1. GingerCoffee

    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

    Mar 3, 2013
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    Ralph's side of the island.

    Past Contest Submissions closed for contest #171 theme: "sliced bread"

    Discussion in 'Monthly Short Story Contest Archives' started by GingerCoffee, Feb 24, 2015.

    Short Story Contest # 171
    Submissions & Details Thread
    Theme: "Sliced Bread" courtesy of @lustrousonion

    Submissions will be open for ~3 weeks.


    If you wish to enter the contest post the story here directly in the thread. It will show up as an anonymous author.

    This contest is open to all writingforums.org members, newbies and the established alike. At the deadline I will link to this thread from the voting thread. The winning entry will be stickied until the next competition winner. As always, the winner may also PM me to request the theme of the subsequent contest if he/she wishes.

    Entries do not have to follow the themes explicitly, but off-topic entries may not be entered into the voting.

    Word limit: 500-3000 words
    Deadline for entries: Sunday the 15th of March, 2015 1600 (4:00 pm) US Pacific time

    There is a 10% word-limit leniency at both ends of the scale. Please try to stick within the limit. Any piece outside of the suggested limit may not be entered into the voting.

    If we reach 20 entries, the maximum number of stories for any one contest, I will consider splitting the contest into two. Only one entry per contest per contestant is permitted.

    Try to make all your entries complete and have an ending rather than be an extract from a larger one and please try to stick to the topic. Any piece seemingly outside of the topic will be dealt with in a piece by piece basis to decide its legitimacy for the contest.

    A story entered into the contest may not be one that has been posted anywhere on the internet, not just anywhere on this site. A story may not be posted for review until the contest ends, but authors may seek critiques after voting closes for the contest. Members may also not repost a story anywhere, or bring attention to the contest in any way, until the voting has closed.

    Please remember to give your piece a title and give its word count in brackets [xxx words] at the top of your story.

    If there are any questions, please send me a PM (Conversation). After the voting ends, posting in the thread will re-open for comments.

    ***And thanks to even more long hours put in by our very special mod/member @Wreybies, winners are now awarded with olympic style medals displayed under their avatars.

    Thanks, and good luck!

    Be sure to preview your entry before you hit 'reply'.
    Check italics and bolding as sometimes the end code for bold or italics doesn't copy/paste affecting large stretches of text.
    If you need to fix the formatting, hit 'control a' to 'select all' and clear all bold and italics code. Then re-add it back in using the board's font controls before you hit 'post reply'. Watch those extra line spaces. Delete them directly from the post before hitting 'post reply'.
  2. Lancie

    Lancie Senior Member

    Oct 20, 2014
    Likes Received:
    Feeding Time (983 words)

    The gate hissed back across the runners as metal slid against metal. Inside all the animals began to stir.

    Pale dawn light filtered in, forcing R’Kai to squint her narrow black eyes. She lifted her torch and shone her green beam down the centre of the walkway, slowly checking that everything was as it should be. Her body bristled as she illuminated the corners, ready for whatever was hiding.

    But nothing was lurking that morning, the dark was empty. All the crates were secured and all the animals seemed calm.

    She slumped in relief and ambled back outside.

    “Are they alright?” asked D’Ren tentatively, hovering just outside the door. His small frame quivered in the morning chill.

    “Fine,” R’Kai replied. “Are you sure you saw something?”

    D’Ren shrugged. “I thought I did. But maybe it was just the shadows?” he pulled his arms tighter across his body, flinching away from R’Kai’s hulking form. “It’s just that, after the last time…there was so much blood and…the wolves here are so much bigger…” he stuttered. R’Kai placed her smaller claw on his shoulder.

    “I know. It’s alright,” she said calmly. “Don’t think of it like that. I know it was a nasty sight, but they wouldn’t have known what was going on. And the ones left won’t remember it,” she told him in a gentle voice. “We need to get on, though. Will you help me feed them?”

    They crossed the yard to the storage unit and began to throw packets of food into a wheel barrow.

    R’Kai looked at her mate a moment as he gathered up the food. His small iridescent eyes swirled a hundred different hues of blue. Such pretty eyes. Such a pretty male. R’Kai suddenly felt very protective of him.

    If the wolves attacked he wouldn’t stand a chance, but females were much bigger, and much stronger than males. R’Kai was a warrior of a female. She would not go down so easily. She would take the beasts out with her colossal razor edged claw before they could swarm her.

