The Pile – Chapter Five

It was 9am EST on Saturday, February 7th. Raymond Clock was in his kitchen preparing a kosher, gluten-free, organic, small batch, artisanal, grass-fed, macrobiotic (and microbiotic), virgin-harvested, corporation-averse, authenticity-enhanced, nano-lymbically-tweezed, glarblegloobally-globalled breakfast for three[1]. Though he was by no means even a moderately skilled cook, Raymond had labored to perfect at least two “prestige” dishes for each of the three traditional daily meals, which he deployed sparingly and only for important moments in his life. Asher, having lived with Raymond for four years, was well-acquainted with each of Raymond’s go-to meals and always knew it was an auspicious day in the eyes of his friend when he spotted cumin, quinoa, or bay leaves sitting on the kitchen counter[2].

For Raymond, this morning certainly held bay leaf-level significance. In the three weeks since Asher’s arrival, his personal and professional life had undergone a dramatic transformation. Among other changes, he’d finally left his long-held internship position at Mudsling Nation, against the mild protests of his superiors, and started a digital news and opinion publication with Asher.

After an intense effort to convince his colleague to adopt “The Sisyphus Missives” as their new endeavor’s moniker, Raymond consented to the sober use of “Modern Issue,” admitting this title was more professional and less unbearably pompous. In an attempt to make the new outfit feel official, and with the lack of furnishings in Raymond’s home proving detrimental to his occasional romantic ambitions, Asher secured the townhouse adjacent to Raymond’s as a sleeping quarters and operations center. There the duo spent hours each day planning their strategy and crafting policy positions.

Though Asher gladly offered to pay his bills, Raymond insisted on keeping his position at the asylum in order to continue paying his own way. When questioned, he explained that it wasn’t an issue of being less socialist than Asher, and it wasn’t a matter of pride; Raymond merely held the idea that anyone could die at any moment and if Asher died while Raymond was relying on him to pay for his basic sustenance it would leave Raymond in a lurch. Asher thanked Raymond for thinking about the possibility of his death and dropped the subject.

The duo prepared. They debated, they wrote, they compiled ideas, and, in less time than either gentleman expected, they published.

The initial launch of Modern Issue, heavily promoted through blanket ad buys in key media markets, was met with confusion and anger from the general public. The MI email account was inundated with angry letters alleging the website was too hard to navigate, with most users claiming they were unable to locate the Lifestyles or Sports Nightlife Out on the Town Photos of People Having the Best Time There is to Have at a Club or a Bar or Maybe Just on the Street or Something Because That’s Neat Too sections. Asher and Raymond answered these by informing the aggrieved that the site would never contain any celebrity information, New Age medical advice, or beauty tips; a proclamation that sent shockwaves throughout the media watchdog infrastructure and every corner of the World Wide Web.

The strong unique visitor numbers logged during their launch week quickly dwindled to a mere twenty hits per day. Nineteen of these IP addresses came from within the beltway, with the remainder apparently located somewhere in Jakarta. Though the pair was disheartened, they consoled themselves with the idea that their brand of journalism catered to a rarified group of highly literate individuals interested in serious issues written by serious people. Refusing to fail, however, Asher convinced a writer from The New Yorker, whom he’d saved from certain death by smuggling her out of Zimbabwe in a sack of turnips[3], to profile Raymond and himself. After the flattering profile was printed, littered with statements like, “The bold writing style and ideas at Modern Issue are shocking the political discourse in America,” the site experienced a massive surge in popularity amongst the “self-defined cultural elite” demographic.

Buoyed by his newfound professional success, Raymond’s private struggles felt increasingly manageable. Since Asher’s fortuitous arrival, Nico had called Raymond to meet at least every other day, sometimes spending entire afternoons and evenings in his company. With each meeting their intimacy grew, though Raymond felt she was purposefully obfuscating part of herself. He chalked this up to a fear of committing fully and leaving herself vulnerable given the important position she held. Even with their issues however, Raymond acknowledged the marked improvement in his circumstances.

