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     “The Toaster”
 
It all started
with his toaster
he knew it was
playing him
he had gone
through three
others
in the last
two months,
he always used
the same bread
same temp settings
which he always
kept at halfway
between light
and dark
but still
no two pieces
of toast
ever came out
the same
maybe just a
faulty temp setting
he once thought,
but now
he felt like it
was personal
as if he had
done something
to anger the toasters
of the world,
when it came
time
for toaster number
four
he went prepared
to the appliance
store
when he walked in
to the top notch
store
he had a wad
of cash
and a bag filled
with three loafs
of different kinds
of bread
a tub of butter
and some blackberry
jam
that he had
picked up
at a farmer’s market,
as soon as the
sales clerk approached
him
he asked her
for the best
toaster they
sold
and when she
returned from the
backroom with it
all he said was
“Plug it in”
she didn’t think
that much about
it
he wasn’t the first
person to ask
her that when
they bought a
small appliance
but when he
started to clear
the table
she had set
the toaster on
and then began
to set the
contents of
the bag
on to the table
well that was
a first
she stood over
the table as he
started dropping
pieces of bread
into the toaster
and once they
popped out
golden brown
he buttered
them
before spreading
the thick rich
blackberry jam
across them,
she took a seat
at the table
once it was
obvious
he planned on
toasting
all three loafs
of bread
he tried different
settings
and combinations
of bread
even tilting the
toaster
and turning it
upside down
as it toasted
and when every
piece came out
as expected
he left the cash
the box
butter and jam
and three loafs
of toasted bread
all on the table
as he carried his
top of the line
toaster
out the front
door
the sales girl
just sat there
not saying a
single word
or leaving her
seat
not even counting
the money
he had left
her
she just reached
over
and grabbed the
blackberry jam
and put a big
glob of it
on to a piece of
perfectly toasted
sourdough bread
and ate it
as she watched
him
walk to his car
thinking to herself
good thing it
wasn’t a
washing machine
that would have
been hard
to hook up
as she adds
a little bit more
butter
to her last bite
of toast,
that night
he could hardly
sleep
he woke up
with the excitement
of a Christmas
morning
rushing down stairs
to the kitchen
sliding across the
slick floor
in his socks
and coming
to a stop
right in front
of his brand
new toaster
he washed
his hands
in the sink
making sure they
were completely
dry
as he sat his
best plate
made of bone
china
in front of the
toaster
opened up a
new tub of butter
and another jar
of blackberry jam
from the same
farmer’s market,
he could feel
the tension
in the room
as he reached
for the bread
a specialty brand
of sourdough
bread
just for this
occasion
still regulation
toaster size
he didn’t want
to push the
envelope to much
on opening day,
he calmly dropped
two pieces of
bread
into the awaiting
slots
and as he
pushed down
on the lever
lowering the bread
into toasting position
he could feel
the eyes of
all the other
appliances
watching him,
he then took
the lids off the
butter and jam
getting them ready
for the toast
he could see
the heat rising
from the slots
of the toaster
that were holding
the bread
that he was sure
would soon be
perfectly made toast
he stood there
knife in hand
bone china plate
in front of the
toaster
butter to the
right
and blackberry jam
to the left,
he closes his
eyes
as he waits
for the much
anticipated sound
of the lever release
he can tell by
the smell
that the toast
is almost ready
and while his
eyes are closed
a large drop of
water
starts to form
on the mouth
of the faucet
till the weight
of the large
drop
causes it to
breakaway
from the lip
of the faucet
and fall towards
the sink
striking a wine
glass
lying on its side
and as the faint
ding of that drop
reaches his ear
he opens his
eyes
to see two pieces
of toast
still stuck in
the toaster
he is momentarily
frozen in place
with anger
his mind snaps
over the disbelief
of his failed
attempt
at making simple
toast
he slams his
right fist down
on to the top
of the toaster
forgetting he was
still holding the
knife
and in that
split second
as 120 volts
traveled through
his body
he had just
one thought
going through
his mind,
if he had
but only
one wish
in this world
before he died
it would be that
inanimate objects
could feel
pain
and as he lay
on the floor
and his last few
breaths
were lining up
to leave his
body
he heard a
“Click”
and two
pieces of
perfectly toasted
sourdough bread
popped out of
the toaster
and landed on
his chest
allowing him
to die
with a smile…
 
     Tom Allen…11-11-2017…