So one day I began collecting: I urinated into a large jar. I masturbated and scooped my ejaculate into a second jar. I took a knife from the drawer and made an incision on the end of my finger and squeezed the blood in thin trickles and fat drops into a third jar. I sat down with a fourth jar on my lap, and thought of sad things. Then I wept into the jar. I repeated these actions every evening, each fluid into its appointed jar. After a month, I emptied the contents of the jars into small saucepans, which I heated carefully until I had evaporated the liquid. When the pans had cooled, I scraped the residue, with the aid of a funnel, into separate salt cellars. I then tasted each of my personal salts, judging which would go best with what food.
My experiment was a resounding success. The salts seemed to impart a subtle intensity to spicy dishes, and a freshness and zest to even the most homely soup. And so my restaurant began to attract many more patrons as increasing numbers of adulatory reviews appeared in some of the Sunday supplements.
Obviously, I had to continue to produce the salts that had made my culinary creations such overnight successes. My establishment was now being patronised by celebrities as well as politicians and the merely rich.
My difficulty lay chiefly with eliciting sadness on demand. On some nights I would sit in my chair, the fourth jar on my lap, and start laughing with joy at the success of my restaurant. I would have to force myself to envisage a starving child or departing lover. I knew that there was boundless, ceaseless suffering on this Earth, but I found it more and more difficult to identify with it myself, while the prestige of my restaurant grew higher, and with it my bank balance. I found that the most efficacious manner of forcing tears from my eyes was to think of love; loves lost, love's tragedies, and love's hopelessness.
And so it was that I began to have trouble with the second jar. Latterly, my attempts at masturbation were rather more difficult, as my erotic thoughts staggered and tumbled into the despair I needed for the fourth jar. Not infrequently, I found it impossible to distinguish between sorrow and love.
After five months, I caught myself ejaculating into my lap, upon which rested the jar meant for tears. I began to find sorrow arousing, and could not cry without getting an erection. Conversely, I could not find a woman attractive without starting to weep. I worried about my salts, for my supplies were running low. Moreover, the quality of the salt from the first jar was beginning to decline, as I attempted to find solace in alcoholic abandon. I would drink deeply; and laugh, and cry. But my urine suffered. It became thin and pale, copius but worthless. The salt I extracted was tasteless.
The reputation of my restaurant would keep its fortunes bouyant for a while, but I knew that sooner, rather than later, the decline in the quality of the seasonings would be noted. I sank lower into despair. I could not run the terrible risk of sharing my secret with anyone else. I had only one reliable source of salt - that which filled the third jar. The third jar never ran out. The menu had to reflect this, and there was a preponderance of rich, red, meaty dishes, lavishly enhanced with the salt of my blood, trickled - or sometimes drunkenly spurted, gushed - from my fingers, thumbs, wrists or arms every evening.
But I was weakening. My drinking was becoming uncontrollable, I would involuntarily orgasm during the news, and burst into tears at the most inopportune moments. The constant bloodletting was making me anaemic. I resolved to return to the formula that had won my eaterie so many plaudits. Determinedly, I researched the most emotionally draining novels, the most haunting poems. I ejaculated again and again into the second jar. I drank pure fruit juice and mineral water and produced once again the golden, viscous urine that filled the first jar. I wept uncontrollably, for three-quarters of a hour, with a pornographic magazine propped in front of me. And I took the sharpest knife and drew one widening red line across my wrist.
The banquet was a success.