Toast of the Town

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Plimshaw Inc.
Part 1: Toast of the Town
Part 2: A Whole Brunch of Trouble
Part 3: Dinner is Swerved

Collectively referred to as "Plimshaw Inc.", I am considering either expanding these into a full-length novel or novellas, or possibly a graphic novel. What do you think?

Toast of the Town

 

 

“My waffle is haunted.” Miriam’s voice drifted across the table following the familiar Clunk! of the toaster. Without looking up from the newspaper, I reached for my glass of orange juice and grunted noncommittally before taking a sip.

“No, it’s moved by the power of the Holy Spirit!” Now she spoke in a hushed whisper, punctuating the last two words with awe.

Sighing, I rubbed my temples absently with one hand, compressing my lips into a tight line to keep the sarcastic comments from spilling forth. It had been whole-grain wheat last month. Miriam had sworn that Jesus’s face had manifested on her English muffin while we ate breakfast. Personally, I thought it resembled Dave Mustaine, lead singer from Megadeth, but whatever. If I had told her the truth, that the English muffins were moldy and I had scraped most of the green crust off with a butter knife before popping them in the toaster, it might have spared me the embarrassment of having her post the “miracle” on Facebook and Snapchat before contacting the local news station. At that point I was in too deep and couldn’t admit that the dark blotches were merely burnt mold spots. I figured they’d cook thoroughly and be safe to eat, but what kind of cheap, uncaring bastard would my neighbors think I was, serving moldy food to my wife? And besides, with enough butter and jam, they hadn’t tasted that bad. Yeah, that’s right, after the devout, pious zealots started making pilgrimages to our house, camping out on the front lawn to see the Toast of Turin, as the local media had dubbed it, I decided to lay it to rest and ate the damn thing.  Miriam’s hysteria following my ingestion of a ‘holy relic’ had stretched over the last two weeks, tolerable only because I was lacing her maple syrup with Nyquil to mellow her out. Maybe it was time to up the dosage if this waffle was going to be a thing now.

“Behold the majesty of our Lord and Savior!” Miriam reached across the table and yanked the newspaper from my hand.

Screw me sideways, one of the waffles was sitting in the toaster while the other hung suspended in midair! I did some quick mental calculations regarding my current hunger levels. If I stuffed both waffles in my mouth immediately, the situation could be salvaged and the ensuing media circus would be avoided. Syrup and butter were out of the question. While they’d make it easier to choke down the waffles without chewing, there wasn’t any time left on the clock to grab them. The question of why the waffle was hanging in midair was irrelevant, my only concern was keeping the masses at bay so I could continue to enjoy my two week vacation without relatives, friends or fanatics invading my space to gaze upon this spectacular wonder. Miriam was already reaching for her phone to capture the event on video. If I didn’t act fast this battle was lost before it even began.

With the speed of a striking cobra my hand snatched the levitating waffle, only to find it completely immovable. Nor would it react to punching, pushing or pulling. Miriam was undergoing a full-blown panic attack, screaming and sobbing as if I had just punched baby Jesus in the nuts. She was laying into the back of my head with the rolled-up newspaper, shouting, “Blasphemer!” into my ear while using her other hand to try and pull me away from the kitchen table.

This is your fault--you should have made oatmeal instead. Mentally, I kicked myself for not going with my first breakfast choice. Grabbing a fork from the table, I plunged it into the fluffy, aromatic square suspended before my eyes, then stepped back and let the silverware clatter to the ground. Syrup was pouring steadily from the punctures left by the tines, dripping down into the toaster and all over the table.

“It’s the stigmata! The Lamb of God has returned to us!” My wife was now down on her knees, arms outstretched, palms facing upward in supplication. The Christians will tell you that

God works in mysterious ways, but a waffle? Seriously? I’d think something along the lines of an omelet or kale smoothie would be more dignified when heralding the arrival of a deity, but I eat moldy toast, so what do I know?

“Babe, I don’t know what this is, but it ain’t God. God don’t bleed Mrs. Butterworth’s. Besides, these waffles were made in Trenton, New Jersey, and everybody knows God hates Trenton.”

Miriam was speed praying on her rosary beads now, cycling through the Lord’s Prayer and Hail Mary’s as fast as she could spit the words out. At least she had forgotten about her phone for the time being.

“Alright, time to take the kid gloves off!” I went to the hall closet and returned with a broom.  Gripping the handle with both hands I swung with all my might, putting my shoulder and hip behind the swing. “Home ru-!” The words died in my throat when the broom handle snapped in half when coming into contact with the waffle. Grumbling, I headed for the garage. When I returned, Miriam seemed composed, sniffling and wiping away her tears.

