first Prose piece
October 16, 2019 - I had not written any fiction (or poetry, for that matter) for several years, and because I had no ideas, I sat down and searched out writing contests on Google. I stumbled on Prose: the monthly challenge was about having knowledge that the world would end in seven days. It's funny now to think of the path these few hundred words set me out on.
I’d rather it have been the Virgin Mary. Or Beyoncé. I squinted very hard, trying to make sure it wasn’t actually Beyoncé.
But no, the burn pattern on my toast was unmistakable: the world would end in seven days.
I leaned back in my chair, staring through my coffee steam and figuring my next move. I didn’t really have anyone else to tell. I really wanted to tell Rita because I felt like she should know, but she had told me she needed distance until I had “figured things out.” I wasn’t entirely sure what things she meant, but I didn’t think it was about the apocalyptic symbolism of my toast.
I picked up my phone to call off and take Boomer to a park for the day, but stopped when I saw him sleeping on the couch next to his favorite chew toy. There’s a saying about sleeping dogs; it’s a good saying. I had also remembered that it was Janet’s birthday. Janet had made everybody cupcakes for my birthday last month. It seemed inconsiderate to call off work on her birthday.
So I did the only thing that made sense with the world ending and picked up the knife. I felt its slim weight in my hand, saw the light gleam on it. I gripped it.
And then I cut a pat of butter, slightly thicker than normal. It didn’t quite melt on the toast—I had been thinking too long—so I put the other slice on top of it for a few moments. Then it spread beautifully. Evenly.
The crust crunched slightly more than the interior, just as I liked it, and a sesame seed offered its savory burst as prelude to the fullness of the multigrain. The butter enveloped everything, its cream lazily reclining and stretching out to invite the coffee to join. The warm union of the flavors gave way to the coffee’s nuanced bitterness which then curled luxuriously around my tongue, bathing each receptor in light roast, preparing them all to receive the next bite of bread.
It was a good day.