Despite this blooming emotional attachment, Nico initially insisted on maintaining their previously agreed-upon arrangement. If they slept together, she demanded they book rooms at a nearby hotel rather than stay at one of their homes. Raymond once made the mistake of preparing by packing an overnight bag in the event the evening ended with him sleeping abroad. When Nico saw the bag she became irritated and canceled their plans for the day. He never packed an overnight bag again and was subsequently forced to rely on the mercy and competence of that evening’s hotel staff for his assorted sundries.

Three weeks after Asher’s arrival, Nico relented and suggested sleeping at Raymond’s home once again. To Raymond, this event signaled a tectonic shift in their relationship. Thus, the morning of February 7th found Raymond cooking an important breakfast for his best friend and whatever Nico was.

After an hour of preparation his soft idlis, charcuterie plates, super-fruit salads, and French roast French pressed coffees were ready. He was putting the finishing folds in the artistically arranged napkins when Nico came down and Asher came over.

“My, my, you’re a real global gourmet,” Nico remarked as she entered the dining area.

“It’s glarblegloobally-globalled!” Raymond said with pride.

“Don’t let him fool you, he may be able to make a mean chutney, but ask him to toast bread and you’ve got a five-alarm fire on your hands. Hi, I’m Asher Rose by the way. Thanks for the introductions, Raymond. It’s a pleasure to formally meet you.”

As the two people he cared for most greeted one another, Raymond playfully objected, “That was one time! And it was only a two-alarm fire!”

“Three,” corrected Asher, “Your idlis looks pretty good today.”

“Idlis!? Mr. Squidge will be pleased. He’s always going on about how I should eat more idlis,” Nico mused.

“Is that Alistair Squidge? A partner at SQ&B?” Asher asked, surprised.

“The same.”

“He’s been my parents’ lawyer for years! Small world!”

“I’m pretty sure a law firm known for representing billionaires services a fairly small community,” Raymond joked, motioning for them to join him at the table.

“Good point,” Asher admitted, “I always heard he was a very…unique character.”

“I assure you he is,” Raymond nodded, “When he first came to my door I thought he was trying to save my soul.”

“He’s got a very particular manner, that’s true,” Nico permitted, “but he’s an absolute pro and an unbelievably brilliant legal mind.”

“So I’ve heard,” replied Asher, “now Ms. Leftiè, I’ve had a burning question to ask ever since Raymond mentioned he knew you, if I may.”

Raymond looked nervously at Nico, but she seemed in good spirits, “Certainly, Mr. Rose. What’s on your mind?”

“Since its creation three years ago, the LLS project has not met with much success in its stated goal of ‘inspiring the temporarily unfortunate in seeking modes to independently maintain and exceed their new existence.’ Do you plan to stay your present course? And what do you see as your ultimate goal?”

Raymond nibbled at a corner of his idli, eyes darting between his fellow diners. Nico took a sip of coffee and answered calmly, “You’re right that those are two rather incendiary questions for someone you’ve just met. I‘ve discussed this with Raymond at length, so I suppose I’m a bit surprised he’s not explained it to you. This coffee is great, by the way.”

“Actually, Raymond is very vague on details as far as the subject of ‘you’ is concerned. I think he feels he has to protect your privacy. I can assure you however, he’s somewhat adorable when he does mention you. I can tell he wants to rave, but he holds himself back out of some contrived sense of nobility.”

Raymond spluttered into his cup, spilling the dark liquid down his front as they both turned towards him.

“I…I think…I wanted to…I thought that’s what you preferred,” he managed, staring at the stains settling into his clothing.

“Isn’t he absurd and lovely?” Nico glowed with only a hint of sarcasm, turning from the blots of brown liquid Raymond was sopping up back to Asher.

“Oh, undoubtedly. I’ve never even dreamed of meeting another person like him,” They both laughed as Raymond’s face turned the color of ripe strawberries.

“You’re horrible people,” he responded in faux-testy outrage.

