Posting my #FridayFlash entry for the week a few days early in honor of Halloween. Appreciate any feedback or comments. Happy Halloween, everyone!
LIFE IS SHORT, HAVE A CUPCAKE
It was 2 o’clock in the afternoon, and the daily blahs had hit. My eyes protested against the flickering screen and glare of the afternoon sun by trying their damnedest to close, and my brain was growing weary of fighting back.
I summoned my last bit of will power and stood, determined to walk off the boredom disguised as fatigue. I headed to the bathroom, but my eyes, now slightly more alert, peaked inside the breakroom. My footsteps halted. On the table, where only Avon books and worthless coupons had been before, sat a box of cupcakes — blood red with white frosting. They were red velvet. They had to be. And I had to have one.
But then my conscience perked up and reminded me of the tightness of the waistline of my pants. It was a little early for holiday weight, I knew. This was plain old letting-yourself-go weight, borne of too much takeout and too much ass-in-chair.
I started to walk away, but then my eyes betrayed me again by landing on the little notecard sitting in front of the cupcakes.
“Life is short. Have a cupcake!” it said.
I stepped toward them, and my nostrils joined my eyes in their war march. They had little trouble defeating my conscience in the battle for my brain, and soon they sent out their sentry via my grasping hand to retrieve their spoils. As a small concession to that now-quiet voice in my head to show they were benevolent tyrants, they bypassed the biggest cupcake, as well as the one with the most frosting, for a perfectly proportioned one in the middle of the box.
I carried it carefully back to my cubicle, attempting to hide it from the sight of judgmental eyes without touching its sugary peaks. But my efforts were spoiled when I met my cubicle neighbor face to face at the entrance to my own.
“Cupcakes in the breakroom,” I said meekly.
I could have sworn her eyes flickered down to my expanding belly before she responded. “No, thanks. Can’t afford the calories.” She ran a hand over her perfect abdomen, and I wanted to slap her. Instead, I slunk into my cube and hunkered down in my chair.
For a moment, the guilt and embarrassment threatened to derail my enjoyment of the cupcake, but my mind pulled up the image of the notecard again. “Life is short,” I whispered to myself. In three bites, the cupcake was gone.
As I licked the last bit of frosting lingering on my lips, my stomach let out a loud rumble. My arms wrapped around my waist like a vice. Did anyone hear? Did they know it was me?
I swiveled around to look for disapproving glances, but the motion induced a little vertigo. I stilled and thought no more of it, if for no other reason than, at that moment, I saw another coworker shamble into another cubicle, stop behind the person sitting there.
“What do you want?” asked the person without turning around.
Instead of answering with words, the coworker simply snapped down and sunk his teeth into the skull of the other employee. There was no time for him even to react, as my coworker burrowed into his skull, quickly destroying centers of motor skills, voice and vision.
For some reason, I found this fascinating, and I found it fascinating that I was fascinated instead of horrified. My stomach let out another loud rumble. My neighbor, oblivious to the scene behind her, reappeared, returning from the printer with papers in hand. She looked at me, only the barest hint of disgust visible on her face, and pointed to her own chin.
“You have a little something,” she said, and then continued into her cubicle.
I retrieved the errant blob of frosting with my finger. I stared at it for a moment before putting it in my mouth. It tasted putrid, saccharine, nothing like it had only minutes earlier. My stomach turned. It wanted something else.
I stood. My knees were oddly stiff, but I forced them to move. Around the cubicle wall, I made my way to my neighbor. She turned around and looked at me with disdain in her eyes.
“What?” she asked.
My eyes travelled to her smooth forehead. I ran my tongue over my incisors. My stomach gave one last growl. And then I gave it what it wanted.