She Can’t Cook

It was Liza Hawkeye's little known weakness that she was forced to live off Chinese takeout and toast with jam scraped thinly over each slice.

How the nuances of cooking escaped her one could not be sure. She made a mean batch of coffee, the sort calibrated to contain the precise amount of caffeine needed to revitalize the average human being with a single cup. No one could fault her for her sense of alcohol, and she knew precisely the level of brandy the Colonel preferred for business and casual company, and when to pour it besides.

Perhaps it was because Liza lacked ... 'flair', as the Colonel liked to put it; she was not unusual in that she failed to maintain any sort of social life (the Colonel's was more affected than he liked it to be known, but his rank came with responsibilities), but she was straight-laced to a fault, and the disorder of cooking displeased her. That she might have to tweak a recipe to get it to come out tasty was something she found irritating at a base level—she did not break rules or bend laws, because if one begins to do so, there is no line to tell one when to stop.

It was the Colonel's dirty little secret that he could cook masterfully, although he rarely was home to do so; the only reason anyone knew was because on one of his rare late nights there hadn't been enough money amongst the crew to order out, and the Colonel had taken over the mess hall to cook a fine batch of spaghetti with meatballs. But then, 'flair' was his middle name, and he liked to add a dash of spice there and a little fresh basil there to give each meal its own distinct flavor. Which was why Liza made it her business to be his straight-laced assistant; if there was no line to tell one when the rules had bent far enough, Liza would become that line.

She would never be quite sure when the Colonel came to know that she couldn't cook, but she appreciated the gift certificates to local restaurants nonetheless. He looked out for his command, after all. Just as she looked out for her commander.