I ran a contest in November of 2012, with three possible ways to enter: draw Jaehab, voice-act Ellen's description of her tiefling warlock, or write fanfiction of any sort. This is an example of the third option, from forum user Pumpkincat.
Morning had dawned the way morning inevitably did; gradually, and with the urban fanfare less that of birdsong and more of cursing and thrown alarm clocks. “Why did I even SET the alarm when I don’t have to work today?” Ellen emerged in jeans and a t-shirt on which was written ‘I fscked your ..’ and headed for the kitchen. She snarled at Jamie who was - predictably - either already up or still up, frowning at what she hazily identified as the half-disassembled body of a stand mixer.
“Good morning,” Jamie said with distracted cheeriness. “I whipped up an omelet for you - we’re out of ham, so I substituted chicken sausage with just a touch of fennel, and dried apricots reconstituted in a lightly spicy red pepper and brown sugar syrup. It’s low on the sugar, though, since I was plumping up the fruit for moisture and texture, not to add too much sweetness. And there’s fresh rye toast with some Amish butter I picked up at the farmer’s market this morning after I got off shift before it started to fill up.” He poked experimentally at a pile of cogs and what Ellen suspected might be a leaf spring; she couldn’t see from her current angle and lack of caffeination.
“Grmph,” she replied as she sat, looking at the plate without seeing it clearly either - so it wasn’t the angle, it was definitely her. She reached for a mug. Jamie helpfully added, “Oh, and I also picked up half a pound of coffee from Sulawezi - there’s a place two blocks down from the market which used to be a convenience store but apparently now roasts their own beans for those in the know.” Ellen gave him a look and he held up his hands, one of which contained a screwdriver. “Right, shutting up now.”
Ellen grunted and took a sip of the coffee. It was - as almost expected - revelatory. She drank faster, ignoring the scalding on her tongue, and set the mug down only because the enchantment of the smell of the food was laying a potent geas on her fork-holding hand. Five minutes and half an omelet and a full slice of toast later, she put her fork down.
Jamie chimed in with, “Oh, by the way, I’ll have to pick up more chicken breasts. The ones I bought for dinner went into the sausage.” He experimentally prodded the business end of the screwdriver into the mixer’s guts, forcing her to take closer note of what he was doing.
“…We have a stand mixer? A disassembled stand mixer, even.” Ellen eyed it warily, but didn’t get too far from her breakfast just yet.
“We do! You recognize it? I got it on sale.” Jamie looked all too proud of himself. Ellen groaned.
“Considering the last time you got something on sale, I had to spend the better part of two days rebuilding it almost from scratch, excuse me if I’m not yet prepared to congratulate you.” She picked up her mug, examining the inside. Still some coffee left. “You say ‘on sale’. What kind of deal? Judging by the pieces, I’d think they’d pay you to take it away. And my grandmother had one, so I recognize the outlines, but yours looks like somebody forgot how to color inside the lines.”
“…Like it’s seen better days?” Jamie suggested. He half-grinned, half-grimaced. “They said it was temperamental but they were pretty sure it could be fixed. They just didn’t have the time or inclination so they’d bought a new one. I got it at the stand where I got the rye bread. Five bucks.” He nudged the screwdriver in, and something made of rubber shot off at an angle. “Oops.”
Reluctantly, Ellen got up and came over, bringing the coffee as a lifeline in a dark and dying world. “I know I was up too late raiding, but I’m fairly certain it wasn’t supposed to do THAT,” she answered dryly. She looked into the body. “Well, I won’t say it’s hopeless, but this time I’m not bailing you out. My magic powers only work on computers, not on clockwork machinery from the Precambrian era.”
“If it were clockwork machinery from the Precambrian era, I’d be able to sell it for enough to buy myself a fleet of mixers.” Jamie’s eyes briefly glazed over to a dreamy expression. “Kitchenaid … Bosch … Viking…” He let out a sigh.
“See, I don’t know cookware, but even I know grown men aren’t supposed to sound like that when they talk about it.” Ellen leaned against the counter and sipped her coffee. Still good. “This is the sort of thing which makes me think that if Max were - in some parallel universe - ever proven right about us, I’d have to kill you because you’d keep jumping out of bed in the middle of the action to go whip up some new recipe you’d spontaneously invented.”
Jamie looked mildly offended, straightening up to gesture with the screwdriver. “Of course I wouldn’t. The secrets to being a good chef aren’t that different from being a good lover, after all. You can only tease so much; there has to be the payoff for the consumer. - Speaking, of course, in Max’s hypothetical universe, because I really can’t afford to be evicted.”
Ellen pointed at the dead mixer. “With experiments like these, you can’t afford much of anything. - So being a good lover is like being a good chef? Care to explain how?” She smirked, finishing off her coffee and thumping the mug down on an exposed bit of counter in order to fold her arms over her chest. “I can’t wait to hear this.”
