a melon,” Jiffrey agreed.
“Nah, a kiwi,” Juston opined.
“It doesn’t taste like either one. It tastes like watermelon taffy,” Jyder said firmly.
“Watermelon taffy?” Juston said incredulously. “This tastes nothing like watermelon taffy.”
“I think it does,” Jyder argued.
“Boys, boys, really?” Johari rolled her eyes. “Just agree that you each think differently of what it reminds you of and be done with it.”
“Jori doesn’t feel like listening to your nonsense today and neither do I,” Jaris said lazily. “She has an unfinished report nagging at her mind,” he winked at her, “And I want to enjoy my time out here and not spend it breaking up arguments.”
“You don’t like arguments?” Jyder’s eyes were wide with shock. “As often as you argue, you could have fooled me.”
His siblings and Johari’s Companions laughed.
“He’s got you, Jaris,” Johari teased.
“I don’t mind arguing, I just don’t feel like doing it today,” Jaris playfully pushed his youngest brother over.
Johari bit into another strip of dragonfruit, “Thanks so much, Jaris. Now I finally know what this tastes like.”
“That’s not the only surprise I have for you,” he grinned, reaching back into the covered basket. He held out his hand and there was a brown object in it. It was about the size of a medium tomato and was bulb shaped. It was covered with brown scales.
Jaris winked at Alejan who also grinned and said, “Snakefruit, Luno.”
“Snakefruit?” Johari looked horrified, “Snakefruit? What in the galaxy is snakefruit? Jaris, you know I hate snakes.”
Alejan’s grin widened, if that was possible. “This has nothing to do with snakes, Luno. It was simply named that because it’s scales resemble those of a snakes. It’s real name is Salak, snakefruit is its common name,” he held out his hand to Jaris, “May I?”
“Be my guest,” Jaris handed the fruit over. Alejan carefully pinched the tip of the fruit and pulled it off. The scales near the top peeled back. Working gingerly, he peeled the rest of the scales and revealed a white bulb.
“It looks like garlic,” Johari observed.
“Does it taste like garlic?” Jyder asked in trepidation. “I don’t like raw garlic.”
“It does not, Prince Jyder,” Alejan assured him. He broke the bulb apart and handed a section to Johari. She took it cautiously and looked it over.
“Snakefruit, eh? Is is a true fruit? Or is it more like a vegetable?”
“Taste it and find out,” Jaris urged her, irrepressible twinkles brimming in his eyes.
She glanced from him to her Chief Laddie. His eyes held the same laughter as Jaris’s. “I’ve always liked the taste,” he offered.
Carefully she brought it to her mouth and took a bite. She chewed it hesitantly and then took a second bite, “It is pretty good.”
Jyder watched her with wide eyes, “What does it taste like?”
“I can’t really describe the taste,” she frowned at it, “Maybe like a cross between an apple and a pear? And kind of a little greasy,” she smiled teasingly, “But, with your varying tastes, I’m sure you, Juston and Jiffrey will disagree with me.”
The three named sheepishly grinned.
The boys quickly reached for fruits of their own. Jaris and Alejan showed them how to pinch the tip of the fruit off carefully so they would not be hurt on the scales of the fruit.
Half an hour later, they all leaned back. “That was a good lunch, Jaris. Thank you,” Johari smiled up at him.
“Does it make up for dragging you away from your work?” he asked mischievously.
“Hmmm,” she tilted her head, pretending to think hard. “Just the lunch, no, but with two new taste treats, yes.”
Jaris winked at Alejan, “I’m only responsible for one of those new tastes.”
Johari turned to Alejan, “What? Do I find a conspiracy?”
He ducked his head, grinning shyly, “Yes, Luno. Jaris, that is Prince Jaris, called me while he was in Shaebara to check on something and then told me about finding the dragonfruit. I told him about snakefruit and he promised to find some. So, he does deserves some of the credit for going through that huge market in search of it.”
Johari looked from one to the other, “I think you two are the most incorrigible men I’ve ever met.”
“Is that a compliment?” Jaris raised his eyebrows.
“I leave that for you to determine,” she smiled teasingly as she stood to return to her rooms and her interrupted paperwork.
Miss Melody Muffin