“We certainly are. But in answer to your question, Mr. Rose, I’m well aware of the failings of the LLS. Sometimes the fruit our intentions bear do not resemble the ends we desired. However, by being adaptable we can still make the best of these things. So though I wanted to inspire the residents to go to work, eliminating homelessness is an acceptable consolation prize. Don’t you think?”

“But don’t you feel frustrated that you’re just pouring money into other people’s lives with no real benefit to society other than getting people off the street? Oh, and Raymond, the jamón is lovely.”

“Of course I want people to do exactly what I want them to do. But I refuse to force the issue; it needs to happen of their own volition. Besides, I think about the type of society I want to live in and homelessness has no place, so I’m still working to shape the world into what I want even without directly accomplishing my primary goal.”

“To what end, though? Aren’t they just going to bleed you dry of resources and then return to their former lives?”

“First, I think you underestimate the extent of my resources. Second, the end itself doesn’t matter as much, or so I realized. I’m helping these people right now, every day. Their lives are better, now. Who knows what could happen tomorrow? We could all be dead.”

“That sounds like one of Raymond’s ideas.”

Nico looked at Raymond, who was surreptitiously sucking the stained portions of his shirt, “He’s got some interesting perspectives on how to live. What are you doing?”

Hastily dropping his shirt from his mouth, Raymond responded, “I’m sorry. Saliva is a natural solvent, so I thought maybe I could save the shirt.”

Nico and Asher laughed.

“So basically you’re saying ‘carpe diem’ with your goals?”

“Not quite. When we have long-term goals we can lose sight of the suffering right in front of us. We tell ourselves we’re attempting to relieve suffering in a more significant or permanent way, which justifies not helping people adjacent to us. It’s tricky, because of course we should focus on long-term goals as well, but we’ve got to have some balance.”

“So what long-term goals are you focusing on?”

“We’ve got this program to stock each room with philosophy and literature in hopes that…for God’s sake, Raymond! Just go change your shirt or something!” Nico interrupted herself to reprimand a startled Raymond, who was gnawing on his sleeve.

“Oh…yes. That’s a good idea…” he muttered, making his way upstairs.

Nico and Asher shook their heads with bemused exasperation.

“Are his parents the same way? When I ask, he just tells a few highly rehearsed stories about his childhood. I can’t really get a good feel for it.”

Asher furrowed his brow and shook his head, “No, not at all. They’re…complicated. He doesn’t speak poorly of them, but he’s mentioned opiates, emotional abuse, shame, boredom from lack of stimulation; a pretty sad story from what he’s shared with me, though that’s also limited. He’s cagey about his past, like he wants us to pretend he doesn’t have one and the present Raymond is the only Raymond there’s ever been. I warned you about him.”

Nico sighed, “I know, and I’m being careful. I even did that whole ‘I want you to be my dog’ speech. It seems like it’s working and I think he’s some type of happy, but he constantly worries me. That book he’s writing! Have you read it?”

“Are we going anywhere after this?” Raymond called down.

“Yeah, let’s walk around the Mall a bit; it looks lovely outside.” Asher yelled back before lowering his voice, “I have…and I know what you’re thinking. But Raymond’s always had a depressive streak, detailing the horrors of the world is just his way of dealing with it.”

“The stuff he’s writing isn’t a healthy expression. It’s tormenting him. It’s self-destructive.”

“He’s got this uncanny ability to look the worst things square in the eyes, learn from them, and share those lessons with others in a way they can understand. I don’t desire that role, do you?”

“I don’t shrink away from horror…”

“Yeah, but you don’t embrace it like he does.”

“Does one have to embrace horror and violence to know why it’s bad?”

“No, not necessarily, but when we’re trying to accomplish the things we’re trying to accomplish, it helps. I saw some real horror while traveling and…”

“What, at one of your cocktail parties in Paris?”

“I do more than attend galas and cocktail parties.”

“Do you?”

