Monday, July 28, 2014

Cookies

inspired by this

It was Wednesday when the world changed. Until then my grocery trips were identical, almost obsessively so, but something led me to aisles I'd never ventured through before. Baked goods, so. Cookies and crackers, just so.

Wait. Did I...? No. It couldn't be. A return trip confirmed what I had seen.

I paced a rut into the linoleum between the two aisles, alternately considering and condemning. "No, yes, you must, you can't!" I told myself. The thought squirmed through my brain like a hungry worm in a rotten apple.

The products went into my hand basket awkwardly, jutting above the rim. This would not do. Someone would know. I placed a few of my prior purchases on the shelf - vegetables, a can of soup - and walked away. Did I know then that this was merely a foreshadowing of the sacrifice to come? I think I did.

In the checkout line beads of cold sweat ran down my neck. I glanced around and caught the eye of an elderly woman, her eyes too sharp for it to be a coincidence. My hand closed around the jar of olives - she was old, her skull was soft - before she looked away. Good.

I whispered a silent prayer to any god that would hear me for the clerk not to connect the blasphemous dots of my purchase. She smiled an empty smile and wordlessly slid my damnation across the scanner. I paid with cash and left in a hurry.

"Sir!" came her voice behind me and I froze. I would tear the packages open with my teeth and pour them in my mouth before I was taken.

"Sir," she said, "you forgot your receipt."

Sweet relief flooded through me. "Thank you," I told her, not trusting myself to make eye contact, and forced myself to walk not run to the car.

At home I threw everything else away and placed the two packages on my kitchen table. I poured a whiskey and eyed them. Did they look deeply into me as well? I think they did.

When it was time my hands moved like they'd done this a hundred thousand times before, like they were made to do this. It was so easy. My mind floated as I worked and I realized everyone I loved was made of meat, soft meat for the eating.

Do you know what the smell was like? No, you don't. You're a coward. The smell was like love, real love, love that would cut and kill to keep going. My love.

I ate for the first time in my life, really eating, nourishment filling me from toe to tip. And when what I had made was gone, did I keep eating? I think I did. They had crumbled all over my hands, you see, and it's all just meat.

They tell me they're going to have to amputate. They tell me that a human bite is the worst bite you can have, and that infection is a foregone conclusion. They tell me...lots of things, but I've stopped listening. Instead, I remember the taste. God, that taste.

Would I do it all again, given the chance? I think I would.

4 comments:

  1. Dammit, my comment didn't post!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh, AND, I had to prove that I am not a robot! Now, how the heck am I supposed to do that?

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    Replies
    1. All of this reads like the desperate efforts of a robot trying to convince me otherwise. Quick! What does corn taste like?

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    2. It tastes like chicken, dammit! You know that. At my age, everything tastes like chicken. Except for Mexican food, which tastes like chicken with chilies on it.

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