    She straightened and squeezed her back muscles to stop them from stiffening. D’Ren had found the bodies. Three of them, completely mauled. One had her head missing. Guts splayed across the straw like tangled slick rope and everything shone with their sticky crimson blood.

    It was no wonder he was so nervous. There were more missing; eight in total. And the thought of them making that high pitched squeal, being dragged broken and bloodied into the darkness, had kept D’Ren from sleeping.

    R’Kai had resisted telling him that the same thing happened when they went off to the abattoir, but their animals were for breeding. She was grateful he was spared that grim reality, at least.

    “I put a report in about the wolves. A track and hunt party will be coming out soon.” R’Kai flashed her most reassuring smile, revealing her brick like rows of teeth. D’Ren nodded and threw the last packet of food into the wheel barrow.
    R’Kai trundled back across the yard with the food and they entered the barn.

    “It’s a shame we can’t let them out though, they look so sad,” D’Ren muttered, gazing into the oval face of a female with a swollen belly. They looked so odd during gestation, more so than usual. She boldly came up to the front of her cell and pressed her head against the bars. Curious green eyes gazed up at him as D’Ren patted her red hair.

    “I keep telling you, they don’t get sad. As long as we give them plenty of water, keep them warm and feed them, they’re fine.”

    D’Ren lifted another packet and broke it open. The animals began to move, their eyes widening. Some of them came to the front of their cells and reached out for the white rectangular pieces of bread. R’Kai was fascinated by their bizarre claws, split into five useless fleshy hooks that they curled around things. He held out a slice of their bread feed and watched the female take it off him.

    He turned his attention to the food, sliced white. It was odd stuff. A perfect square of bleached white with an edge of dark brown all the way around that he could squish into a ball of pulp. If it was left out of the packet too long, the white would become speckled green and would make the animals sick.

    D’Ren lifted a crisp white square up to his nostrils and took in the scent. It was a little like grain, but grain that was on the verge of rotting.

    “Don’t do that,” R’Kai huffed gruffly.

    D’Ren tossed the bread into a cell. The young adolescent bobbed up to it and scrambled back into the dark, making chattering noise to the other young animal next to him.

    “Is this really the best food for them? It doesn’t smell very nice.”

    R’Kai shrugged her muscular shoulders. “They’ve always eaten this stuff. Perhaps to them it’s the tastiest thing in the world. Who knows?” she gathered up the last packets. “I think that’s enough for now.”

    “Here smell it.” D’Ren lifted a piece up to her. With a sigh, R’Kai relented and pressed her nostrils to the bread.

    “It doesn’t smell of anything at all,” she batted it away. “I better not find you trying to taste it.”

    They moved the wheel barrow out of the barn and put the remaining food away.

    D’Ren watched R’Kai loop the new hefty chain around the doors. “I’d like to see those feral bastards get through this!” she spat.

    “I’d like to see them get through you!” D’Ren said warmly. As they ambled back towards their home, D’Ren took a quick look behind to check there were no more lurking shadows.

    Nothing was there, but he still pressed his small body into the protective, familiar bulk of his mate.
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  3. dbesim

    dbesim Contributor Contributor

    Mar 28, 2014
    Likes Received:
    London, UK
    A Day in the Life of Malcolm (639 words)

    As the night gets colder and stormier Malcolm seeks refuge away from the open spaces of the city park. He raises a hand dressed in a dirty glove and he scratches the beard on his grimy face. His face becomes a lot sootier. Even the falling raindrops can't clean away the permanent muck stained on his face. Those unwashed gloves. He hasn't had a shower for months and even then it was at the public toilets. A sort-of shower.

    The wind begins to howl as Malcolm wanders around urgently seeking for something with a roof. He has wandered out too far today and arrived at a location he doesn't know very well. The park is pleasant but not while it's cold and raining. Malcolm resigns and he's tired. He opts to sit a while under a dense tree. He rests his back upon the thick bark of the tree. Bumpy. Uncomfortable.

    His clothes absorb a fresh new grime of mud and stench. The winds blow and it is still cold but the denseness of the tree branches shelter him from the rain. Somewhat.

    His eyes scour the views in front of him. Hoping to see something. Someone. But there's no one around and why would they be? They've all got homes to go to, he thinks enviously.

    Suddenly a moving figure materialises into viewpoint. It's blurred because the figure is so far and yet it was moving nearer and nearer. Soon he would be able to see it more clearly. Yes.. it is a woman and she's dressed in red. She has an umbrella and she holds something else too but he can't quite make out what. She was coming towards him. Malcolm doesn't think the lady's seen him. Not yet anyway. Not while he's concealed behind the branches. She's heading his direction. He watches.