“Well, I’d think it’s obvious.” Jamie grinned, going to find the bit of rubber that had flown off. “First, attention to detail is important in both. Texture, flavor -“
“If you’re going to tell me that you can change the FLAVOR,” Ellen interrupted, “Max is going to psychically sense what we’re talking about and come flying in here to demand your secrets.”
“Well, you can, actually, but that’s not what I meant.” Jamie rooted about under the table. “I found that 20-sided you were missing, by the way. Ah - good lord, did they use a bank wad rubber band in place of a motor driver? Or whatever you call those things.”
“Five bucks and in this condition? I wouldn’t be surprised.” Ellen smirked again as Jamie emerged from under the table. “Good, Lily was grousing about that being missing. I’ll tell her it’s been located. So what are you going to do about this pile of junk?”
“GUYS! Guess who’s heeeeeeeeeeeere!” The door flew open and a pint-sized whirlwind leaped almost balletically into the kitchen, arms thrown upward. Max beamed at them. “And guess what I’m full of. Even moreso than usual, I dare say. I do - I dare say it. Good morrrrning!”
“Morning, Max.” Jamie greeted her with a smile and tossed the die to Ellen, who rolled her eyes.
“Do we really need to go through this routine every other day? Let me guess. Trent spent the night last night.” Ellen shook her head and put the die in a mug emblazoned with a green skull and the words ‘Roll to Will Save’. “What’s up?”
“Not Trent, let me tell you. I rode that pony into the ground. Although he wasn’t put away wet. That would be me.” Max beamed with all the cheerful inappropriate pleasure of a 12 year old boy at a church picnic and a frog hidden in a backpack. “That’s not why I’m here, though. Aren’t you going to ask why I am here?”
“Because it’s probably the setup for a wildly sex-crazed one-liner?” Ellen retorted. “Actually, we were just talking about you.” She was recalled to her conversation with Jamie and gave him a feral grin. “Watch out or I’ll turn you over to her.”
“Everything is the setup for a wildly sex-crazed one-liner. Or even two-liner,” Max proclaimed. She homed in on the leftovers on Ellen’s plate, pouncing. “You must be falling down on the job, she left some behind, Jamie. Not me. I never leave ANY behind. By which I mean, of course, sex. Although sometimes from behind is even more awesome than on top. And hey, I’ve offered. Does this mean you’re blue-lighting my taking care of Jamie’s blue balls?”
Jamie interjected hastily, before Ellen could answer or throw anything. “Actually, we were talking about the attention to detail chefs give things, but on an entirely different note, I don’t suppose you know anyone who might sell used mixer parts?” He took up his screwdriver to point and poke at the machine carcass on the counter. “I picked this up this morning and I’m not ashamed to admit that I might be in over my head.”
“That’s what she said!” Max grinned, then looked thoughtful. “Well, you might try over at the Filthy Hippie. Their stuff is pretty old, but Bruce is aces at keeping stuff going. He buys used and fixes it up.”
“Great! Let’s go. Ellen, I don’t suppose you’ve got a box you weren’t using…?” Jamie gave Ellen a hopeful look.
Ellen gave them both a long-suffering look in return. “I didn’t finish because I was pacing myself - a concept I’m aware you don’t believe in,” she retorted to Max, pushing away from the counter. “I’ve got an old Pentaq box in my room that I used to bring home some old RAM chips - I’ll see if I can clear it out. Though if you think Bruce has anything which can fix that, you are an optimist indeed, my friend.”
“I pace myself all the time! You don’t get to have multiple orgasms on a daily basis otherwise. Spell it with me.” Max swung into a hip-shaking booty dance. “M-U-L-T-I-“
“We get it, we get it. Let’s go before Max decides to have carnal relations with your mixer.” Ellen pushed off the counter, heading for her room to grab the box. “I could use a mean green steamroller anyway.”
“Technically speaking, I don’t think we’d be able to get it to turn on long enough to vibrate sufficiently for any kind of stimulation,” Jamie answered, looking thoughtful as he began scooping up the bits he’d disassembled. “And I don’t believe it’s an orbital mixer in any case. I’m not the best judge of what would be considered erotic in a mixer, though.”
“Wouldn’t you be the best judge of what would be considered erotic in a mixer? You’ve got the most experience of any of us,” Max pointed out, pausing in mid-booty dance. “Besides, who’d turn down mechanical stimulation?” Her eyebrows shot up, grin wide enough to fit an entire watermelon in sideways. “Get it? Mechanical. Ha!”
“We get it. Here you go, Jamie.” Ellen returned with the box, tossing it towards Jamie, who caught it one-handed. “I don’t think he’d be the best judge, no. Best judge of mixers for their proper use, maybe, but unless he’s getting up to things in the kitchen when I’m asleep that I don’t want to know about - oh, ick.” She made a face, shuddering. “Now I’m imagining you humping the coffee maker. Can’t UNSEE.”
