My Brother Jacques
– Fiction by Ann-Marie Everitt & Painting by Jessica Bernal –
My brother Jacques is missing! Interpol is involved, and I fear very sinister human behavior is at the heart of the matter. It’s too dark even for the news, too destabilizing for most of us to process. An investigation is underway that stretches from France to Taiwan and over to Australia, where he and I have been raised.
While at first glance you might consider Jacques a jock, you would just be judging him on his musculature and creamy smooth legs and pecs. He’s really a jokester, and I quite presciently used to call him a goose, a term of endearment I picked up from the British kid, Critch, who loved me but had no time for Jacques and said I should be careful of issuing unauthorized blessings. Still I thought it was appropriate especially when in later life Jacques became an importer of fine French delicacies which the nouvelle cuisine Sydney is mad for. He specialized or specializes, I don’t know what tense to use, in Free Range Foie Gras.
It’s an incredible business in a luxury driven market, and he was very, very generous with the whole family last Christmas. He even managed to buy that elusive dream house, right on Tamarama beach that’s also known as Glamarama because of the models and actors that gather there. He became one of its second-tier celebrities and perhaps this became the point of no return.
He’s been on the body beautiful path since late teens, successfully replacing his sausage belly with pritikin menus and forever more rocking it rather than rolling it. It did take consistency though, which was ultimately challenged by the nature of his gourmet trade, the extra kilos the rillettes and terrines packed on, threatening his pecking order on the beach. Diet trumps push-ups you know. How could he keep his golden goose and eat it too?
Foie gras for those of you who may not have encountered it is made from coercing geese or ducks to overeat themselves to death, leaving a liver that is fat, rich and delicious. Jacques was an early adopter of Free Range Foie Gras which entices and entraps migrating Moulards by planting groves of figs, peaches, and plums in their flight paths. This way the gorging is voluntary, and I think Jacques even marketed it as ‘sky to table’ and perhaps even squeezed on a ‘kind to animals’ label to boot. Foie gras production should be judged not by the worst practices, but by the best, he was proud to say. As inspirational and PETA challenging as these claims may be it did not solve the problem of his own overindulgence.
Then along came the Keto diet, eat all the rich food you want just leave off the fruits and grains. Your body goes into fat-burning ketosis and once again you’re an Adonis. He’s even become a spokesperson for this movement too. You can see the tragedy, a businessman and culture influencer, at the top of his game, disappeared.
He had just returned from an all-expenses-paid trip to Taiwan. Or had he? There was a boarding pass issued, the flight crew says he was on the plane although this hasn’t been verified by other passengers. You’d think at least one other person may have recognized him from Instagram.
There’s silence from the cohort he traveled over with. They were a delegation of influential providores, gourmands, and competition winners. He fell in love with one of them during takeoff from Sydney airport. He and Frankie had already been spending a lot of time together in the build-up to the trip. Press interviews, photoshoots, launches at the Opera House. She was seated next to him in their business class enclave. She told me Fate had brought them together and that a great knowing had surged through their bodies as they left terra firma, a certainty that the journey of life as they knew it was nearly over. She had supposed this was the foretelling of greatness. A selfie captured the moment, a toast of Moët, their fingers bristling with spectral energy, barely touching and yet already yoked.
He definitely was one of the star guests at a degustation on their final night and the site of one of his last posts. Normal people couldn’t tell but I thought it looked like he was about to puke, that he had forced that last piece of pâtè down just to please the crowd. It was right before his keynote speech singing the praises of Keto Foie Gras (KFG). Yes, he was riding the early wave of the next level of the keto lifestyle and perhaps unwittingly taking foie gras where it had never been before. The gentlemen behind him were clearly swooning.
The agents agree with me that Jacques really didn’t understand what KFG is. He isn’t much of a reader and was probably suckered by the title and excited about the fusion of his two passions; he would have believed what his minders fed him. Keto Foie Gras, the founder explains in glossy pamphlets found on the alternate web, is very devoted to the consumption of human(e) foie gras, there’s a lengthy explanation of why this is desirable and how this enables the absorption of fiber without having to eat an apple or slice of sourdough. The gourmet receives a full range of nutrients and amino acids from natural sources while still incinerating the lipid tissues. The temple body unites with the astral body. You know language, science and common sense thrown into the blender and served as a protein smoothie. He’s not responding to inquiries as to why the (e) is bracketed. Parentheses usually indicate additional meaning, something extra, certainly not something taken away…..
There is also a lengthy section on how a human(e) liver that has been treated with care and a keto feeding regime is an exceptional and highly sought-after culinary prize. Indeed, the winner of the San Sebastián rare food contest in the Spring of 2020. The final chapter which Jacques surely hasn’t ever read is how these human(e) livers are harvested from their hosts.
There’s the official video of the night. Jacques sinks back into his chair after regurgitating the KFG bible from the autocue. The crowd has lapped it up while the penny has finally dropped for him. Frankie is seen creating light patterns with the crystal champagne flutes:
Three short flashes
Three long flashes
Three short flashes
It’s the famous Morse code emergency signal. Navy experts agree, although she now denies it. We also see her seat vacated.
I think the best-case scenario is that Jacques only lost his liver, that this lovely engorged organ was merely surgically removed when he finally collapsed from la grande bouffe. I think that would be the kindest route, but how long can one survive sans foie? Perhaps it was replaced, as he did so well with the first they will give him a second to go again. He could be recuperating in a foreign hospital…
You can guess his IG handle, and the account is still active; if you see him please contact the authorities.
Ann-Marie Everitt began her creative life in her hometown Sydney, Australia as a film reviewer for the Hub; a producer for the ABC; and a short filmmaker with her besties. These days she writes for fun mixing up short stories, eco-writing, and scripts while making a living as a yoga and meditation teacher in New York City. She is exploring the fields of Sacred Activism, Indigenous Knowledge, and Systems Change. This story may or may not be part of an absurd collection called “Living a life of Plenty”. Ann-Marie also works as a philosophy and meditation trainer and mentor for the ground-breaking Breathe for Change and offers classes for Mental Health on Insight Timer. She is certified to teach: Hatha Yoga, Yogic Philosophy, Meditation, Therapeutic Yoga, Yoga for Teens, Yoga for Trauma, Mindfulness, and Metta (Loving Kindness). Follow her on Instagram @amba_yoga_nyc.
Jessica Bernal is a Chicana artist born and raised in Aztlàn. She studied art and design at Community College of Denver, and has exhibited her works in several galleries in the Denver area. With a darkly surrealist mix of acrylic and oils, she forges a juxtaposition of Chicano Magical Realism and outlaw street art.