“What are you doing?” Her eyes widened with panic when she was what I was carrying. I pulled the ripcord and the chainsaw roared to life. Reaching into my back pocket, I threw her a pair of goggles.

“Safety first!” I yelled, revving the chainsaw and lowering the tip toward the waffle. Before I could take more than one step, Miriam flung herself on my back, pulling my hair and clawing at my eyes.

“DEFILER! Don’t you dare lay a hand on the Lord!” Blinded by the fingernails raking my eyes, I stumbled blindly around the kitchen. The chainsaw bit into the table, cutting it in half before I careened into a wall which I proceeded to carve like a Christmas ham. Somewhere along the line I used the spinning blade to gut the microwave and puncture the side of the refrigerator. It was difficult to tell with one eye swollen shut and the other covered by a sheet of blood, but I was pretty sure I scored a hit on the waffle while spinning in a tight circle trying to dislodge my wife. Since the waffle appeared undamaged on my subsequent spins, however, there’s a pretty good chance we no longer have a dog.

“Miriam dear, you really need to settle down, we can’t let a waffle come between us, even one with blueberries!” She slid off my back exhausted, falling gently onto the couch.

“I’m sure there’s a perfectly rational explanation for this,” Dropping the chainsaw I reached behind me and pulled the nail gun from where it was tucked into the back of my pants. “but I promise you, there is nothing holy about that thing!” Keeping an eye on the kitchen, I flipped the couch around so that it was facing the wall. “Keep your head down, breakfast just got real ugly!”

Tendrils of boiling butter undulated from the golden-brown grid, twisting and writhing across the space between us, seeking to ensnare me in their deadly embrace. Cartwheeling on one hand toward the bedroom, I fired the nail gun until it was empty. Five or six nails pierced the waffle, pinning it against the far wall, but the tendrils kept coming.

“You leave my husband alone!” Miriam stood up with one hand on her hip, wagging a finger at the toaster treat from Tartarus. Miriam went down under a shotgun blast of blueberries that left dozens of indentions in the wall behind her.

“Miriam!” fear clenched my bowels momentarily, but passed quickly with last night’s dinner.

There was no way to tell if she was bleeding under the blueberry compote slathering her from head-to-toe, but my wife was still alive and breathing. As she lay groaning on the couch, clutching her face and chest, I realized how much I loved this woman. By God, if we survived this I wasn’t going to have her shave my back hair any more, she deserved better than that!

A scalding butter tentacle lashed the side of my face and neck, sizzling with the impact and blistering my skin instantly. The smell of buttery, charred meat wafted into my nostrils, making my stomach rumble. This waffle had hurt my wife and left me hungry--it would pay for those transgressions! A roundhouse kick dispersed the butter and left my leg burning with pain, but it bought me enough time to run a few steps and slide into the bedroom, slamming the door behind me. Crawling on my belly, I crossed the room and slithered under the bed. From the other room I could hear Miriam’s shrill scream pierce the air. Goddammit, where was it? Fear gnawed at my gut, not just for my wife’s safety, but my own, when this was all over.

“Gotcha!” My fingers closed around both Fearbringers, pulling them with me as I climbed from under the bed. Buckling the leather harness around my shoulders and waist, I kicked open the bedroom door and stepped out into the living room. Miriam was pinned to one wall by a sheet of maple syrup; only her head was free from the caramel-colored restraint. A dozen menacing tendrils of butter snaked toward her, pulling the waffle slowly along.  When I spoke, everything froze.

“This is why I’m more of a ‘French toast’ kind of guy. It tastes better, and let’s be honest here, it’s just a classier breakfast option!” Miriam’s eyes widened, then her brows knit together, twisting her features with rage.

“You bought those things? After I told you we couldn’t afford to spend the money on something so frivolous? What, were they like five hundred bucks or something?“

And now you know why I call them the Fearbringers. Because I was afraid of my wife’s reaction after she found out I had not only bought one, but two of them.

“Baby, these aren’t a frivolous impulse purchase--I challenge you to tell me what family could live without two of Elon Musk’s flamethrowers! And they were five hundred bucks each….“ I mumbled that last sentence but it didn’t go unheard.

“OH MY GOD I’M GOING TO KILL YOU WHEN I GET OUT OF HERE!” Miriam struggled against the syrup while I tried to pacify her.

“I’m just glad you’re feeling better after that whole blueberry thing; I was really worried at first, but you took that hit like a boss!” The toaster wasn’t the only thing that had thrown open the gates of Hell, my wife proceeded to unleash a torrent of expletives that could have landed her, instead of Linda Blair, a role in The Exorcist.

