Monday, October 12, 2015

Custard with Sprinkles: New Flash Fiction.

Custard with Sprinkles

By David Hartley Mark

            Benedictine kept Sebastian waiting far too long at the Cozy Corner Soft Custard Stand in the Fox Trot Mall. They had been supposed to get their regular Wednesday afternoon treat: one Small Chocolate Cup with Rainbow Sprinkles for Benedictine; one Large Vanilla Cone with Chocolate Sprinkles for Sebastian.

            But Benedictine never came. She stayed home, coloring her hair cherry-red, using Kool-Aid. She had not called Sebastian, having forgotten that it was Wednesday, because her plastic watch had stopped after she got it wet, doing the dishes at the Ascension Chapel Soup Kitchen where she volunteered.

            Sebastian was angry. He called her on his qPhone 12. It was new, and he used a picture of them together as his screensaver. They had been in one of those costume-type photography studios. In the picture, he was wearing a pirate hat and black vest with gold trim, and was carrying a plastic cutlass. She was wearing a low-cut polka-dot bodice that showed her small bosom to good advantage, along with a silver eyepatch and red-and-white bandanna that looked like a napkin from an Italian restaurant. Sebastian had sprayed his hands and body with germkiller before putting the much-used clothing on.

            “Why didn’t you come to Cozy for our custard?” Sebastian asked Benedictine on the phone, struggling to keep from sounding angry. She hated it when he got angry.
           
            “Oh, is it Wednesday already? I thought it was Monday,” said Benedictine, knowing that it made Sebastian upset when she forgot the days of the week, but happy to hint at how selfish he was, planning on eating custard while she was down at the Ascension Army, washing dishes to help the Poor and the Helpless.

            “You know perfectly well what day it is,” said Sebastian, “you can see it on the watch I bought you.”

            “Oh, that old thing?” asked Benedictine, “I got it wet, and it’s broken.” She giggled to herself: I wish I could see Sebastian’s face. (Teasing him was a great pleasure of hers.)

            “Wet? What? Broken?” sputtered Sebastian, and his fists and toes began to curl and shake, as they did when he got angry. He clicked off the phone, upset that he couldn’t slam it shut, as one could with a decent public phone, as in days gone by. At her end, Benedictine shrugged and hung up her phone, which had a Hello Kitty sticker on the earpiece.

            Sebastian was furious. His face was turning purple, and his ears felt hot. To calm himself, he trained his gaze on The Cozy Corner. The Custard Man smiled at him, but Sebastian only shouted, “NO!” when the man offered him a free taste, forgetting that Sebastian was a regular customer.

Sebastian turned and ran angrily and blindly through the mall, narrowly missing a security guard on a Segway, darting around a fat man carrying many bags from Home Lowes, and finally rushing out a side door into the parking lot. He seized open the door of his Mini, twisted the key, and scorched tires out the side gate of the parking lot, blasting “Why Does Love Got to Be So Sad?” by Eric Clapton at top volume from his Valkyrie Speakers, and deliberately squashing a hapless, hungry cardinal that was hopping towards a slow caterpillar.

            When he got to Benedictine’s house, he parked the car around the corner, got his set of Bansu Steak Knives that he had purchased from the Family Shopping Channel from the trunk, and tucked the genuine mahogany carrying case under his arm. He tip-toed to the side door and let himself in, using the key that Benedictine had given him in calmer days.

            As he climbed the basement stairs to the kitchen where Benedictine was finishing up with the Kool-Aid treatment, he heard her singing “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina,” from Madonna’s Greatest Hits on her CD player.

            To his credit, Sebastian was very neat about it, and it was only a small thumbprint of blood, easily overlooked, that he left on the Butcher Block sideboard, that eventually caused the jury to find him guilty and send him to the Lethal Injection Gurney at Lone Owl Prison.

Furthermore, he had scrubbed the walls, floor, and counters of the kitchen very thoroughly, cleaning off as much of Benedictine’s shredded bits and pieces as he was able to find, after he wiped, polished and re-sharpened the Bansu Steak Knife Set and replaced them lovingly into the mahogany carrying case.

The next day, he treated himself to a large vanilla custard cone at the Cozy Corner Custard Stand in the Fox Trot Mall, with Rainbow Sprinkles, rather than Chocolate, in Honor and Memory of Benedictine.

He was just finishing it up when the Police arrived, guns drawn, and ordered him to raise and drop.

Before he did so, Sebastian patted his lips with a paper napkin inscribed,

A LITTLE CUSTARD EVERY DAY MAKES LIFE GO THE BEST POSSIBLE WAY.
COZY CORNER CUSTARD CARES ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT.
WE LOVE OUR CUSTOMERS:
PLEASE DISPOSE OF PROPERLY.


“After all,” he said to the sergeant putting the handcuffs on his cone-sticky fingers, “Benedictine should have called me. I really, really wanted my custard.”