All Good Bread Goes to Heaven

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
Marvin, a humble piece bread, aspires to be toasted.

Submitted: August 01, 2013

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Submitted: August 01, 2013

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They descended to the hotel lobby in a drove at dawn, rested and joyful, chattering and laughing about the warm night past and the blistering days to come. The first pale light of morning spilled through tall panes of waterspotted and mineral stained glass cleansing the dark where it fell and a thick, sickly aroma of well ripened fruit and burnt coffee congested humid, recycled air.

On the east side of the lobby a breakfast bar had been prepared, a long table clothed in yellowed white linen upon which a variety of continental favorites had been meticulously placed and arranged by the overnight staff. The travellers crowded around the table in clumsy lines, carefully examining each offering, picking and putting back and picking. On the far left of the table was fruit: a selection of apples and oranges and bananas, piled high in modest plastic bowls. To the center were the cereals, pastries and a variety of ice-cooled yogurts. On the right, two black bottomed trays displayed muffins, breads, and bagels through transparent lids. And it was in one of the black bottomed trays that the bread, stacked horizontally, inanimate but curiously sentient, waited to be toasted.

“This is my third day,” said Marvin, a slice of enriched white, “and I don’t understand it. At the end of every day I always end up back in the bag. Some were picked on their first day. But I have a good feeling about today. A really good feeling. I’m really close to the front.”

“That’s what you said yesterday,” said a two day old slice named Jackson.

A wide shadow fell over the tray. The Lid opened and Marvin held his breath. A bagel was lifted into the air and The Lid closed. Marvin heard the distant, muffled click of the toaster. He tried to imagine what it looked like.

“The bagels go first,” said Jackson, ” I swear there’s not one of them older than a day. Are any of you older than a day?”

The bagels, well known for their social anxiety and anti-social tendancies, remained silent.

“Quite frankly, I don’t even see why we should have to share the tray with these assholes.”

“Aw, the bagels aren’t so bad,” said Marvin, “I was talking to one yesterday. Real nice guy, fresh looking too. He deserved to be picked. He had raisins.”

“Yeah, great,” said Jackson, and he sighed. “I just wish I were whole wheat. Maybe then I’d have a chance.”

The Lid opened. Smaller hands reached inward and shuffled the bread at the back of the stack, selecting a fresh, moist slice of whole wheat. The Lid fell and Jackson laughed.

“See? This ain’t gonna be our day. Hope you’re ready to do it all over again tomorrow.”

It was still early, but Marvin was beginning to feel frustrated and weary. He had been forced to listen to Jackson’s negativity ever since being delicately placed into the tray earlier that morning. He had talked to him briefly the day before and now he was sorry that he had. He wanted to shout : you don’t know anything! Go have unnatural relations with an English Muffin! But it was not in his eniched, white bread nature. He remained calm and he spoke calmly.

“You have bad attitude. We all get toasted eventually. I don’t want to talk to you anymore. Sorry.”

“Suit yourself,” said Jaskson.

For a time the tray fell silent. Shadows danced within it and colours and light pulsed beyond it. The Lid opened and closed, opened and closed, open and closed and with every opening and closing a bagel or a slice was removed and with every opening and closing Marvin held his breath. This is my time. Next time will be my time. Soon will be my time. But soon The Lid would open with less frequency and Marvin knew from experience that it would eventually open a final time and he would be stuffed back into that cramped little bag and stored overnight.

He was mulling this over when, toward the back of the stack, a small, timid voice broke the silence. It was one of the day-olds, fresh from a previously unopened bag.

“What happens if we don’t ever get toasted? “

Marvin felt a wave of jealousy and his temper flared. “We all get picked. We all get toasted. That’s all there is to it,” and he condescended, “everybody knows that. In fact, just yesterday there was a slice of white just like us that was here for ten entire days. “

“I don’t remember that,” said Jackson.

“You weren’t paying attention.”

An unfamiliar voice rose from the bagel side of the tray.

“Don’t lie to the boy, son. We both know that never happened. Y’all don’t know what’s in store for you. Y’all can pretend to know, if that pretendin’ makes you happy. But I reckon y’all don’t even wanna know.”

“I want to know,” said the timid slice.

“What? We’re listening to bagels now?” said Marvin. He forced an incredulous laugh. The bagel had called him out on the lie and he was embarrassed. “Are you hearing this Jackson? This bagel thinks he knows something we don’t.”

“I thought you liked the bagels?” said Jackson.

“This here bagel knows a lot,” said the bagel, “and he knows what dark places are waiting for us just outside the edges of this here tray. Some of us get toasted. ‘Course they do. Others, well, they ain’t so lucky. “

“You don’t know anything. You’re just a creepy old bagel.”

