September 3, 2015
A Piece of Cake
Posted on Mar 10, 2012
By Mr. Fish
“No!” I yelled. “Absolutely not! We have to open it!”
“What if it’s too much information?!”
“There’s no such thing as too much information!”
“How can you be so sure?”
“That’s like saying that to find out that the dot over the letter i is called a tittle is too much information for somebody who already knows there’s a dot over the i but just doesn’t know what it’s called.”
“The dot over the i is called a tittle?”
“Yes!” I shouted. “That’s why there are no words with two i‘s in them—at least with two i‘s that are next to each other.”
“Why?” asked Beats.
“Because reading comprehension would disappear if you had a word with a pair of tittles staring you in the face, don’t you think?”
Beats didn’t answer me, his attention once again falling hard upon the red cake box before us. “We can’t open the box.”
“We’re opening the fucking box!”
“We have to!”
“So open it already!”
“Quit telling me what to do!”
“For the love of Christ! I can’t take it anymore! Would you just open the goddamn box?!”
“All right! All right!” Pause. “You open it!”
“I can’t move my arms! I think I just had a stroke! You open it!”
“All right, you big pussy! I’ll open it! I’ll open it!”
“Well, hurry up!”
“Get off my back! I told you that I’d open it!”
Perhaps it was the jostling that the cake was made to endure during the long bike ride from Upper Darby or maybe it was the disturbing imagery from the pamphlet that I’d confiscated from my sister’s room that had burned itself into my brain with all the excruciating permanence of a branding iron—that fiendish alien head, those long alien arms, those horrible pincers!—but whatever it was the ravaged hunk of exploded gore that lay inside that opened box sent me and Beats scrambling backward against opposing walls of the treehouse.
“Holy Mother of God! What is it?!” shrieked Beats, holding a hand out in front of himself like he was deflecting a blinding light. “It looks like a crab! What are we going to do?! What are we going to do?!”
Fighting every instinct that I had to flee, I took one step forward, balled up my fists, closed my eyes and punted the box as hard as I could into an adjacent wall, where the cake exploded in a hail of pulverized crumbs, leaving a cluster of revolting clumps to cling to the wood like brain matter.
“What have you done, you stupid bastard?!” Beats cried, lunging forward and sliding through the sweet-smelling mess on his knees, his hands working desperately to reassemble the ingredients of the demolition into a useful truth. “We had everything!” he sobbed. “Everything! It was right in front of our faces! It was right in front of our faces!”
And it was, this scattered alphabet no longer confined by reason, suddenly set free to disperse itself like seedlings in search of higher ground.
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