“I’ve seen more than I care to see of the world. There’s no one out there who’s going to keep humans from destroying themselves. You know the state of things, if we don’t figure out how to do it soon, no one will have to.”

“And Raymond? Why Raymond?”

“I trust him. I know his values. I know what he stands for and I know his limitations. He’s a gifted writer, but his real use is, like I said, his ability to synthesize trauma.”

“Let him experience trauma so you don’t have to?”

“Look, do you think you’re the first woman who’s helped me with Raymond?”

“There’s no need to get petty. I care about him and want him to be happy. That has nothing to do with us.”

“Raymond’s fine, he just needs the right guidance and motivation. Being in love with you will provide him with the stability he needs to achieve his potential.”

“Without addressing his traumas? Can’t he just live and be happy?”

“Can you?”

“Like I said, this has nothing do to with us.”

“Raymond needs to pursue greatness or else he’s lost. He can’t just drift, it’s not in him. He needs constant activity and strong external stimuli or else all the horror he’s absorbed catches up to him.”

“Why not help his psyche then? Jungian analysis, sensory deprivation, meditation, pot, all this stuff could help.”

“And make him content with the world? That doesn’t seem helpful. We’re trying to change things, not settle for them. He needs that energy.”

“So we’ll just lead him along like a…”

“Like a dog, you said it. It’s for his own good. I care about him just as much as you, probably more after living with him for four years. I’m confident I know what he needs. This is the life he would choose.”

“Are you both ready?” Raymond shouted as he galloped down the stairs in an entirely new outfit.

“I think we are. Let’s leave the cleanup for later,” Asher said, staring at Nico sternly.

Nico agreed, “Of course. Let me grab my coat.”

Raymond, chatting about the meaning of life, drifted blissfully in front of his companions. It was an unseasonably warm February afternoon in the seat of Western hegemony.

As part of their sojourn, the trio was keen to investigate a recent development involving the beloved cherry trees near the Jefferson Memorial. The city was abuzz with rumors from the Tidal Basin claiming the sakura were infected with the dreaded brown rot blossom blight. Though the usual talking heads speculated the disease had been introduced by foreign saboteurs, or even as an act of terrorism, the conclusion from experts on an independent commission tasked to investigate the matter concluded the organic fertilizer used in the National Park Service’s recent “Back to Earth” initiative was the most likely culprit. They recommended immediate action by combining a rigorous fungicide regime and advanced pruning techniques to stymie the spread of the infection. However, with the non-defense budget as tight as it was, right-wing members of Congress and the media immediately seized upon the issue as a symbol of governmental incompetence and waste.

Hearings were called in the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, where committee members grilled the Director of Park Services on how her department made the mistake of infecting these vital representatives of American pride and glory. The Director admitted responsibility for the fertile error and, after spending a week under heavy fire, decided spending more quality time with her dog was a priority.

The fallout from “Sakura-gate,” the media’s designation for the incident, resulted in a vote on the House floor blocking an appropriations bill containing a rider allocating funds to fight the blight[4]. In a press conference with the majority whip and other members of the conservative caucus after the vote, congressmen[5] were quoted as saying, “This is a win for the American people and American values. We cannot throw away the future of our children on frivolous government waste. Besides, we won’t know if this blight actually exists until the blossoming of these beautiful tokens of friendship from our Asian allies. From the facts we’ve been presented by the Congressional Fungal Blight Office (CFBO) about the black [sic] rot blossom blight, it only kills the blossoms themselves, so we don’t have to worry about the actual trees being affected, just the extemporaneous flowers. We’re happy to let the liberals waste their own time and money saving flowers.”

When Nico, Asher, and Raymond arrived at the Tidal Basin, they noted the visibly diseased trees. Asher, who had taken two plant pathology courses in college, informed them that the gummy ooze and twig dieback was more indicative of bacterial cankers than brown rot blossom blight. If the Park Services didn’t act quickly, the vegetation of the entire Basin would most likely die in a few months. This revelation stimulated a spirited discussion on the nature of responsible governance as they made their way to Raymond’s favorite Thai restaurant in the city, just north of George Washington University’s campus.

