Mad Vincent's Crazy-Hot Chili
by SuSu, Sparticus, MaceVindaloo, Diana
The crew of Serenity was weirded out their latest heist involved stealing the preserved, dessicated ear of Vincent van Gogh! The ultra-famous impressionist painter had suffered from the effect of syphilis and from ingesting absinthe, both which can cause hallucinations, misjudgement, and ultimately insanity. He was in love with a woman of the night whom did not return his ardor, and so to prove his devotion, he cut off his right ear to present to her as a gift ...
That same ear dried and shriveled, but clearly recognizable as a whole human ear was on display at a van Gogh art retrospective. He was one of the few artists that the survivors of Earth-that-was deemed critical to their cultural survival (along with Michelangelo, daVinci, Picasso, and their ilk), and so as many original paintings as could be found were transported over many centuries to the new galaxy in which they now lived.
But once stolen, passengers Inara Serra (the companion) and Shepherd Book (the preacher) both of whom had sufficient education to know better pointed out that this could not possibly be van Gogh's ear. For one, the painter mutilated his lobe, not the whole ear, and he reportedly cut off his ear after an arguement with painter Paul Gaugin. He did give the lobe to a working woman named Rachel "for safekeeping," but she was said to have discarded it when she realized what it was. "Besides," noted Book, "I doubt van Gogh was a tomato, in life." He'd realized that the crew had stolen a piece of sun-dried tomato! They'd been scammed!
At least they wouldn't go hungry, for it was a large, high quality piece of sun-dried tomato, and it made a fantastic spicy chili, which they named for the mad painter (rather than their own madness to be suckered into stealing something that couldn't have existed in the first place!).
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