Seated at his usual table, Keith ate poppadams and bombay duck while the staff fondly prepared his mutton vindaloo. "The napalm sauce, sir?" asked Rashid. Keith was resolved, in this as in all things. "Yeah. The napalm sauce." In the kitchen they were busy responding to Keith's imperial challenge: to make a curry so hot that he couldn't eat it. The meal arrived. Lively but silent faces stared through the serving-hatch. The first spoonful swiped a mustache of sweat on to Keith's upper lip, and drew excited murmurs from the kitchen. "Bit mild" said Keith when he could talk again.
Then his [different] meal arrived. Three additional waiters and two smocked cooks stood and watched, murmuring excitedly among themselves. The murmuring ceased, on the instant, as the first spoonful of sauce entered Keith's mouth, and then you could hear through the hatch an explosion of adolescent laughter--from the boys in hell's kitchen...He chewed, then stopped chewing, then chewed again, exploratively, like a puppy testing a hard chocolate. When, at last, he started to speak, there was so much smoke coming out of his mouth Nicola though for a moment that he must have quietly lit another cigarette. Keith asked Ackbar to correct him if he was wrong but didn't he ask for the hot one?
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