Walking into the restaurant they were met with a strangely hushed atmosphere; the only sound being a news report every eyeball in the establishment was observing avidly. The group turned their heads to read the confusing headline, “Where Did Violence Go?” scrolling under a journalist standing in front of an ethnically diverse group of men and women in suits harmlessly punching and kicking one another on a newsroom set.

“What in the world?” Nico goggled as they witnessed the disorienting sight of news professionals pummeling one another. They observed as a 20-something script boy comically wound-up and swung his fist with full force straight into the smiling face of a well-known female anchor. The blow landed, but nothing else happened.

The earnest reporter standing in front of the camera cut in, “Yes, we’re getting reports from around the globe today that violence is no longer working. There is speculation on social media that this may be the work of foreign saboteurs or perhaps even a terrorist plot. At this point, it’s simply too early to tell. One thing is certain, however; humanity has never experienced anything like this in our history. This is Reza Ahman reporting from the SMN studios in Atlanta. Back to you, John.”

The field reporter tossed to an anchor, who launched into a story on the search for a missing three-year-old white child from Tulsa.

“What in the hell?” Asher turned to Nico and Raymond, completely at a loss.

As the discombobulated triumvirate tried to piece together their thoughts, they were interrupted by a commotion outside.  They turned in time to see a wooden chair crashing through the large glass window of the restaurant, revealing a pair of drunken, smirking young men on the other side.

“What the fuck are you doing?” the enraged manager of the business screamed as he sprinted out to confront them.

“Whatever the fuck we feel like,” the two white boys slurred, “What’re you gonna to do about it?”

The furious man lashed out with a crushing strike into the face of the nearest youth, whose cackling only increased after nothing happened.

“Nice try, Bing-Bong. Now go make us some General Tso’s,” they gleefully called as the two upstanding members of society ran off, leaving their violent attacker trembling with confusion and impotent rage.

Raymond ran out to him, “I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry for white people. I’m so sorry you had to deal with that. I’m so sorry…”

“It’s fine, man. It wasn’t you, but I appreciate it. I should be used to these GW fucks by now, racist little shits. I know I shouldn’t have, but this is the first time they’ve caused this much damage and I kind of lost it,” grunted the manager through his slowly unclenching jaw.

“What happened when you punched him though? I don’t understand what happened there. Just…it looked like you connected, but he didn’t even flinch. “ Asher asked as he walked out to join them with Nico.

“I’ve got no clue. It was like when I punched him everything seemed normal, but the moment he was supposed to be hurt, nothing happened. My fist didn’t even feel the impact. I just felt his skin, like I was placing my hand gently on his face. I…don’t know,” the man said, beginning to tremble.

“Okay, well let’s get this cleaned up at least,” Nico said cheerily, motioning towards the shattered glass, “And please, let me pay for a replacement. That was horrible.”

“But you had nothing to do with it!” the confused food service operator said, blinking.

“It’s the least I can do. Please don’t worry about it. It’s really my pleasure,” Nico responded with comfortable grandeur.

“Honestly, you don’t have to…” protested the man, weakly.

“But I want to,” insisted Nico, pulling out her checkbook, “Who do I make this out to?”

“I don’t understand…why?’ he looked at her in bewilderment.

“Because I have the ability, which makes it my responsibility,” she replied curtly. “Now who does this check go to?”

“…Thai Bay LLC…thank you…really, thank you,” the man uttered, dazed.

“You don’t have to thank me, I could do no less,” she said as she magnanimously scribbled the amount with a flourish and nonchalantly handed the rectangular paper to the wide-eyed manager.

“Alright then, now that we’ve confirmed our humanity, let’s eat. I’m in the mood for curry,” Asher urged.

