Today my boss came in very excited about the topic of sausage. Yes, sausage. Sausage, first thing in the morning.
He came in earlier than usual that morning. I had once again come in at 9 o'clock for no apparent reason. Then Natasha pranced in thirty minutes later and immediately became engaged with her very demanding personal phone call regimen, babbling to friends and mother.
But everyone and everything stopped one hour later when Kolya arrived to work that morning. His eyes were a-burnin, there was something different about him. He was excited about something. He had found a reason to live.
"Shall I order some sausage with cognac?" This was the first question he asked me this morning. He was standing in front of my desk, oh-so excited about this sausage. I was certain I must have heard him incorrectly, so I just nodded. The nodding tactic never fails. Either it's what I am supposed to do, or he just shakes his head and laughs at the silly foreigner. But he did not laugh this morning.
Sausage and cognac? Was today some sort of Russian holiday I hadn't heard about? That happens a lot. I usually check with at least ten expats and five Russians before I pencil in an upcoming holiday. But there wasn't any holiday today, was there...? Sausage day?
So I must have heard him correctly: this cognac-sausage thing.
Several minutes later he announced to everyone what he was talking about: this divine sausage, which is allegedly made with cognac, was on its way. He had called our company VIP cafe and asked them send to it up with some dark rye bread. This, I was told, was the only way to properly eat the sausage.
The sausage arrived and a big fuss was made.
"You don't want to miss out on this!"
"You better get some before it's all gone!"
"It's rich, but it's so delicious!"
"Oh God, the sausage!"
I had a tight deadline, however, so I had to temporarily put off the sausage tasting and hurriedly finish what I was doing. But I admit, I was intrigued. It's not so much that I am particularly tempted by the idea of sausage, it was just that there seemed to be an aura of mystery and rapture surrounding this particular sausage.
It was really too much. After I finished the menial task I was assigned to do while everyone writhed in sausage ecstasy around me, I got up from my desk and took two thick, startlingly black slices of the sausage and two slices of bread. I have to say, the sausage looked rather ordinary, if dark. It didn't look as orgasmically delicious as everyone seemed to feel it was. I sniffed the sausage. I can't say it smelled much like cognac at all. That was strange. I licked the sausage. There wasn't much taste at all from the lickage.
The bread was fine. But the sausage tasted like dog-ass jerky. Possibly the most god-awful thing I have ever intentionally allowed into my mouth. It was impossible to chew, and it didn't taste very good, either. I might go so far as to say it was disgusting. The thick, resilient meat refused to give way to my gnawing.
I looked around to see if any of the others might have experienced the same reaction. The more I chewed, the more my mouth was filled with a foul juice, a by-product of this evil sausage. What was all the fuss about? Maybe all of the others were pretending to cream in their pants over the sausage just because the boss was making a big deal out of it, and the boss was probably making a big deal out of it because he had seen some shareholder or some bigwig eat this weird sausage. It was the only explanation for all of this sausage-euphoria.
I left the second slice of sausage and slice of bread on a piece of paper. I thought that maybe my first slice was just a bad slice, and the second one would be better... Meanwhile, I decided to boondoggle my way through my next unfulfilling assignment before tasting the second slice. It sat there for nearly an hour. I couldn't do it. I couldn't go back there. So I threw away the second slice of sausage, leaving a hefty pool of oil and grease on the paper that it had been sitting on.