    Seconds later the woman has arrived so near that she's noticed him. She hesitates. Malcolm is now sure she's seen him. My, she was beautiful. Her golden hair looked striking against her long, red coat. She carries an ordinary bag and a plastic bag and carefully holds an umbrella to shelter her from the rain. What's she doing in the park on a rainy day like this?

    'Hi,' the lady calls out. Was it to him? He slowly raises his eyes and meets her sparkling blue ones.

    'Aren't you cold?' She asks.

    'What's it your business?' He growls. She hesitates.

    'Well, I was just in the park. I was going to feed the ducks. Because they're hungry, see?' She says nervously.

    'And so am I!' He responds rudely.

    'But then it started raining, so I didn't,' she explains. 'The ducks. They're all gone.'

    Malcolm belches. He doesn't need to be confronted.

    'Don't you have a home to go to?' He says gruffly.

    'So I've been left with a bag of fresh sliced bread,' she says. 'I feel you might need this a lot more than the ducks.' The lady approaches Malcolm and lays beside him the bag of fresh sliced bread. It's wholemeal.

    If Malcolm's grateful now he doesn't show it. For he doesn't need her pity. He makes no eye contact as he waits for her to walk away. She goes away.

    The woman's right. Malcolm is hungry. Starving actually. And he hasn't seen a gesture like this done for days.

    Malcolm takes off his dirty gloves and he reaches out for the bag of bread. It was enough. He makes sure not to eat all of it so he could have more for the time ahead. Tomorrow will be another day but he's feeling grateful for this one and for all of the small generosities it has brought. He lies his back carefully upon the grime of the mud and the grass and he sleeps.
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2015
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  4. Dras

    Dras Active Member

    Feb 28, 2013
    Likes Received:
    Payette, Idaho
    The Price of Kindness (1,078)

    The market was busy today. The streets were filled with men and women dressed in rags and silk alike. Rich and poor, success and failures, all gathered at the market cause no matter their station everyone needed to eat. Every booth and stall had customers flocking its wares, the merchants bubbling with energy and the glint of money in their eyes. So busy were the streets in fact that my voice could barely be heard above the noise of a thousand conversations.

    "Bread for Sale! Freshly baked this morning! Fairly priced for such excellent quality. White and dense wholesome nutrition protected in a crisp flavorful crust!" I cried. Over and over I tried to sell my wares. I was small, my frame unable to stand against the crowd and my voice to soft to be heard and so that no one noticed the woman with the basket of bread. The day wore on and still my bread was unsold. It got hotter in the bright sun and the crowd till I was forced to unwrap my shawl from my shoulders lest I die from heat. Even then I got little attention save stares of pity and disgust. Nobody wanted to buy bread from a woman who's skin was covered in bruises and marks.

    "She must be a terrible wife," was the whispers, "I will not buy bread from someone who cannot please her husband,".

    Giving up on the crowd I directed my wares towards the lines of stalls, trying to bargain away my bread for food at least. Still I was refused, they wanted coin of course.

    As the crowds began to thin my stomach began to complain of the neglect it's been receiving. The bread draped on my arm began to taunt me to where my throat became dry and my eyes wouldn't leave the basket. To eat a loaf of bread however would incur the wrath of my husband, coin lost, yet they weren't selling anyway right? Surely I could partake of one. I can't afford to buy some food from the stalls today and I neglected to make a lunch in my frenzy of making the bread. My husband doesn't know how many I baked, I can surely spare one for better to be fed. He loves me enough to understand that.

    Taking refuge from the sun in an abandoned alley way and sat and begun to shakily tear pieces from one of the loaves of bread. As the crust cracked and released the fresh aroma my mouth began to water and the shaking stopped as I devoured the loaf.

    A sudden noise from deeper within the alley caused the hair to raise on the back of my neck. Cautiously I turned my head to stare into the depths of filth and refuse. Again came the rustling and a pair of small frightened eyes appeared over the edge of a pile of forgotten rags, followed by a scrawny neck and baggy clothes covered in holes and dirt. A boy, no more than nine years of age I was sure. He stepped cautiously from behind his pile of rags, bone-thin limbs shaking from the weight of his frame and the fright he must surely be feeling.