As they ate, a parade of befuddled scientists, politicians, economists, religious leaders, and military experts graced the buzzing television, each with a separate explanation for the recent dramatic alteration of reality. There were wild reports of roving bands of thugs who had figured out how to make violence work again and were seizing power in Budapest; tribal shamans in the Democratic People’s Republic of the Republic of Zaire and/or Congo performing strange software updates that turned their laptops into sacred instruments of destruction; and a small boy in rural Wisconsin who’d spent the last three months teaching his pet squirrel how to change the television channel and was now, according to anonymous Agency sources, working with the Central Intelligence Agency on a black ops project to militarize animals. After each new story, the anchor reminded the audience that these reports were unverified and SMN was simply reporting on the most popular trending topics across various social media platforms.

Nico, Asher, and Raymond seemed collectively unable to speak. These events were too new, too far removed from anything they’d ever even speculated on, and they had too little information to feel comfortable sharing their thoughts with anyone other than their own neurons, though even that felt mildly mortifying. They watched the news and ate their curry with an uncharacteristic reticence.

Taking their leave from the vandalized establishment, the group began walking back to Raymond’s. Each had extensive experience navigating urban environments and never once had allowed themselves to fear for their safety, as they considered that type of fear fraught with racial overtones. Now, with young men running anywhere they pleased, burning and pillaging at leisure, the trio felt justifiably and defensibly terrified. Parts of the city previously considered stable and certain demographics previously considered safe were suddenly decidedly much less so, eliminating the refuge the privileged never knew they relied on so heavily until this moment.

They picked through the quickly spiraling chaos, passing scores of police officers on every street who’d been reduced to pleading with young people to cease their massively destructive tom-foolery. Turning onto Raymond’s street presented them with a shocking sight: the entire block was ablaze. Raymond rushed ahead before his companions could react and darted into the raging fire engulfing his abode. Nico and Asher remained outside, frantic with worry. Eternal minutes later, a smoking and ashen Raymond emerged carrying two objects.

“What in god’s name is wrong with you!?” shouted an irate Nico as Raymond trotted up with soot and ash flying behind him in waves.

“Are you insane? You could have been killed!” Asher added furiously.

“Oh no, I don’t think so. I think whatever that non-violence thing is means we can’t be hurt by anything,” Raymond explained as he came to a stop in front of them and attempted to catch his breath.

“Did you know that? What was worth going in there and taking that risk?” Nico mentally throttled him.

“Well…I wanted to get these.” he said, holding up his charred copies of The Myth of Sisyphus and The Pedagogy of the Oppressed.

“Alright, I’ll give you Sisyphus because you’re insane and obsessed, but why the Freire?” Asher asked, abandoning his anger.

“This is the copy that I bought the day Nico and I…our first date at Busboy’s,” Raymond managed, his face glowing red in the shifting light of the consuming flames.

“I hate you,” Nico said in a voice filled with disgust and adoration.

Raymond grinned broadly, “Even though the fire won’t injure us, I don’t think sleeping on a burning bed would suit our tastes. How about the LLS?”

“Aren’t you upset about your house? Everything you own is in there!” Nico exclaimed, confused by his remarkable calm.

“I guess I’m upset, I don’t like the idea of having all my stuff destroyed.” Raymond said, looking at the towering inferno with a placid detachment, “But, it’s just stuff, right? I would feel really materialistic if I was inconsolable about the destruction of my possessions. It’s weirdly calming though, and everything is too interesting right now to worry about something as trivial as my house burning down. Also, look at it! I’ve never seen a burning building before, let alone a burning block!”

“Raymond…”

The group wandered over to the LLS, marveling at the dynamic scene the rows of burning townhouses painted. They were met with an even more drama at the tower, which was being eaten away by the same flames devouring Raymond’s home.

“I’m sorry Nico…” Raymond spoke softly, placing his hand tenderly on the small of her back in a gesture he hoped indicated solidarity and comfort.

“It’s fine, I have boatloads of insurance on the thing,” she said dismissively, “though I’m pretty put out these fires are going to increase the percentage of homelessness in the US for the first time in three years. I feel like I own that number.”

“But it’s kind of out of your…holy shit!” Asher yelled, his eyes following the plummeting form of a human body that’d just dropped from the top of the LLS.

