A/N: I wrote this a few years back for a writing class. It's not poorly written, per se, but I have become much better in recent years. I might update the story at some point, though not anytime soon.


Amuse-Bouche de Flûtiste

Another night at the theater, it was taking its toll on Benjamin Raspail, a decidedly unskilled flautist. Half-way through the orchestral piece, Ben's off-tune notes died out. What's the point? he wondered quietly to himself, I'm not ready for this. Pulling a red handkerchief from his pocket, Ben wiped the sweat that had collected on his bald forehead. Trapped in his angst, he was unaware of a curious set of maroon-hued eyes that studied his every move. Eventually the sound of music died out, only to be replaced by the deafening noise of a standing ovation.

The theatre emptied and the musicians went home with wrapped instruments in their hands. Ben climbed into his rusted jalopy; it was a real shit-kicker of a car. Just as he arrived home at his apartment and parked the car, a cloth covered Ben's mouth, chloroform stealing his consciousness away. The last thing he saw were a pair of maroon eyes that glittered red in the moonlight in the rearview mirror.

Ben awoke in a daze; he tried to rub his eyes, but couldn't raise his arms. They were strapped to the arms of the wooden chair he was sitting in.

"Try not to struggle so much, you may break something Mr. Raspail," said his captor in a cultured voice. Though it sounded metallic, as if it hadn't been used in quite some time. "The Baltimore Philharmonic Orchestra is a renowned group of musicians who are well known for their beautiful music. However, Mr. Raspail, you do not possess the skill to play that instrument of yours properly." As his vision cleared, Ben saw an elderly man standing in front of a stove stirring a pot of boiling water. Ben could hear orchestral music playing from the speakers in the walls. "How does someone of your… ineptitude… manage to gain acceptance into the Philharmonic Orchestra?"

"Where am I?" Ben asked in a frightened voice.

"You're in my kitchen of course," said the old man with a chuckle, "It's very rude to answer a question with a question. But I can understand your confusion, so I will ask again, how did you obtain your position within the orchestra?"

"I-I… My brother, he's the… the hiring manager for the S-Symphony Board," Ben said. This caused the old man to grin as he mixed different herbs and spices into the pot. Ben didn't recognize the man, it was time to find out who he was, "W-Who are you?"

"Dr. Hannibal Lecter, I'm sure your next question will involve the reason for which you are tied to a chair in my kitchen, yes?" Lecter said as he turned to face Ben, gazing at him with those unusual maroon eyes. Ben nodded, hoping this was a big joke or a dream, nothing in his life frightened him quite like this Hannibal fellow did. "Well…" Lecter started, "you, Mr. Raspail, are here to help me make dinner for several associates who had accompanied me to the theatre earlier. Aside from your horrendous flute playing, it was a beautiful performance."

Dinner? He doesn't mean… "Please, let me go", Ben said to a currently "deaf" Dr. Lecter. Fear mounted and tears began flowing. "Please, just let me go." Lecter continued to ignore Ben's pleas, grabbing a large kitchen knife from the wooden knife holder on the counter. Ben's quiet pleas turned to screams of desperation, "Please stop, I didn't do anything to you." Lecter stood in front of Ben holding that knife, ready to snuff out his life. "Please… I DIDN'T DO ANYTHING TO YOU!"

"I was hoping you wouldn't have awoken by now. After all, a frightened rabbit doesn't taste quite so sweet. Luckily I have that spice rack over there on the counter. Sixty-seven unique spices I brought back from my travels abroad."

"Now if you would be so kind as to stop squirming. I'm sure you don't want me to knick anything vital." Dr. Lecter smiled, bearing his small white teeth. "Oh, and try not to scream too loud. Wouldn't want the neighbors to become overly curious. Then I'd have to add a few extra dishes to the menu."

"No… please. God, please no! No! NO! NOOOOO! AAAAHHHH! AARRRRGGGHHH!"

Ben's screams continued into the night, gradually degenerating into gurgles and wet coughing fits. Benjamin Raspail's body was harvested as if by a master butcher; his kidneys would become sweetbread, his liver an entrée.

Four days later, Ben was fed to a table of nine people in the dining room of Hannibal Lecter's home. Dr. Lecter received many compliments on his cooking, but refused to explain what the food was.

"Hannibal, confess. What is this divine looking amuse-bouche?"

"If I tell you, I'm afraid you won't even try it."

The doctor's little inside joke garnered a chuckle from all of his dinner guests, members of the Symphony Board which managed the same orchestra that once employed Mr. Raspail.

"Bon appétit."