    "Come," I said softly, taking another loaf from my basket to hold out to the boy, "Share of my meal." The boy took a small step forward and stopped again glancing quickly around him and beckoning. Two more half-starved children appeared from the depths of the alley and quickly clutched to the older boys sides. Without a second thought I brought my basket around and lifted the cloth to show I had plenty to share. With that the children rushed forward and begun devouring the bread and probably would of devoured the basket as well the poor things.

    "Giving gifts to the rats but not your men, wench?" the children scurried away and I froze at the sound of that rough, belligerent voice. Keeping my eyes down I shifted to my knees and bowed in the direction I heard the voice.

    "Forgive me please, I am but a bread seller and the children were starving,"

    "And what would bread matter to me?" said the voice again. Suddenly I felt something brush close by me and heard my basket hit a wall with a dry rustle and the soft thuds as my bread hit the filthy ground. Crying out I rushed to pick up the loaves that had not fallen in filth and tried to brush the dirt of the ones I could save. Rumbling laughter mocked me as I tried to save my only way of coin.

    "C'mere and give me a proper greeting," The man grasped my wrist as I was reaching for another loaf and jerked me to my feet, causing the bread to fall from my arms. The man then grasped my behind to press me firmly against him, forcing his ale-soaked mouth onto mine.

    "Stop it please! I have a husband!" I cried, struggling to get out of his clutches and run from the alley so I could lose him in the crowd. He was much stronger then my feeble frame and my every struggle just led to more of his sickening laughter and gropes.

    "I spotted me a fine-bonny whore and I intend to keep her. I have her shine my staff and warm my bed till next I leave the shore!" He began singing, words slurring with his drunkenness. His pushed me roughly onto the pile of rags the children were hiding behind and straddled me. His rough hands seemed to touch every bruise and left new ones in their wake. Laughing he kept forcing his mouth upon mine, stifling my screams making it hard for me to breathe. He tore at my clothes and reveled me, roughly grasping my chest and forcing his hips upon mine. He seemed to grow annoyed at my struggles and punched me on the side of my head. Stars flew across my vision, blood pooling in my mouth. In that momentary stun he managed to undress himself and once again force himself upon me, striking home. My body had given up and it was all I could do to whimper and try to shut off my senses. My skin crawled, my body ached, and with every move he made the pain renewed.

    He finished with a sigh and then left me without a word.
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  5. DeadMoon

    DeadMoon The light side of the dark side Contributor

    Dec 7, 2014
    Likes Received:
    fargo, ND
    The ghost in the pumpkin [1056]

    “Today’s the day Sammy, it’s Halloween.” It was still early as Ashley danced around her yard making sure all of the skeletons, tombstones and spider webs were perfect for the children tonight. “Are you ready Sammy? Your going to look great out there tonight, so much better then how you were before” Finally satisfied with her display, Ashley turns to Sammy “I have to run to the store for more candy now Sammy, don’t you get in any trouble now.”

    Sammy was a thick skinned White Ghost pumpkin. Ashley carved him into what she called a Sammy-O-Lantern. She placed him on an alter outside her home as an offerings to her Deities. Sammy was surrounded by candy, coins, toys and slices of homemade bread that was baked fresh for the occasion to symbolize her faith. Sammy’s sinister grin was ready to shine through the thin veil between this world and the next.


    Jeffery didn’t want to wait for tonight to play a trick on someone. From the moment he saw the alter the neighbor girl set up, he knew that was going to be his target. He would wait until she wasn’t looking to sneak up to the alter to play his trick on her.

    He snuck up close to the alter. In his mind, anyone who just leaves candy and money out in the open deserves to have it stolen. First he took the candy, eating a few pieces now save the rest for later throwing the wrappers to the ground. Next he stole the coins, placing them in his pocket. Finally he picked up the slices of bread intending to tear them, instead he became mesmerized by Sammy, Starting into his hallow eyes. He could swear he heard something.. Some faint cry from inside of Sammy. He leaned in close, knowing it was crazy to hear something in a pumpkin.

    Suddenly he was startled by the sound of Ashley returning home. He swung around knocking Sammy to the ground breaking the White Ghost into pieces. “What the hell are you doing?” Ashley yelled as she ran toward her house. “Stop that.” She ran into her yard in time to see Jeffery disappear behind another house and out of sight. “Sammy, what did that little shit do to you.” She glanced to the alter noticing the rest of the offerings have been stolen or destroyed as well.

    Her body started to tremble with anger. He disgraced the offerings she placed out to her Deities. “The boy must learn some respect.” she said to her broken friend. She knew that Jeffrey would be stupid enough to return tonight to beg for candy. That’s when she will claim her revenge and teach Jeffery to have respect for the dead.

