Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Clever Biscuit

This is a story I came up with about a month after we lost Aiden. Hope you enjoy it:

The tale of the clever biscuit begins with it’s creation. There once was a bag of rice stored in a basement with various unused odds and ends. One day the earth shook and the bag tipped over, ever so slightly brushing against a tiny brass lamp. Now, this was no ordinary lamp. This was one of those ancient middle-eastern lamps.  You know the kind, they look like teapots for some reason.

Well, just like any other middle-eastern brass lamp in any fairy tale that you’ve ever heard of, this one had a Genie inside of it, and that Genie was the wishing kind. Unfortunately for the Genie, there’s not a whole lot of wishing that a bag of rice needs to have done, it being unable to think critically and lacking a way with which to convey the thoughts it doesn’t have. So the Genie, with a careful bit of mimickry and large dose of ventriloquism, decided that the bag of rice would most likely wish for sentience and a mouth as it’s first two wishes. *POOF* *POOF*!

The bag of rice was then explained by the Genie the situation it was in, the steps the Genie had taken to correct said situation, and was then invited to make it’s third wish, which it immediately did.

“I wish I was a bag of flour!” said the rice. The Genie, obviously confused, was duty bound to grant the rather silly wish and then return to his slumber in the Arabian teapot. *POOF*.

The bag of rice was now a bag of flour, and it had never been happier. Unbeknownst the to Genie there was actually a healthy bit of rivalry amongst the popular grains, or so the bag of flour thought now that it had way to think things, and rice almost always came up short to flour. Probably because you’re always still hungry after you finish any meal of rice.

After a few days of sitting and marvelling at it’s new form and ability to reason logically, the owner of the basement, who was a shriveled and grumpy old man, came down the stairs looking for his bag of rice. Finding only a tipped over bag of flour, the grumpy old man grumped loudly about his terrible luck, and eventually decided that he would make a biscuit with gravy instead, as it was a favorite of his from childhood. He hoisted the bag onto his quivering shoulder and made his way back up the stairs, grousing to himself the entire time.

Once in the kitchen the grumpy old  man began to make preparations to bake his biscuit. The bag of flour, who instinctively knew what was about to happen, cried out, “Wait, don’t cook me! I’m a thing!”

The old man perked up and looked around for who had spoken, but, seeing nobody, continued with his preparation and muttered quietly about his noisy neighbors. When the oven was hot enough, and he had all the proper ingredients, the grumpy old man set the flour on the table and began to spoon the flour into the mixing bowl. The flour, thinking the old man was just hard of hearing (which he was, but was not likely to ever admit it), cried in his loudest voice, “Wait, don’t cook me! I’m a thing!”

The grumpy old man stared in amazement at the flour, blinking as he pondered the rationale of a talking bag of flour.

“Ahhh, phooey,” announced the grumpy old man. “I’m hungry, and you’re my flour, so I’m gonna eat ya,” and upended the entire bag of flour into the bowl, and popped it in the oven.

Luckily for the flour the Genie never gave it the ability to feel pain, so the warmth of the oven was a remarkably nicer experience than the flour had expected it to be. As it rose with the heat and turned into a biscuit, the flour actually became a bit embarrassed that it had stirred up such a scene earlier. This was clearly a beneficial transformation, because now it wasn’t afraid of bits of itself blowing away in a stiff breeze (it had never encountered a stiff breeze sitting in the basement, but it pays to understand all dangers to one’s survival, no matter how likely). And it smelled great now, too.

Once the transformation was complete the old man opened up the oven and pulled out the biscuit. He slathered on a generous portion of gravy, and raised his fork to take a piece. Recalling now that the old man intended to eat him, the clever biscuit wracked his brain for a way to delay his demise, and cried loudly, “Wait, don’t eat me! I’m a thing!”

The grumpy old man started, surprised, and then scowled. “Still?” he asked grumpily, as he put his fork down shakily.

“Still!” confirmed the biscuit.