Jamie looked horrified. “I’d never do that! Do you know how HOT those things get up to?” He scooped everything into the box. “I can definitely say I find nothing erotic about scalding acidified water near my most sensitive anatomy. Max, mind getting the door for me?”
Max danced forward to do so. “Besides, why would you hump the coffee maker when Ellen’s right there? With an ass even hotter than the most steaming cup of java in existence. Oh, BURN.” The eyebrows went up again with maniacal glee as Ellen rolled her eyes, reddening slightly. “See what I did there?”
Jamie returned to looking thoughtful as he stepped into the elevator with them. “If I found the appliances more attractive than I did Ellen, what would that say about me as a person? It’s not the same as asexuality; asexuality implies a lack of sexual interest. Humanity, or the lack thereof, isn’t really in question.”
Ellen pressed the down button, eyes still rolled in a way which suggested she was thinking of making it a permanent expression. “It’d say that you were seriously fucked in the head, for one. Isn’t there that supposed genetic imperative? Max, you’re always saying that giving pleasure is the universal ideal. An inanimate object can’t feel anything, can it?”
Max looked thoughtful as the elevator sank down, doors opening to spill them out into the lobby. “There are theoretical inanimate races, I guess. Remember that steampunk campaign Lily ran? Only, wait, clockwork - that was animate, even if not human. Still, it’s not just about giving pleasure. He’s not hurting anyone by humping his junk on your coffee maker. If it gets his jollies going, it’s still good.”
“Except hurting myself.” Jamie grimaced. “Coffee is best when brewed at between 195 and 200 degrees. So we’re talking temperatures between two and three times room temperature and more than double the healthy bodily temperature of a human being. That’s hot enough to blister skin and definitely enough to cause second-degree burns. Still, I suppose if you’re enough of a masochist, it might be erotic.” He tucked the box up against his chest. “We could ask Simon.”
“Let’s not.” Ellen grabbed the door of the Funky Harvest, holding it open for Jamie and Max to pass through. “If he IS turned on by that, I don’t need to know. Though damn, I’d think that wouldn’t work too well. Second-degree burns and blisters - even if you got it up, it wouldn’t be for long, would it?”
“Hi Bruce!” Max sang out as she ducked in ahead of Jamie. “How’re they hanging? Low and steady? - You’d be surprised what the human body’s capable of. I wouldn’t be, but you would be.” She grinned at Ellen as she sauntered to the counter. “Gimme a papaya juice with a protein boost, willya, Bruce? Hiya, Monique.”
“Sure, Max, good to see you. What can I get you two?” Bruce asked affably, eyeing Jamie’s box with mild interest. “Moving day?”
Monique let out a breath and slid behind Bruce. “Sagebrush,” she demanded, voice intense. “We need sagebrush!”
Ellen, Jamie, Max and Bruce all shared a look of more or less equal confusion. “What?” Bruce finally asked. “Uh… sage’s right over there. What do you need it for, Monique?”
“I remember him.” Monique twitched, reaching for the jar Bruce had pointed at, ripping off the lid and snatching green leaves up from its belly. “We need to do a cleansing. NOW. …This isn’t sagebrush.”
“Whoa, whoa, whoa.” Ellen held up her hands. “This is getting too hippie for me. - No offense, Bruce. What in the name of Eberron do you need sagebrush for, or is this one of those trick questions which gets my drink card revoked?”
Jamie primarily looked confused, tucking the box under one arm and lifting his other to sniff himself. “I showered this morning. The only things I should smell like are fennel and possibly a little bit of motor oil, although I tried to be careful when I was taking the mixer apart. Speaking of which, I hear you’re an expert.” He gave Bruce a hopeful glance. “And if you’ve got mealworm powder in, I’ll have a mean green steamroller, too.”
“Cleansing … seriously?” Max stepped forward as if hurling herself between Jamie and a thrown spear. “What the fuck, Monique? Since when are first impressions gained while stoned as balls considered valid as if in a court of law?”
“And this is what my life has come to,” Ellen mulled as Jamie set the box down in front of Bruce while Monique shrank back with a hiss, brandishing her fistful of greenery. “Caught in the middle of a confrontation between a new age barista, possibly stoned, armed with a bunch of herbs, and a highly skilled chef whose skill is backed right now only by a broken implement of pastry creation. I wonder if this is what they meant when they said D&D leads to damnation.” She sighed. “Oh, what the hell. Roll for initiative.”
“No mealworms, dude. Cleaned out inventory, uh, sorry.” Bruce looked in the box almost out of habit, then whistled. “Whoa! It’s been a long time since I’ve seen one of THESE.” He looked over his shoulder at Monique. “We don’t have sagebrush. Should we have sagebrush? It’s no good as a botanical. Why would we have sagebrush, come to think? What’m I missing?”
