Back when I was Christopher Walken’s personal chef, I never knew what random horrors each day would bring. I remember one day in particular, in which Mr. Walken sat his darkened study, lost in one of his strange, pensive moods. He summoned me just as the grandfather clock in the drafty hallway struck noon.
I stood there, awaiting his orders, for quite a long time. He sat in a large leather-bound chair, hands pressed together under his chin, as though pondering his options with grave consideration. Finally, in his familiar low, halting voice, he spoke.
“I would like…the Buggles,” he said. “For lunch.”
“The Buggles?” I repeated, not sure I’d understood. “You mean, the 80s ‘new wave’ musical duo?”
“Yes, exactly,” he said, relieved that I was familiar with them. A slight smile played upon his lips as he nodded, relishing some mental image that I daren’t even imagine.
I wasn’t sure what to say. Where the hell had this idea come from? “The Buggles broke up a long time ago,” I informed him. “They’re, uh, not a duo anymore.”
“Then…” he said thoughtfully, “you could get…the ingredients for the Buggles…and make some new ones.”
I thought about this seemingly nonsensical request for a moment, when suddenly the horrifying truth dawned on me. By “ingredients”, he meant that he wanted me to kidnap Trevor Horn and Geoffrey Downes, the original members of the Buggles, and cook them for lunch. His lunch.
“I can’t do that,” I said firmly. “I…I won’t do that. They’re human beings, not just ‘ingredients’ for some ghastly lunch for you.” I cringed, waiting for him to explode in a fit of anger, or at least send me packing.
“Oh,” he said softly, as though my words had actually made some kind of sense to him. “Okay. Well, then…I’m not sure what other…lunch options…are available to me. Let’s go into the kitchen and…explore them. Shall we?” He rose from his chair and waited for me to lead him into the kitchen, since he had no idea where it was. So I did.
When we got there, he gazed around in silent wonder at all the utensils and appliances. Finally, he spoke. “Where do you keep…the people?” he asked, gesturing with his hands.
“The people? What people?” I inquired, baffled.
“The people that you cook,” he explained. “Where…do you store them before preparing them…for my meals?” He asked this as though it were the most normal thing in the world.
Forcing back a retching wave of hot bile, I contained my revulsion long enough to respond. “I don’t cook people!” I exclaimed. “I cook food! FOOD! Nobody cooks PEOPLE! That’s HORRIBLE!”
He looked at me with a sort of serene puzzlement for a moment, then shrugged. He noticed something on the counter. “What is that?”
“That,” I said, grateful for the change of subject, “is a sandwich that I made for my own lunch.”
“Ah,” he said, amazed. “A…sandwich. Could you make one of those…for me?”
“Sure,” I said, relieved. “What kind of sandwich would you like?
“Are there…different kinds?”
“Oh, yes,” I said. “You can put whatever you want in a sandwich. Any kind of meat, in addition to things like tomatoes, lettuce, cheese, pickles–“
“Make me,” he said with growing excitement, “a Buggles sandwich.”
I slapped my forehead. “No…no, you don’t understand,” I said, exasperated. “You can’t–“
“With some of that pickles and…er, cheese things that you indicated,” he added. “And I…I really am hungry today, so…make me two of these Buggles sandwiches. Each of them containing half…of each separate Buggle. With cheese.” He took a deep breath and stood back with his mouth open, eagerly waiting for me to confirm my understanding of his instructions.
“Look, Mr. Walken,” I said, finally tiring of this charade and spelling it out for him, slowly and plainly. “I cannot and WILL not cook people for you to eat for lunch, or for any other meal. You’re asking me to commit MURDER, for heaven’s sake…so that YOU can indulge in cannibalism, one of the most utterly HEINOUS acts a person can commit. Why, the very notion of this fills me with an inutterable HORROR which I can scant express with mere words!” I leaned wearily against the counter, drained by my emotional turmoil.
He thought about this for a long time, then held up his index finger and began to speak. “Are you…trying to tell me…” he said slowly, a look of concern on his face, “that we…are out of cheese?”
“NO!” I screamed. “WE’RE OUT OF BUGGLES! YOU’LL HAVE TO EAT SOMETHING ELSE!”
“Ah,” he nodded, appearing to understand me at last. I waited anxiously, fearfully, for his next words. He extended his arm so that his sleeve would retract and reveal his wristwatch. He looked at it, furrowing his brow. “It’s five minutes after twelve,” he announced. “Is my lunch ready yet?”
“No,” I said. “You told me you wanted the Buggles for lunch, and I told you I could not and would not kidnap and cook them for you. Therefore, you have yet to present me with a viable alternative meal to prepare for you.”
“I understand,” he affirmed. “Well, then,” he said breezily, “I’ll just invite some friends over for lunch, and you can cook some of them.” He pulled an address book out of his pocket, went over to the phone, and began calling people while I simply stared at him in disbelief. Thirty minutes later, the livingroom was filled with guests milling around drinking cocktails.
“There’s Meryl Streep,” he said to me in a low voice, pointing. “I’d like some spaghetti and Streep balls as an appetizer. And over there,” he added, indicating a gentleman standing next to the Picasso, “is Dennis Hopper. As an entree, I’d like some thick, juicy Dennis Hopper steaks. Ribeyes, of course.”
“Of course,” I said wearily.
“And to snack on…umm, who’s left…oh, just do something fun with Steven Spielberg. Maybe a sort of festive meatloaf. Or some jerky. But you’d better hurry, because he never stays long.”
“So…I just slaughter them now?” I asked.
“Yes, yes, just slaughter them now,” he urged. “I’m famished.”
Steeling myself, I clutched the meat cleaver and began to inch forward. Suddenly a wave of hysteria swept through me and I screamed at the top of my lungs: “NO! NO! I WON’T DO IT! I WON’T SLAUGHTER AND COOK HOLLYWOOD’S ELITE FOR YOUR LUNCH!”
With that, I flung the meat cleaver aside and ran shrieking from the room. On my way out, I could hear Mr. Walken explain to his guests, “Well, you just can’t get good help these days.”
Later, he found me hiding in the kitchen, trembling. He noticed my sandwich sitting uneaten on the counter. “Are you…going to eat that?” he asked.
“No, you can have it,” I said in a quavering voice. “I couldn’t bear to eat anything right now.”
He picked up half of the sandwich and took a bite. “Mmm, this is very good,” he appraised. “Who is it?”
It was Underwood Chicken Spread, but I lied. “It’s Tom Cruise. I got a good deal on the cast of TOP GUN at the meat market.”
And so, for the next several weeks, I gave Christopher Walken chicken spread sandwiches for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and told him that we were working our way through the entire cast of TOP GUN. When that was over, I switched to deviled ham and told him we were starting in on PULP FICTION. This eventually presented a problem, since I’d forgotten that he was in it. So one day, two weeks into PULP FICTION, he asked, “When do I get to eat me for lunch?” Thinking fast, I opened up a can of Spam and pointed at it. “This is you,” I said. “Oh…I look good,” he drooled.