May 13, 2010

The Last Brown Beard

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:02 pm by changisme

I went to a writing club with Jon’s friends. People basically just wrote… and since I had nothing planned, I just looked around the coffee shop and wrote what I saw.

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The Last Brown Beard

Once upon a time, there is a cookie in the counter. On the
rim, there is smooth chocolate coating, and the center was the most finely
sprinkled sugar frosting in a bed of the most perfect shade of gold any terrestrial
pastry could ever have. The cookie is the last of its kind, the Brown Beards.
All around the Last Brown Beard, scones are groaning, biscottis are wheezing,
sandwiches are twitching. All the sound and smells are trapped inside the
smooth curvature of the glass counter.

Every few hours, the Last Brown Beard sees a tea towel with
brown spots sweeping across the counter top, taking with it, drops of brown liquid,
big or small, dark or light. Again and again, images from the outside intrude
with no inhibition. Depending on where you look through the glass, the beams in
the ceiling or pictures on the walls are bent in different ways.

The Brown Beards are a tasty bunch. Everyone remembered the
salivating child and his smudgy fingers. The Last Brown Beard probably won’t
last too long. He knows little about the smell of air outside; his memories are
saturated by how it feels to lean against other Brown Beards.

There was the hour when he remembered the piercing streak of
light burned his face, the Brown Beards on top of him were lifted away. He suddenly
felt so naked, like a beast suddenly losing all its fur, or like a sleeping
child losing its down comforter. All his brothers are dragged away to meet
their destiny. The thought of being broken and crumbled made his heart tremble.

He sees a slice of banana bread accidentally losing a
corner, her sticky crumbs relentlessly holding on. The Last Brown Beard forgot
how long he stared at the severed corner before he fell asleep. When he woke
up, she was no longer there. There were a few crumbs lying in that tray, but he
can’t be sure if that was from her at all.  

He remembers when the Second Last Brown Beard was his only
companion. He remembers the touch of his back. He wondered if his rim would
leave a mark on the back of the Second Last because of the way Second Last was
slanted onto him. Once and once again, he tried to imagine the shape of that
chocolate mark, and felt an inexplicable zeal. When he leaves, I will be able
to find out, the Last Brown Beard thought, I will pay attention when he is
lifted up, he thought.

Song after song, played from beginning to end outside the
glass dome, the lyrics are muffled, but the tunes are clear. The last Brown
Beard’s thoughts wondered from the future to the past, from hinself to the
others. When the swift metal tong blew in like a hurricane, he almost jumped.
In a crumb of a second, he lost the touch of his last brother, nothing,
absolutely nothing is pressing him down anymore, except his own gravity. The
worst is that he didn’t quite see the back of the Second Last. Damn the
backlight, DAMN IT! He tried parsing his memories of the last moment. Was there
even a mark at all? The harder he tried, the more he couldn’t distinguish
between what he really saw from what he imagined. Now he will never know. Some
stubby finger is breaking the Second Last  into pieces at this very moment. No one else
would care about the back, the unseemly back side of the Second Last Brown
Beard.

The wax paper is so vast, with nothing to touch. The wax
paper will always support you, he thought, it will never fail you, with its big
big love, never crumbling, and never leaving. And yet, the wax paper is so
white, never changing, regardless of the existence of the Last Brown Beard. He
will never leave a mark on it. Isn’t that what the wax is for? The Second Last
Brown Beard was his last chance and he blew it. Now all he has left is
something that is both everything and nothing.

What is going to happen when the tong comes down again? He
wonders what kind of pain it will be. Piercing pain first probably, especially
when the metal edges bites into the smooth chocolate. Then it’s probably just
dull pain, the heavy predictable pain like when women are about to have their
period. All that pain is his last hope of feeling his composition, all that
delicate ratios of flour, butter and sugar, that specific degree of crispiness defining
the recipe, This time his thought will not wonder, he will pay attention.

At last, a bright flash of metal, the tong came at last. The
Last Brown Beard sinks into an overwhelming rush of neurotic stimulation. He
feels all of this, and stops thinking.