    With the veil between worlds so thin and the night fast approaching Ashley set out to give a new form to Sammy. She would work his remains into a sweet treat for the troublesome boy. Irresistible slices of pumpkin bread covered in a layer of sugary sweet frosting. She would add a little something extra that will help her teach the boy a lesson. Maybe even offer him a peak behind the veil. He played his trick and now it’s time for Jeffrey to get his tasty treat.

    As expected, Jeffery went back to back Ashley’s home later that evening thinking nothing of his earlier mischievous actions. He didn’t thing she knew who smashed her pumpkin and stole the items. He knocks on her door. “Trick or treat.” he says in a mono tone voice.

    Ashley opens the door, large bowl of candy in her hands. “Getting a bit old for this aren’t we?” she leans against the doorway fighting the urge to let him have it right there.

    “No, we are not,” he replies in a mocking tone. “Beside it’s my last year I’m doing this, not like it’s any of your business.” He holds his bag out to her.

    She can see his bag is nearly full, no doubt stolen from other children in the area. “Alight alright, have it your way.” She tosses a few pieces of candy into his bag. “Since you’re here, and since it is your last year doing this. I did just baked a fresh loaf of pumpkin Bread. Do want a few slices? It’s covered in a sweet frosting.”

    “Yeah, I guess I’ll try some.” He was sure of it now. She had no idea he was the one who played the trick on her. Otherwise she wouldn’t be so nice to him. He greedily ate the slices of pumpkin bread as he headed off to beg for more candy.

    Jeffery starts to feel effects of the slices of bread right away. The moons light started to dim and then disappear until even the house lights were consumed by the darkness. He could hear sounds around him, Faint Laughing, yelling, screaming like echos from a distance place. He could feel movement around him. He tried to reach out for whatever was around him, but his arms refused to move. His feet were frozen to the ground with fear. Now someone or something from the darkness was grasping at his neck pulling and twisting. He lost feeling in his body. His mouth felt like it was being forced open by a sadistic dentist. He felt scratching and cutting around his eyes. Sharp claws were digging and pulling on the inside of his head . Then at once the madness stopped.

    The light cast from the moon returns, Jeffery was able to see the world again. At first he didn’t know where he was or what had happened, then it came to him. His point of view was the same as Sammy’s was, before he knocked him over.

    Jeffery couldn’t move, but he could see and hear everything around him. There was candy, coins placed before of him along with slices of the pumpkin bread he ate earlier. He saw children running up to Ashley’s home for treats. “What a weird looking Jack-o-lantern you have there.” one child told Ashley pointing right at him. “Actually children, I call him a Jeffery-o-lantern, and I just carved him tonight. ” She replied with a smirk. “And if you listen closely children, you can hear the faint cry of ghost in the pumpkin.”
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  6. lustrousonion

    lustrousonion Senior Member

    Oct 7, 2014
    Likes Received:
    Loaf (1,826 words)

    “What are you reading!” It is meant as a question, but in order to be heard over the ska playing on the speakers, it comes out more like a chastisement. Something your mother might say. She worries she sounds anti-reading with this statement.

    “Twelfth Knight,” he replies, looking up at her with almond-shaped brown eyes. The lids are low and sleepy, reminding her of Paul McCartney or Sylvester Stallone if they wore glasses.

    “What you will,” she says.

    His expression becomes less guarded. “Good one.”

    She tries to act cool about it. “I read it in school. What are you supposed to be?”

    Any progress she had made with Shakespearean references went out the window.

    “Do you know how many times I've been asked that tonight?”

    She is undaunted. She sits.

    “It is Halloween.”


    “And you are dressed as a...”


    It's hard to say what his costume looks like, but he seems genuinely interested in her opinion on the matter, and she enjoys his attention.

    “Um... Well, I mean, I assume it is supposed to be clever. You look like someone who does things because they're clever, and I mean that in a good way. I like that. I like that you're at a punk club reading a book.”

    “I'll listen to the band when they play,” he says defensively. “They're my friends.”

    “I'm Laura, by the way.”


    “Mighty fine to meet you, Seth.”

    “Are you drunk?”

    “I don't know. Are you bread?”

    “Yes! Yes, goddamn it! Yes, I'm bread!”

    Laura isn't sure what to make of this sudden outburst. His brown eyes, practically the only thing she can see of him through the foam costume, glitter in the crappy lighting.