The tendrils were rapidly converging on my position, it had probably dawned on the waffle that if it didn’t act fast my wife would tear me apart before it had the chance. I leveled the barrels of both flamethrowers at the oncoming tendrils and pulled the triggers. Twin streams of molten fury belched from the barrels, bathing the tendrils and the waffles in gouts of flame. Clipped to the harness as they were, the stabilized flamethrowers were able to accurately deliver a scorching inferno of destruction to whatever I pointed them at. Buttery tentacles vaporized on contact, a rain of jagged, hardened syrup-daggers were incinerated before even coming close. When the waffle projectile-vomited a sheet of blueberries, I sawed the flamethrower barrels back and forth until nothing remained between me and what had previously been my breakfast. Miriam was sobbing in the background, lying in a large puddle of syrup. The heat from the flamethrowers and the burning sections of the kitchen and living room had melted the syrup holding her against the wall.

“Honey, I need you to get out of here. Run to the neighbors.” One of the flamethrowers sputtered and died, having expended all of its liquid ammunition. I unclipped it from the harness and tossed it to one side. Miriam was still crying, but she was standing now, looking around with uncertainty. I motioned to the door with my head and eyes, silently urging her to go.

“I’m sorry I didn’t tell you about buying these, it was selfish and dishonest.” I hefted the remaining flamethrower. Miriam wiped her eyes.

“And I’m sorry I didn’t tell you I was pregnant. I was scared at how you’d react!” I was stunned, but recovered quickly.

“Oh man, that’s great, we’re gonna be parents! And it’s okay that you didn’t tell me, I’ve been using Children’s Nyquil since you’re a lightweight, so it should be safe for the baby!”

Miriam looked confused. “Using Children’s Nyquil for what?” she asked. I didn’t answer, so she repeated the question. Luckily, depending on one’s point of view, I was spared from answering. The waffle, which had been patiently floating in the center of the living room this whole time, now pulsed with a malevolent, ebony glow as it began to spin on its axis. A beam of light shot out and struck my wife, enveloping her in a red, unholy sheen as it slowly lifted her off the ground. Miriam flailed her arms and legs, struggling against the intangible

force suspending her. A low, mournful howl emanated from the waffle, matched by the battle cry torn from my throat as I ran forward, pulling the trigger of the flamethrower. The waffle was bathed in flames, along with much of the house, and as I got closer, I saw that the light, fluffy crust of the waffle was beginning to flake away. The flamethrower in my hand snuffed out as the tank ran dry, and I knew it was now or never. Cocking one fist back, I leapt into the fiery conflagration yelling, “Leggo my preggo!” and punched the waffle.

The fireman and police told us both we were lucky to be alive. “It looks like your toaster shorted out and set off a gas leak in the oven. I can’t believe the explosion threw you both clear and that you haven’t suffered more than minor injuries at best!” Bruised, battered, and bloody, I was surprised as well. My punch had detonated the waffle, triggering a blast that knocked me out cold. A blinding flash of light was the last thing I remembered.

Sitting in the back of an ambulance across the street, Miriam rested her head on my shoulder and together we watched the blackened shell of our house gasp out one last cloud of smoke. The fire had been contained before it was able to spread to any nearby houses, and nobody had been hurt. All in all, it could have been a lot worse.

“Hey, I was informed that this started during breakfast, and the paramedic told me you’re pregnant. Congratulations, and here’s a Danish to help you and the baby keep your strength up!” One of the firemen handed my wife a pastry and gave me a bottle of water.  I unscrewed the cap on the plastic bottle and took a long pull of the cool water. Wiping my forehead off with the back of my arm, I turned to give Miriam the water.

“Hey honey, check this out--this Danish is shaped like the Virgin Mary!” Her voice chilled me to the bone, and my head snapped around just in time to see the strudel quivering in her palm.

“I think my pastry is possessed!” Startled, she jerked her hand back and it fell from her hand, hovering a few inches off the ground.

I was already in motion, sprinting toward my car, yelling over my shoulder, “Hang tight, there’s one other purchase I forgot to tell you about!” as I popped the trunk. I don’t care what they say about it being the most important meal of the day, from now on I’m skipping breakfast and heading straight for lunch...

 

 

 


Submitted: July 02, 2019

© Copyright 2021 Zane Cray. All rights reserved.

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Comments

johnnycopywriter1

I don't usually read dementia fiction but this one caught my eye.I think it was the tools. But I had been warned, so I enjoyed the image rattling and word grifting. But it shouldn't be alone. Needs a companion tale, or tail. Hmmmm

Thu, December 26th, 2019 9:29pm

Author
Reply

A companion tale indeed! I have the next installment in the works: A Whole Brunch of Trouble!

Sun, March 22nd, 2020 2:35pm

Karen Haggard

This is the best story I've ever read! This was the clear winner in my mind.

Wed, January 1st, 2020 11:30pm

Author
Reply

Thank you!

Wed, January 1st, 2020 4:02pm

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