The grumpy old man rubbed his chin as he pondered a moment. Then, coming to a silent conclusion, he picked up his fork, and proclaimed, “I don’t care, biscuit. I’m old, I’m tired, my bones ache, and I’m hungry. So I’m gonna eat ya.”

Time seemed to slow down as the fork slowly descended toward the biscuit. “Butifyoudon’teatmeIcantellyouhowtonotbeoldtiredacheyandhungry!” said the biscuit as quickly as he could.

The grumpy old man paused to put a hand to his ear. “What? Speak slowly, I can’t understand a thing you’re sayin’!” replied the grumpy old man, who was now very grumpy.

The biscuit took a breath. “I said, ‘But if you don’t eat me I can tell you how to not be old, tired, achey, and hungry’. Well... Probably still hungry. But the not those other things!”

At this the grumpy old man put his fork down and rubbed his chin again thoughtfully. After a few moments he decided to hear out the biscuit, who, with a great amount of relief, told him of his encounter with the magic lamp in the basement, the Genie who came out of the lamp and gave him the ability to think and speak, and his wish to become flour instead of rice. When he was done the grumpy old man was intrigued, and demanded to see the magic lamp, so he picked up the biscuit and took him down to the basement.

There, the biscuit pointed out the lamp, which actually involved a heavy amount of rolling and spinning, and the old man stooped to pick up. His shaky hands brushed the lamp ever so slightly and summoned forth the magic Genie. Seeing the grumpy old man, the Genie was much relieved that he would have no trouble communicating with his new master, much the easier for getting the wishing done without a hitch.

“For rubbing the lamp, you have earned three wishes. What is your command, master?” proclaimed the Genie.

The grumpy old man replied, “I’m old, shakey, and grumpy. But I didn’t used to be. I used to be young and spry and happy. I wish I were like that again.”

The genie clapped his hands together and, *POOF*, the grumpy old man was now young and healthy. He tested out his new (old) body, jumping and whooping around the basement. The Genie, much impressed with his work, inquired as to the happy, young man’s second wish. The happy, young man told him to hold on a moment and ran upstairs. He came back a minute later pushing a shrivelled old woman, shrieking at the top of her lungs that she didn't know who he was or what he wanted but in her day they treated the elderly with respect.

“This is my wife,” he explained to the Genie, looking lovingly at the old woman, despite her glowering stare. “I wish that she were young like I am.”

The Genie nodded his head, and *POOF* the old woman was now young and beautiful and vibrant. The young man and woman hugged each other happily and shared their joy. After a few minutes, the Genie asked for the man’s third and final wish.

Tears glistened in his eyes as he looked at the genie. “My wife and I once had a son, but we lost him before we ever got to know him… “ the man choked.

The Genie held up his hand, and shook his head sadly. “I’m sorry, master. I cannot bring back that which has already passed on.”

The young man nodded his head in mute response, and he and his wife held each other in their sadness. Just then, the young man then felt a tugging on his pant leg and looked down to see that the biscuit had somehow rolled his way across the floor, and was now holding on to his pant cuff.

“I see so much love and joy where you were once just a grumpy old man,” the biscuit began. “I don’t have anyone to take care of me, and just now I’m thinking it wasn’t so smart to wish to be a bag of flour. If you and your wife want a son… I would be happy to call you my mommy and daddy.”

The young man looked at his wife, and they came to a silent agreement. He looked again at the Genie, who now wore a knowing smile on his face, and said, “Genie, I wish this clever little biscuit were a little boy for my wife and me to play with and love as our own.”

The Genie, with much happiness nodded his head once and clapped his hands, and *POOF*, the biscuit became a little boy. The man, the woman, and the boy hugged each other tightly and cried tears of the purest joy. When the man looked up to thank the Genie, he found he had vanished, and the lamp with him. He said thank you to the empty air, and took his family upstairs to start their new lives.

And they lived happily for many years to come.


Angie said...

This is my favorite short story. It brings tears to my eyes every time I read it. You are such a talented writer.

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