    “Sorry,” Seth says quickly. He throws the book down and slumps against the booth. It's probably red, but the lights are too dark to tell. “I've had one hell of a night.”
    The first thing Seth says is that he never knew such a mundane object could be so antagonistic.

    “I'm kind of small, right?” This is how he begins.

    “I can't tell,” Laura answers. “You're all doughy at the moment.”

    “Well, I am. I mean, if you were, like, looking for something here-” She blushes instantly. “-it's better you know right away.”
    “I don't mind small.”

    Seth frowns at her. Then he continues.

    He is small, in height and in weight. His mom is also small, his dad just average. Guess who's genes he was lucky enough to get? And he's always been smaller than other guys, so he didn't try to be good at sports, and really he didn't want to be good at sports.

    “It was kind of a relief to not even be considered. Imagine if I was 6'2” and buff and still into poetry?”

    “You'd get laid all the time?”

    “And beat up, too.”

    It wasn't bad being smaller than other guys, is what Seth is trying to say. He had good friends and hobbies that he actually enjoyed. But he was indoorsy. Pale. Somewhere, sometime, at a D&D game-

    “I like D&D,” he adds, as if that wouldn't have been clear otherwise. Laura nods.

    At a D&D game, someone names him The Loaf. The name, like all stupid nicknames do, sticks. Now everyone pretty much calls him The Loaf.

    “It's not complimentary sounding,” comments Laura. She picks at her fishnets, trying to straighten them.

    “I don't think is supposed to be.”

    “But that's the idea then? You're a loaf? Of bread?”

    As Seth got older and practically everyone, even his teachers, called him The Loaf, he was forced to have lots of conversations about bread.

    “I'm glad you find that funny,” Seth says through Laura's hysterical giggles. “Are you drunk?”

    “I'm really not. I don't drink.”

    “Neither do I.”

    “But what does that mean? Conversations about bread? How much is there to say?”

    “Lots, apparently.”
    It's Seth's friend Jimmy, on one such occasion of bread-talking, who comes up with the theory.

    Jimmy is mop-headed and has a stoner attitude. You know, slouchy and sleepy all the time. One of those guys where no one even asks if he smokes up, there's so little need. People just show up at his house with lighters and Grateful Dead CDs. Despite that, he's really smart.

    “Bread is actually amazing,” Jimmy says one day as they're playing Star Trek cards.

    “What are Star Trek cards?”

    “It's a game, about Star Trek, with cards. You can... Well, it doesn't really matter for this story.”

    “Show me later?”

    Seth smiles slightly.

    “How is bread amazing?” Seth asks. He's laying down a Cardassian. A new Dominion War is about to begin on the table.

    “A what?” asks Laura.


    Bread, Jimmy goes on to explain, is like a blank slate. Everyone has their own version, depending on the culture. The childhood. The side of the tracks. It's like Magritte said: Words bring to mind an image. But everyone's image might be different. It's a demonstration of the inaccuracy of words.
    A new song starts over the speakers, the trumpets and saxophones blaring.

    “Is that what you're being? An inaccurate word?”

    “If anything,” The Loaf says, as Laura has now accepted him to be, “I'm a demonstration of an inaccurate picture.”

    “I don't get it.”

    Seth thinks. He seems to come up with a way to explain it to her and says, “You're a witch, right?”

    “Yeah,” Laura says. “Kind of lame, right?”

    “Well, yes, it is, in fact. It's cliché. But that's beside the point.”

    “The point being...?”

    “I know what you are. I know the word immediately, even though witches can have green faces or big floofy white dresses. You've given me just enough hints to exclude prostitute and girl in Vegas, and include witch.”

    “Uh huh. So you're saying images are just sketches of already formed ideas?”

    “Exactly!” The Loaf smiles.

    “The band is starting,” Laura observes. She's disappointed that their conversation will probably end.

    The Loaf looks at the stage and the musicians plugging in their instruments.

    “Wanna go outside?”

    Laura brightens. “Or get pizza?”
    The costume, the idea is, gives a sketch of bread. How others fill in the blanks are up to them. An experiment. Meant to prove Jimmy wrong, that bread is without a doubt, one-hundred percent not amazing.

    “Goddamn Jimmy,” The Loaf says, and bites into his pepperoni slice.
    The first group The Loaf encounters is a group of mothers. He's going door to door with his kid sister.

    “Oh, look!” the woman at the door says as she sees them. She's wearing a witches costume, too.

    “Fuck off,” Laura says. She bites into her slice of cheese.

    “It looks better on you, if it makes any difference.”

