品嚐璀璨的一生

部長從口袋掏出一支銀色金屬原子筆,有禮地介紹道:

「不如試一試我們的特色鮮味雞,保證只此一家,別的地方吃不到的。」

「有多特色呢?」

「我們有私營農場,專門飼養雞禽。任何公雞母雞春雞乳雞小雞蛋雞一應俱全。全部走地飼養,每隻都健康活潑。無論你喜歡煎炒煮炸、炆燉焗蒸,都一樣即叫即劏,保證新鮮。」

「但上星期我來吃的那道沙薑葱爆紅油雞,好像不太行哦。」

「哦,客官的味覺的確一流,真的暪不過你。實情是,我們上星期的薑葱出了一點點小問題。因為機器壞了,所以只能以人手磨薑,而葱又剛好稍微有一些老得泛黃。本來以為只是細微的差別,沒想到還是被發現了。這方面的確是我們待客不周,我跟客官道個歉。」

「嗯,我說呢,倒也不是薑葱的問題。而是那隻雞。」

「那隻雞?雞有甚麼問題呢?」

「你不是說你們供應的雞,都是走地的嗎?」

「沒錯。有時牠們太過活躍,捉起來倒有些不容易。呵呵呵。」

「那麼,為甚麼上次吃的那一隻雞,會有那麼多肥肉呢?」

「哦……雞呢……其實和人都一樣。就算天大地大任你走,還是有很多人老是坐在原地不動,懶得要死。不見得被困在牢裡的人就會變成大胖子,通常只有活在大世界裡的人,才會把自己關起來,養成長滿肥膏的胖子。」

「拜託,這次可不要選一隻自暴自棄的肥雞給我了。肥豬的肥肉還有點口感可言,但雞的肥肉,可從來沒吃過考究又味美的。」

「沒問題。既然如此,不如試試我們的招牌霸王雞。只不過是一倍的價錢,就可以吃到我們整個農場的雞中之王,號稱霸王雞的雞王之王。這樣吧,我先把牠帶出來給你過目,你看過滿意的話再決定吧。」

部長微微躬身,逕行走入廚房。過了幾分鐘,他又笑容可親地走出來,身後跟著一個看似屠子的粗漢。屠子雙手握著一隻大公雞,公雞睜大雙眼,拼命拍動翅膀想要掙扎。部長緩緩介紹:

「你看這隻霸王雞的雞冠,鮮紅艷麗,絕無半點黑斑。再留意牠的翅膀,孔武有力,那雙鳳爪靈巧敏捷,好一隻格鬥型的霸王雞。其實牠有這樣的資質,實情是祖孫四代都是鬥雞武術會的傑出成員。每次一出場,多少母雞玉女雞都為之傾慕。別看牠粗獷大隻不解溫柔,其實不打架的時候,那沉穩的外貌才是最吸引的。你仔細看!那雙憂鬱的眼神,似有萬千愁緒繚繞寂寞的心。這樣的雞王之王,一倍價錢,實在是物超所值啦!」

我第一次那麼近距離和一隻活雞對望,只能說,毛色還算不錯吧。我點點頭,說:

「我前天來過一次,點了霸王雞來吃。老實說,你們的霸王雞味道的確很不錯,肉質也一流,色香味俱全。只是那時候,你也跟我說,我吃的那隻是雞王之王。到底你們有多少隻雞王之王呢?」

「雞王之王,當然只能有一隻。如果每隻都是雞王之王,那就沒意思了。」部長微微一笑,看見我一臉等待他繼續解說的神色,於是他回頭向屠子點點頭。確定屠子會意離開後,他才彎著腰輕聲繼續說:「其實前天那一隻,的確是雞中之王。而今天這一隻,也是雞王之王。只是前天那隻雞王被你吃了以後,群龍無首,自然就有第二名的雞爬上位,成為新生的第一名雞王。每一隻霸王雞,都有牠們最璀璨的一刻。」

「那就是說,我們吃到的雞,水準將會越來越差?」

「呵呵呵,不能這麼說。總有長江後浪湧上來嘛。要是一代不如一代,社會又怎麼會進步呢?後生可畏呀!」

我想起剛剛見面的憂鬱雞王,又想起前天盤子上那隻熟透了的過氣雞王。心中有所悵然,於是問道:

「前天那一隻霸王雞,也是雞冠鮮紅而沒黑斑嗎?」

「哈哈哈,不是不是。剛剛那隻的確是絕無僅有的雞冠之王。而前天那一隻,其實是我們雞群之中的歌王之王。牠的喉音雄壯激昂,早上日出的時候,朝著破曉的晨光啼叫,氣勢磅礡。要是走近一點,就會看見牠那喉嚨,震得比歌神還厲害。前天晚上大限已到的時候,牠悽悽然看著天空,那個總會昇起紅日伴著牠高歌的方向,牠忽然聲轉哀愁唏噓,幽幽哼出最後的絕唱,聽者也為之斷腸。」

我發覺自己皺著眉頭的時候,相信已經是發呆了好一陣子之後了。眨眨眼,就答應部長要了那隻霸王雞。

一直以來,我對吃也不太講究,大概味蕾的敏感神經也有先天性的因素影響吧。製作精巧的珍饈,總有迷人的價目相和,至於買到的滿足感,很多時不過是稀罕而非味美。肉有鮮腐老嫩,餐有簡盛凡豐。滋味有時盡,心念意無窮。絕色不因花容而傾國,只因有情人心動而忘我。

我對身旁的太太說:「這個部長嘛,不太老實。」

「嗯,他還可以不怎麼眨眼呢!」

「那我們甚麼時候再來?」

「明天別再點霸王雞啦!」

沒有食評家的讚譽,沒有豪奢的裝潢,只有平凡不過的菜色,給平凡而樸實的食客裹腹。活著的色彩,在乎一顆躍動的心靈,為眼前的每一道菜,譜出完整的故事。

-完-

註:參加「第六屆香港文學節『咬文嚼字』徵文比賽」落選作品。

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