Max explained while maintaining her bristlingly defensive posture between Jamie and Monique, slapping a hand down on the counter, “Sagebrush is used in a lotta native traditions for cleansing rituals. Monique’s basically saying Jamie’s spiritually unclean and totes unsafe to be around. Which I KNOW she knows better than to judge him on, RIGHT?”
Jamie looked bemused, trying to divide his attention between two conversations of almost equal intellectual interest to him. “They said it started out as a Hobart mixer back when they were Kitchenaid and vice versa - so, the 1960s. But it became sort of a pet project, and, well… So I’m spiritually unclean? What does sagebrush do? Even assuming that’s possible, I don’t see how some bits of plant material would help.”
Monique sulked. “Well, it won’t help if you don’t LET it.” She dropped the sage leaves onto the counter, stepping back from Bruce, tossing Max a mildly indignant look. “And that just heightens spiritual awareness, you know? Totally doesn’t invalidate what I saw. Have you looked at his aura yourself?”
Bruce reached into the box with one hand, rolling a papaya to Monique with the other. “I see Viking bearings … is that a Bosch gear? Dude. This is one heck of a project you’ve got going here. Does it work? And it’s a smoke bath. Supposed to be able to purify people, places, things - whatever you need, especially of any negativity. Still not sure why we’d have any here, though. Although maybe we should, in case of karmic emergencies.” He smiled.
Ellen fished out a D20, then shrugged and dropped it back in her pocket. “As long as we’re not leading in to melee combat with spell components, do you think we could get those drinks? And Jamie, at this rate, I will BUY you a mixer. Brand new, just try to keep it to under … what’s a reasonable price for a mixer?”
Max relaxed her guard a little, putting both hands on the counter. Her eyes went round as saucers. “DUDE! You’re totally buying him toooooys!” She cackled with glee as Jamie and Ellen both eyed her. “The good ship Jay-El sails on!” She made a pumping motion as if tooting a horn. “Wootwoot!”
Ellen snatched her drink as Monique somewhat sullenly set it down on the counter. “Okay, one, I’m buying the guy who makes me breakfasts, in MY kitchen, a tool with which to make me breakfasts. Two, I’m also going to make him make me cheesecakes. Three, never, ever call it that again. Makes us sound like a goddamn Superman refugee.”
Max swept her hands together in an ultra-femme pose and batted her eyelashes at Ellen. “Totally worth it. You’re calling it ‘us’ now. I know what kind of cheesecake he can make yoooou.”
Jamie held up a finger in protest. “Uh, first of all, I’m fairly sure that we’re getting back into the S&M angle if we talk about me making any kind of cheesecake which involves nudity plus a stand mixer. Plus, I really like not being evicted and homeless, so I’m just going to suggest a price range of around $150 should be good. If you’re sure about this, Ellen. I mean, I did spend five bucks already on this.” He nudged the box.
Ellen slapped a twenty onto the counter as Jamie’s drink was gingerly nudged towards him by Monique. “So we’ll up the limit to $155. Donate the parts to Bruce’s mixer repair fund and we’ll go shopping. Maybe we can drop Miss Sex-A-Lot off at Simon and Wallace’s place.”
“Only if I can borrow your d20.” Max grinned entirely unrepentantly, bouncing along in their wake. “I bet I can find a new way to ‘roll for initiative’! By which I mean, sex up my sweeties. Booyah!”
Jamie let the door swing shut behind them on Bruce and Monique and the box of half-disassembled mixer parts. “Well, there’s a kitchen supply place a few blocks from the Capsaicin Lounge, but they’re pretty expensive to go into it new. Maybe we should check for some auctions. Or garage sales. I’d rather not see Wallace again until I have something better to show him in line of a board game. No offense, Max.”
“The first time I heard about you going to a garage sale, it resulted in me spending time, blood, sweat and tears on the worst abomination of a computer and operating system I have ever seen.” Ellen growled the words out. “This time, it nearly got you jumped by a shaman with spell components. No. No, we are not going to an auction, garage sale, or even trolling craigslist. We are buying you a mixer and that’s final.” She stalked down the sidewalk, sticking her straw in her mouth in bitter defiance, muttering around it something about gremlins.
Bruce looked at the gently closing door and told Monique, “See? There’s nothing wrong with his aura. The man has the most perfectly balanced karma I’ve ever seen.” He rang up the sale and dropped the twenty into the register, then picked up the box with the partly disassembled motor. “He gets falsely arrested; he gets set free. He gets accosted by you … and now he’s getting a free mixer.” He shakes his head. “A perfect case of mixer match.” He held up his hands in self-defense at Monique’s piquant look in response. “Okay, okay. Bad pun. And I never said it was GOOD karma.”