    Laura doesn't want to say that it does make a difference. “Give me a drink of you soda.”

    “Look, Supergirl and a cake!” the witch says. And the other mothers in the other room crowd around the door.

    “What kind are you darling? Apple? Carrot?”

    “I don't know,” The Loaf says. “Just regular.”

    “What a good idea!” another mother says. “Bet you want to be a chef, huh? So nice to see a young man interested in cooking.”

    “Do you cook?” Laura asks.

    “Not even toast.”
    The next encounter was a group of young white guys. Frat guys maybe.

    “What were they dresses as?”


    “No really. It's important to the story.”

    The frat guys were dressed as fighter pilots, most of them. Like Tom Cruise in Top Gun. One was dressed as a priest. One as an Indian.

    “Typical,” Laura says.

    The Loaf approaches these guys, and now he's on his own. He's left his sister with her friends for a sleepover, and he's on his way to meet his own friends downtown. And here are a group of guys his own age, but all of them are at least a foot taller than him.

    “Hey, fag,” one of them says out of the blue. “Where's the meat for your bun?” And the others laugh like crazy.

    “You're kidding.” Laura knows he's not kidding, and she's disgusted. “Why do you people do that?”

    “Don't include me.”

    “You know what I mean,” she says. “Young, white guys. What's to be so insecure about?”

    “My theory is that they can only define themselves by what they're not, and doing so means hating what they're not. Mostly because it's easier.” The Loaf sips on his soda.

    “My theory,” Laura says, “is that with other men there is a potential for unwanted sexual contact. Maybe even rape. Something men usually don't have to worry about.”

    “Huh.” The Loaf thinks about that. “Goddamn Jimmy,” he says again. “He's always right.”
    The last encounter of the night was right before entering the club. He has to pass a few other bars along the way, and at one, two black guys are standing outside smoking.

    “Uh oh,” Laura says. “I think I can guess this one.”

    And she's right; she can.

    “What the fuck is this? You see this?” One says to the other.

    “What are you supposed to be, cracker?”

    “Nah, man. He's not a cracker. He's Wonderbread. Aren't you, Wonderbread?”

    “I”m not Wonderbread,” The Loaf says. “I'm just plain bread.”

    One guy blows smoke out his nose and shakes his head. The Loaf doesn't feel threatened at all, and he finds that interesting.
    “Shit man,” the guys says. “Same damn thing.”
    “And that's when you came along.”

    Laura and The Loaf are sitting outside the club, waiting for the set to end. They can hear the music blaring into the street. Power chords and intermittent yells.

    It's cold out, and the skin on Laura's legs is prickling. She leans slightly against The Loaf's foamy costume.

    “Sorry. I guess you were sick of being bread by then.”

    “Sick of being a blank slate for other people's hang ups, yeah.”

    They sit in silence for a minute, watching the bar across the street and the people inside. Everyone has on a different costume. One is a bee, and another is a hippie. There is a lot of laughing going on, and Laura is happy to have the relative quiet of the street around her.

    Laura yawns and leans her head against the space where The Loaf's shoulder would be.

    “Do you want my number?” she asks.

    She feels him turn his head towards her. “That depends,” he says.

    “On what?”

    “On what you think I am.”

    Laura continues to stare across the street. She thinks long and hard. “I think you look like the second to best thing.”
    There's a space where he doesn't say anything, and then a chuckle.

    “What knocked me out of first place?”

    Laura gazes up at him. “You. When you've stopped being a human sandwich.” She rests her head on his shoulder again. “Now tell me about this Dominion War of yours. It sounds fascinating.” And The Loaf does.
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2015
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  7. Sethypoo98

    Sethypoo98 New Member

    Nov 30, 2014
    Likes Received:
    "Dinner for Two" (1,068 words)

    Amanda slumped, utterly exhausted, on the battered couch of her cramped but tidy living room. She’d been working for hours- cleaning, vacuuming , dusting, sweeping, and cooking- so that her husband would have a comfortable place to return to after a day of grueling labor. The sunlight that shined through the living room window was beginning to fade into the pale, eerie light of dusk, foreshadowing the arrival of her beloved spouse. With this in mind, Amanda heaved her weary body off of the couch with great effort and made her way back to the kitchen to make final preparations for dinner.

