Kelp: What You Need To Know
It takes me a while to get to Kelp, a restaurant surrounded by secrecy, which is only frequented regularly by the more affluent Neopian. Here, you are more likely to see Fyora and her entourage crowed around their sea fern encrusted tables, than, say, Abigail or AAA.
But, after what seems like miles of recurring moss covered rocks and the odd floating Kora, I arrive at its gleaming stone steps.
I pause for a while, wondering whether one has to knock upon the large wooden door before being assessed for entry by an employee. Despite travelling far and wide to find the most suitable attire for this interview, I cannot help but feel somewhat inadequate standing before the magnificent building.
I decide to knock.
After a few seconds of tense waiting, out comes Francesco, a dashing and immaculately dressed Maraquan Scorchio. I recognise him from his recent advert in The Neopian Times, it's Francesco Kelp. The very fellow I was hoping to meet.
'Welcome to Kelp, Madam.' He beams at me in a strong, matter-of-fact way. 'Do you have a reservation?'
Right. Here comes my moment. I had practiced it hundreds of times into a mirror at home.
'No,' I said, feeling the confidence drain from me as I tried to keep eye contact with Francesco. 'I... erm... I'm not actually here to eat.'
Francesco looked at me, puzzled. He straightened the green bow tie on his shirt as he looked me up and down.
'Well, unfortunately for you, this is a restaurant. What reason do you have for gracing our doors if you do not wish to sample some of the finest food in all of Neopia?'
'Well, Sir,' I began, trying not to stumble over my words. 'I was hoping to interview you. For the Neopian Times.'
Francesco's stern expression did not change.
'If you do not have a reservation, then please come back when you do,' he snapped, slamming the large wooden door in my face.
Right. So that went well.
I stood outside for a moment, defeated. How was I going to get the exclusive interview I had promised? It was my first big article, and I needed to deliver big. I was already on shaky ground with the editor, I'd spent years answering his every beck and call, waiting on him hand and foot, and bringing him coffee, only to have said coffee thrown back at me for reasons such as 'it's too hot!' or 'it's too cold!' or 'there's not enough coffee in this coffee!'
I couldn't wait for the day when I could prove to him what I can really do. I promised myself that one day, I would wipe that smug look off his face!
I left Kelp, and sat down on a nearby rock. 'It's over. I'm finished!' I thought to myself, even the sea fern covering the rock that was tickling my legs failed to make me smile.
I can't tell you how long I was sat there. But it was long enough for me to reconsider my Journalism career and think about applying for the job I had seen advertised in Kauvara's.
But, it would seem, all was not lost.
With a sudden bang, the doors of Kelp flew open. It was Francesco, followed by a nervous looking Flotsam in a chef's uniform.
'You're FIRED!' Francesco screamed. 'If you can't perfect a Lemwart Fizz, then you're no good to me!' And with a flick of his tail, he disappeared back inside.
The Flotsam, who had not yet seen me, grabbed his chef's hat and threw it on the ground.
Hmm, I know how he felt. If we Journalists wore hats, I'd have thrown mine on the ground earlier too.
I stood up from the rock, and went over to him.
'Whoa, it looks like you really upset him... ' I joked.
The Flotsam turned to me, a little embarrassed that I had watched the whole tirade.
'Huh, well, that's easily done. There's absolutely NO pleasing that guy. I swear, Kelp isn't all it's cracked up to be,' he muttered.
My ears pricked up. Although I couldn't get an interview with Francesco, here I have a guy with all the inside knowledge I need for my article. Maybe he could help me?
'Well,' I said, moving closer to him as I tried to put on my reporter's face. 'I'm trying to write an article on Kelp, but it looks like I've come to a dead end with Francesco. I don't suppose... you could help me?'
The Flotsam paused for a moment, puzzled.
I smiled at him, hoping, really hoping he would agree.
'Erm, I guess I could give you a few minutes of my time. It's not like I've got a job to go to anymore.'
YES. I'm finally getting somewhere! I scrambled into my bag for my notepad and pen. Trying to look as professional as I could in the circumstances.
I held out my hand and directed him over to the rock I'd sat on previously.
'Step into my office.' I smiled.
So, with us both huddled uncomfortably, we began.
Q: How long did you work for Mr. Francesco Kelp?
A: Um, a few days. Not very long.
Q: And, how would you describe Mr. Kelp?
A: The guy, he's... he's INSANE. He couldn't put together an Angel Hair Salad if he tried, but he has the cheek to throw me out? Psssh....
Q: I see, I see. So, reading from their recent advert in the Neopian Times, what does make Kelp the 'finest establishment this side of Krawk Island?'
A: Ha! I'll tell you what makes them so special. Everyone knows Fyora and her pals are at Kelp all the time. You know why they eat here so much?! They're allowed to eat for free, because if it wasn't for them, there wouldn't BE a Kelp!
Q: What do you mean by that?
A: I mean, the only reason the food at Kelp tastes better than other Neopian restaurants, is because Fyora bottles a 'secret ingredient' and sells it to Kelp. The chefs sprinkle it onto the food, and viola, it tastes amazing! We, um, sorry, THEY, are serving up bowls of gruel, but with that secret ingredient, it tastes fantastic!
Q: So, are you saying that, Francesco is a fraud?
A: Yes! That's exactly what I'm saying. Their food is just cheap garbage bought from places like The Rubbish Dump, fashioned into fancy little shapes and sprinkled with faerie dust. It's not some fabulous cuisine, it's FAKE.
Well, there you have it.
Reeling from the Flotsam's revelation, I excitedly hurry back to my office. I can't wait to break this story! Imagine the look on my editor's face when I tell him!
Upon my arrival into the office, I quickly run to my desk in order to type up my notes from the interview. My notepad was covered in Maraquan sea fern, and I didn't want shoddy notes to detract from such a ground-breaking story.
With my notes all printed out, I fixed my dress and headed into my editor's office. Upon knocking at the door, I straightened my shoulders and took a deep breath. This was my moment.
'Yes, what now?' the editor mumbled, clearly not interested in whatever I was about to say.
'Sir, I've got that story on Kelp you wanted,' I began, standing in front of his desk as he was sat tucking into some food.
'Ah, I've just had some of their new dishes delivered,' he said.
I paused for a moment, thinking back to what the Flotsam had told me about Kelp's food coming from The Rubbish Dump.
'I'm clearly far too busy to read that now, come back later, when I can be bothered' he said, not lifting his face up from his bowl.
I smiled to myself, all the years of grief off this guy, and I was finally getting my own back.
'Okay, I'll just leave it here on your desk. Have a read of it when you can. Enjoy your food.'
I left his office and went to sit down, very pleased with myself.
It wasn't until later, I heard a growl from the editor's office, followed by the remains of his lunch being thrown at the wall. He'd read my story.
Revenge, is indeed a dish best served cold.