Transcriptions: Writing

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'Transcriptions: Writing' is a project inviting MA Creative Writing students from Birkbeck, University of London, to write a short fiction response to a National Gallery painting.

Giampietrino, 'Salome', about 1510–30

David Quéva

Giampietrino, Salome
Giampietrino, 'Salome', about 1510-30

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‘No waitress ever lasted more than a week!’, the cook told me the very day I started working here, at Herod’s Tavern. ‘It stinks!’, he added, although I am not sure he was talking about the food. He then disappeared mysteriously and my boss, Mr Herod, said: ‘Look Salome, I am sure you can deal with the problem. You can cook while checking on the customers at the same time, can’t you?’ I nodded and got on with it, but then a customer asked for a tête de veau. I looked everywhere and finally found one in the freezer. I cooked it as well as I could but when I brought it to the customer, he started complaining. ‘Too much hair!’ he said. ‘Mr Herod is the one dealing with complaints. Shall I call him?’ I asked, but the customer became quiet and ate his tête de veau with sudden relish.