    In the kitchen there were various pots and pans cooking a plethora of vegetables, meats, and desserts. One by one, Amanda ladled them into decorative serving dishes that she reserved for parties and other special occasions. As she moved the dishes over to the table, Amanda noticed an obstruction that had previously averted her gaze- a small .38 revolver that she kept for protection in their occasionally dangerous South Boston neighborhood. Glancing at it with disdain, for she detested violence, Amanda stuffed the revolver into the waistband in the back of the sweatpants she was wearing- she would put it away later. She replaced this nefarious object with the much more pleasant options of mashed potatoes, steamed vegetables, steak, roast chicken, and, last but not least, a warm loaf of bread.

    At nearly the exact moment that Amanda set the final plate in its place on the table, she heard the front door creak conspicuously open, followed by the sounds of her husband’s heavy boots passing through it into the living room. Moving quickly to greet him, Amanda saw that he was still wearing his tool belt and was covered with concrete dust from what she assumed was another job demolishing old, soon-to-be-replaced buildings in the distant housing projects.

    “Welcome home, John!” exclaimed Amanda, smiling. “I hope you had a wonderful day! Dinner’s on the table!”

    John pushed by her without a word, loping sluggishly through the kitchen and into the bathroom. After a moment, the sound of a running shower filled the air. With a disappointed sigh, Amanda walked, her head hung in defeat, back into the kitchen and sat in her spot waiting once more for her beloved husband to return.

    After several minutes, John finally made his way to the table, his skin now devoid of the gray concrete dust, and sat down with a careless groan.

    “What would you like, dear?” asked Amanda enthusiastically, her wide smile remaining plastered on her face. “I made your favorite- steak, mashed potatoes, chicken…everything you like!”

    Surveying the spread with a skeptical stare, John let out a long, critical sigh to show just how utterly enthused he was.

    “You forgot to slice the bread, Amanda.”

    “Oh, of course.” Amanda enthusiasm was shifting gradually into nervous compliance. “I’ll just go grab a knife and-“

    “You don’t get it, Amanda!” Interjected John impatiently. “It’s not just about the bread. I’ve been out busting my ass for ten straight hours! You’ve been sitting in this house for that entire time and you don’t even have the ounce of intelligence or willpower that it would take to slice the fucking bread? I’d like to at least have dinner completely prepared for me by the time I get home!”

    Amanda, her façade of joyfulness beginning to crumble, stammered for a reply.

    “I-I-I… well, I just…I just thought that maybe…”

    “Maybe what, Amanda? Maybe I’d like to swing a fucking sledgehammer for ten hours and then come home and have to slice my own bread, too? Why do you think I married you if you can’t even do this one simple task? It’s pathetic!”

    Amanda was beginning to break down. A tear had already begun to roll down her pale cheek. As she stood up to go to the bathroom in anticipation of a fountain of tears and running makeup, John mirrored her on the other side of the table and kept looking at her with his furious blue eyes.

    “Don’t you fucking move, you dumb whore! I would like to eat dinner with my wife, even if she is incompetent! Now you stay put and I’ll cut the damn bread myself.”

    Amanda sat down again, lost in the pool of despair that was this life she had fallen into. John, infuriated beyond reason, moved with sharp, angry, forceful movements to the end of the table where the unsliced loaf of bread lay. He drew a long, crude pocket knife and began to fumble with it, trying to get it open with motor skills that had been made inefficient by his rage.

    “I’m out of the house for the entire god damned day, and all you can do is sit around and just play fucking solitaire or some stupid shit like that for hours and hours and hours. Well I’m sick of it. You are such a stupid, incompetent, dogfaced, shit-for-brains, lazy-“

    His sentence was cut short by the bullet that cut through his chest. John fell backwards onto the ground beside the table with a thump, and Amanda was left gasping in shock and holding the .38 revolver shakily in her right hand, its barrel still smoking. For a moment she sat there terrified of what she had done and what she had become, fearful of the future and what it held for her. And then her terror was replaced by a feeling of absolute freedom, of hope, of new beginnings and new opportunities- of a better life away from this cesspool of violence and abuse. And then she ran.
    When the police arrived, they found John lying dead in a pool of his own blood on the floor. A small .38 revolver was sitting next to the heaps of food on the table, and one of the shells inside was lacking its bullet. The perpetrator was, as one might expect, nowhere to be found. The inspectors moved like curious tourists throughout the room, snapping pictures of the food and the gun and the body.

    The chief inspector surveyed the scene like a watchful lion, his gaze moving slowly over each object, digesting every detail of what lay before him. After about fifteen minutes of solemn observation, the officer put his cap on, turned around to leave, and made a final decisive conclusion.

    “Poor bastard didn’t even have time to slice the bread.”
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