“Take Marvin here. Been listenin’ to him go on and on for three days now. Must be feelin’ a bit dry by now. A bit…hard.”

“I feel exactly the same as I did the first day out, thank you very much,” said Marvin. It was another lie. He’d noticed a difference in the bag overnight after the very first day. He just wasn’t as soft and fresh as he used to be.

“You know why they move you to the front, son? Get rid of ya. Hope some poor fool doesn’t have the good sense to dig around and grab himself a fresher slice.”

“Stop it. You’re scaring the day-olds. We all get toasted, all right?” said Marvin.

“We all get toasted, we all get toasted. Keep telling yourself that. You don’t even know what being toasted is. Could you describe it? Have you seen evidence of it? It’s just some damned thing y’all heard from some fool of an English Muffin y’all decided to believe yourselves. “

“I know what toasting is. I didn’t hear about it from some dumb English Muffin.”

But the old bagel was right. Marvin had no idea what toasting was or what being toasted meant. He knew what the toaster sounded like, or at least he thought he knew. But the toasting itself could be anything. It was a word and until now the word was all that he’d ever wanted or needed. A great resentment toward this bagel and all other bagels formed within him.

“Some of us ain’t even gonna make it out in one piece. Get all torn up, right here in the tray,” continued the bagel.

“You’re lying. I’ve been here for three whole days and I’ve never witnessed that. Torn up? Sure. Then what?”

The Lid opened, startling a few of the day-olds attentive to the conversation. A slice of whole wheat was lifted. The Lid closed and Marvin listened for the distant, muffled click of the toaster. He didn’t hear it. His enriched, white bread heart sank and he imagined the whole wheat being violently torn. He pushed the thought away. It was too terrible to contemplate.

“So what happens to us if we don’t get toasted? If you’re so goshdarned smart.”

“Mold. Rot. Eternal darkness within unending nothingness. Some bread ain’t meant to be toasted. Might as well accept that.”

“Enough!” snapped Jackson. “We’ve heard enough, you crusty old bastard. No one else talk to this demented old bagel. No more questions. No more ridiculous answers.”

And so once again the tray fell silent. The day-olds had questions they didn’t dare to ask.

A few straggling hotel guests remained in the hotel lobby. Noon was fast approaching. The guests lingered at tables and continued to shuffle to and fro in front of the breakfast bar. Some pocketed oranges and apples. One man took a cup of yogurt. A fat, elderly couple dressed in colorful, matching shirts stood at the front desk checking out of their room.

At noon the lobby was empty. The breastfast bar had been deserted by the guests and the housekeeping staff had swiftly moved into it, busily wiping down tables and pushing in chairs.

It was then, when Marvin was at his most hopeless, that the day’s final shadow fell over the tray. The Lid opened and two gloved hands descended. They fingered through the remaining slices and they paused next to him.

He felt it but he didn’t quite believe it: a pressure below his upper crust, and the sense of motion. He was being touched, tested, like others that had been touched and tested before him. He was being selected. Just him and no one else and no bag in sight. He was lifted out of the tray, beyond The Lid and an unbearable excitement flooded into him. He was moving; he was floating.

The transport couldn’t have taken twenty seconds and suddenly he was being pulled downward by strong force. This is it, he thought, this is finally it. He was falling. This is what it’s like to be toasted, he thought, and his encriched, white bread heart soared.

He landed flat on something wet , surrounded by material black like the tray but softer and less uniform in its appearance. He heard a low sobbing from a place far below. It sounded like a bagel and for a moment he listened. Then he called out.

“What’s that? Who’s there? Cheer up, you bagel, we’re being toasted!”

The bagel began to wail. A cold chill ran along Marvin’s crust.

“No, no, no! I am broken! I am broken and I will never be toasted! All is lost!” cried the bagel.

Marvin tried to think this over and consider its meaning but something had fallen upon him from above. It rolled off and rested by his side. He felt that it was wet. “What’s going on here?” he shouted, and from somewhere deep in the bin, rising up from below the sobbing bagel, came words but not a response: “I’m an English Muffin! I’m an English Muffin! I’m an English Muffin!”

Strange and disturbing things continued rain down around and upon him. Some settled on top of him and he felt uncomfortable and sick beneath their weight. The light was dimming.

The weight was becoming unbearable. More wet things assaulted him from above. He was soggy and he was ashamed. The weight was becoming unbearable and after the last of the light had gone and Marvin was in total darkness the unknown and disgusting things began to shift and move around him and he knew that at his center he was beginning to tear.


© Copyright 2020 robjdecoste. All rights reserved.

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