Raymond rushed to the fallen figure, which sprang up before he’d covered half the distance, hooting maniacally with drunken guffaws.

“Williams?” Raymond shouted, recognizing the stereotypical MB LLS volunteer, “Are you alright? What are you doing?”

“Fucking around. Clock, you fucking faggot,” slurred Williams as he staggered towards Raymond.

“Excuse me? I’m not gay but it doesn’t matter! That’s a disgusting thing to say!” Raymond seethed self-righteously.

“Fuck you,” Williams said with arrogant disdain, “You think the PC police are coming for me? We can do or say anything we want and nothing can hurt us. So fuck off.”

With that he weaved back into the burning building.

Raymond, shaken and disturbed, turned to Asher and Nico, “What are we going to do? Everyone’s gone insane!”

“Is it everyone? I have a theory. Nico, is your driver a white, Christian male of means?” Asher asked hurriedly.

“No, he’s…”

“Thank god. Alright, call him up. I think I know of a place we can regroup in relative safety.”

“Umm…Asher, we can’t be hurt apparently, I think we’re pretty much safe anywhere,” Raymond noted.

“Fine. I mean a place that isn’t currently nor is likely soon to be on fire. Nico, please call your driver!”

 

[1] None of this particular meal’s participants kept kosher or cared about the meaning of these labels, but Raymond held that the more labels with which a meal was affixed, the higher the perceived quality of that meal.

[2]Sample “prestige” dish:

Lamb Chops with Cilantro Chimichurri and Quinoa Salad

Prep Time: 40 minutes Cook Time: 45 Minutes Serves: 3

Ingredients

Chimichurri Sauce

  • 1 cup firmly packed fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt

Quinoa Salad

  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup quinoa (white, red or multicolored)
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium leek, well washed and diced
  • 1 large sweet potato, diced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, minced
  • 3 tablespoons fresh scallions, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Lamb Chops

  • 6 lamb chops (2 pounds)
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled and halved
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3/4 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 tablespoon fresh rosemary

Directions

For the chimichurri sauce:

  1. Puree cilantro and olive oil, add lime juice, garlic, cumin. cayenne and salt.
  2. Pulse thoroughly.
  3. Transfer sauce to a small serv­ing bowl, cover, and set aside.
  4. Refrigerate

For the quinoa salad:

  1. Bring vegetable stock to a boil and stir in quinoa.
  2. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer until the stock is absorbed.
  3. Remove from heat.
  4. While quinoa is cooking, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat.
  5. Add leek and sweet potato, sauté until tender.
  6. In a large bowl, gently mix quinoa with leek and sweet potato.
  7. Add the basil and scallions and mix well.
  8. Drizzle with 1/4 cup olive oil and add lemon juice.
  9. Stir gently.
  10. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
  11. Serve warm or at room temperature.

For the lamb chops:

  1. Preheat grill or broiler.
  2. Rub meat with cut sides of garlic.
  3. Lightly salt and pepper chops, then rub with olive oil.
  4. Coat chops with rosemary.
  5. Grill or broil chops for about 7 minutes per side for medium-rare.
  6. Let meat sit for 5 to 10 minutes prior to serving.

For assembly:

  1. To serve, place a mound of quinoa salad on each plate.
  2. Lean 2 chops at an angle against quinoa.
  3. Drizzle chimichurri sauce onto chops.

 

[3] Asher also seduced and slept with this veteran journalist.

[4] The “rider” was, in reality, merely the standard budgetary item for the National Park Service’s pesticide and fungicide supply. That this number had actually decreased from the previous fiscal year due to switching bulk pesticide contracts from Dead’r’n Hell Bugs Inc. (DDRH, -29.34%) to Mondo Dead Inc. (MONDD +37.29%) was a nuance absent from the rhetoric surrounding Sakura-gate.

[5] Gender inclusive pronouns are unsurprisingly unnecessary when describing members of this particular caucus.

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