The Body and the Toaster (fiction)
By Judy Berman
Jenn is far too honest. Always telling more than she should – like now, for instance.
I look around the kitchen. Something is out of place.
“Jenn, where’s the toaster?”
A long silence follows before she speaks quietly, hesitantly.
“It’s in the back yard. Under the porch. Along with the body,” Jenn says.
The memory chip in my brain is about to explode. While I am busy computing what one has to do with the other, I can only say …
She nods her head, her blue eyes downcast and brimming with tears.
I begin to measure out the coffee grinds and water. The answer is sure to be extensive and complicated. I prepare for a long night.
Earlier, when I returned home, I saw her ex-boyfriend’s car in our driveway. The hood is cool. Not a good sign. That means Johnny has been here for a while. I decide to make myself some toast, tea, and escape to my bedroom until he leaves. The fewer words we exchange, the better.
Now, Jenn slumps over the kitchen table. Her head is propped between her hands. The usual nagging questions race thru my head while I retrieve the coffee mugs, spoons, milk and sugar.
“Who” and “why,” I already know the answer to. “How” is still kind of fuzzy.
“Maybe,” I say gently, “you better, as they say in those cliché-ridden novels, start from the beginning.”
As if there is an alternative. Jenn shakes her head. She wants me to go out and examine the body. Admire her handiwork? I balk. She insists.
Outside, the view is like any other where there’s a body and a toaster under the deck. Dusk or dawn? Flowers in full bloom? Or, trees, stripped down to their bare limbs?
Nothing registers. Except for those inevitable, awful, taped-silhouettes police always make when they try to recreate the crime scene. And, those annoying flashing lights on patrol cars at the edge of my driveway.
Only the feet are under the deck. Johnny’s body is in full view. My eyes dart nervously to see if anyone is watching. Then, I walk down the deck’s steps for a closer look.
“Well, we can always get another toaster.”
Jenn shoots me a dark look.
Let’s face if. Of all of her beaus, Johnny is my least favorite. He has been stalking her ever since they broke up several months ago. The odd thing is, he broke up with Jenn to date another girl.
He’d borrowed Jenn’s brand-new car without asking. Then, he cleans out Jenn’s checking account to buy the other girl a diamond ring. Then she ditches him for another guy.
If I’d known Jenn was going to dispatch him, I’d have offered to help.
“It was an accident, Mom,” Jenn protests.
She explains that she had been sunning herself, and brought the toaster out to the deck to have lunch. Suddenly, Johnny barges around the corner and runs up onto the deck. He is yelling at Jenn, blaming her because the other girl jilted him.
Startled and frightened, she picks up the toaster.
“I don’t know why. It was just the nearest thing to me. It was like the toaster had a mind of its own and I … I,” here, Jenn falters, recalling what she did.
“When I threw it at him, the toaster struck his head and he fell backward off the deck,” she pauses.
Our silence is jarred by a groan. When the “body” moves, Jenn screams.
Johnny raises himself, leans on his left elbow. His right hand gingerly touches the bruise left by the errant toaster. When he sees Jenn and me, he cringes. But he makes a quick recovery.
“How could you?” Johnny shouts as he leaps toward her with his fists raised. “You could have killed me.”
Jenn freezes. I step in between them.
“Maybe, the next time, her aim will improve,” I smile as I reach for the unplugged toaster.
It begins to spark. Johnny backs away. Slowly, at first. Then, he takes off in a dead run.
A malfunctioning toaster is the least of Johnny’s problems. Just wait until he sees what’s in store for him when he gets that car going. I hear the pop-pop-pop of that contraption he calls a car as it backs out of the driveway. Then, I hear the engine roar and Johnny yelp.
“Mom, why are you smiling?” Jenn asks.
“Oh. I wasn’t aware that I was.”
COPYRIGHT NOTICE: Judy Berman and earthrider, 2011-15. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to (Judy Berman) and (earthrider, earth-rider.com, or earthriderdotcom) with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
Photo: Crime Scene2 – Crime scene in Central City, New Orleans. Photo by taken Sept. 26, 2010, by Derek Bridges. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/33/Crouching_Policeman_1st_Street_Crime_Scene.jpg/640px-Crouching_Policeman_1st_Street_Crime_Scene.jpg
Photo: Crime Scene tape – Do Not Cross – CRIME SCENE DO NOT CROSS / @CSI?cafe, Uploaded by Diego Grez, Taken by Yumi Kimura, Yokohama, Japan on March 25, 2009 http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/3d/Do_Not_Cross%2C_Crime_Scene.jpg/640px-Do_Not_Cross%2C_Crime_Scene.jpg
Photo: Toaster – a two-slice Sunbeam toaster. Photo taken April 24, 2005 by Donovan Govan http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/8/8f/Toaster.jpg/566px-Toaster.jpg
Yay Jenn! I love people who can multitask with appliances!
Uses you might never have considered for your kitchen tools. Thanks, Kate.
Wonderful. I’m relieved he was alive…the thought of the daughter doing time would have been horrendous. Love the twist at the end, though.
Thanks, Kate. An errant toaster tickled my warped sense of humor.
heh heh heh……
Rumpy … you sly dog, you.
Great story, Judy! That guy should have been toast!
I propose a toast to Amiable Amiable for this excellent comeback.
Ha ha! Thank you.
Good times. 😀
Ah, I suspect this is just the tip of the iceberg, Danielle.
And I’ll add a mwah ha ha! Loved reading this, Judy.
Thanks, Darla. It’s amazing how reality morphs into the absurd so quickly. It was fun to write.
Mom, it is nice to know you and your readers are ok with my homicidal tendencies…! I would like to know what you did to the car, but I guess that is another story. Thanks for the laugh, love ya.
Jenn, I’m saving that story for the book. 😆 Glad you enjoyed it.
The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, and apparently the toaster doesn’t fall far from the microwave. I never knew homicidal impulses were inherited. I learn a lot from reading this blog… : P
Great yarn, Judy!! : )
Mark, absolutely no toasters were harmed in the creation of this story. 🙂
I deny any plausibility theory attached to anything I write. (Glad you enjoyed the yarn.)
Really wonderful story, well, just continue watching your more arts
Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for visiting my blog.
Wicked mom 🙂 Now Jen would have told us exactly what you did with that car!
Ah, our imaginations sometimes take us on a wild ride … but, maybe, not in that car. 🙂
Great story, Judy. I especially liked the dialogue. (“Well, we can always get another toaster.”)
Thanks, Charles. Some might consider it cold, but I loved the mental image that line created.
I’ll think of more than bread next time I pull out my toaster, which unfortunately won’t be soon given our power outage!
Hope you’re soon warm and “toasty,” and everything is back to normal soon. Especially in the cold weather you’re now experiencing.
Wow, what an enthralling story, Judy! Love the way you use the words to build up suspense…thanks for a thrilling read.. 😀
Thank you very much. Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting.
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