The Frosting
Brandi Wells

Every day I kill another one until there is one left

You are my favorite one, I say. This favorite one nods. I can tell the favorite appreciates being the favorite. I pull the favorite into the bed with me and we crawl underneath the cold and dead bodies. We are in love, I whisper and the favorite nods.

Why won’t you talk, I ask the favorite, but the favorite will not answer.

I cut out the favorite’s tongue because the favorite does not make good use of it

You’ll never miss it, I say.
It wasn’t important. If it was important, you should have used it.
I swallow the tongue and begin the tedious process of digestion.

The favorite bakes me elaborate cakes to ensure their status as favorite

The cakes pile up over the dead bodies and everything smells like vanilla and sugar. The frosting runs over the bodies and floor and creeps up the wall. The frosting begins a process that I do not fully understand, where it seeps in and out of bodies, acquiring knowledge and skill.

The frosting is not content to stay indoors

The frosting says it needs fresh air and vitamin D. It needs to go outside where it might meet more interesting people.
What about me? I ask, but the frosting doesn’t answer. The frosting leaves. I wait, but it doesn’t return. I go outside, but I don’t see it anywhere.

I find the frosting in my bedroom reading Keats

This is what you do with your time, I ask.

The frosting apologizes. The frosting says it will write me an apology note and place the note inside my mailbox, where I will read it and feel apologized to.

I try to explain that I don’t have a mailbox anymore

Like all the mundane objects in my life, my mailbox left a long time ago. Uprooted and made for somewhere new, somewhere more interesting. My life without a mailbox has been difficult. I have never been able to maintain any sort of correspondence. I gave out my address and there were no invitations, no postcards, no bills, never any junkmail.

I tried sitting at the end of my driveway with my hands stretched out in front of me, palms up, but the mailman ignored my hands. Found my hands to be a less than satisfying container.

My hands are a fine container, I told the mailman, but he wouldn’t believe me. He kept my letters and my junk mail in a satchel that he eventually decorated with my name and a crudely drawn portrait of me.

That doesn’t even look like me, I said, but he laughed.

I tried digging a hole but there was never any mail inside it

I found many things inside the hole. A puppy with long ears that it got tangled in. A family of voiceless toads that made me feel quite sad. This was the beginning of my toad-saving phase. I realized all the toads in the world had gone silent and needed someone to supply them with voice. I stood behind toads and attempted to voice what I felt their concerns were:

These lily pads are not sturdy enough

I wish birds wouldn’t try to eat me

There are never enough flies. I wish all the other toads would quit eating all the flies or that maybe scientists would speed up fly reproduction and there would be an abundance of flies and this would decrease competitiveness because isn’t competitiveness ruining society and especially ruining the way toads relate to one another?

I tried saying all these things for toads, but no one would listen. They didn’t care as much about toads as I cared about toads, so I eventually let the whole thing go.

I also gave up on receiving mail in the hole that I dug. It filled with rain and trash and mud and I don’t even remember exactly where the hole is located anymore.

The frosting guarantees there will be a note

The frosting says it does not care about mailboxes and any receptacle will do and it promises to find the very best receptacle and I try to believe it. Life is a series of trying to believe. Those toads. Oh those toads.

Brandi Wells is Managing Editor of The Black Warrior Review and Web Editor at Hobart. She is the author of Please Don’t Be Upset (Tiny Hardcore Press) and Poisonhorse (Nephew, An imprint of Mudluscious Press). Her fiction can be found in Salamander, Mid-American Review, 14 Hills and many other journals.