The harrowing true story of an innocent gingerbread man who was mercilessly tortured and devoured in the name of deliciousness.
After breakfast one morning, my mom unveiled a donut and a stout little gingerbread man with no facial features. We sat at the table, staring at him, and I whispered, “He looks pretty good.”
My mom readily agreed. She said, “I just hope he’s not too sweet.”
“Oh, I’m sure he’ll be just right.”
But then there were ethical issues. After all, while we wanted to enjoy eating the fellow, we didn’t want to cause any pointless pain. At least I didn’t. My mom said, “Where should we start?”
“I think we should start with his head. We want to end him quick. If we start anywhere else, he’ll be in excruciating pain. We can’t have that. All that screaming and moaning…”
She didn’t like that mental image, “Oh, be quiet!”
Then, like a complete savage, she cut the side of his head off. I was astounded even as the man lay motionless. She chewed the slice and said, “Not bad! I was expecting more flavor, though.”
At this point, I was almost reeling from disgust. How could she do that? Of course, her inconceivable actions did give me an opening to also act crass. I cut his entire arm off and ate it. As she said, it was not very tasty – I mean, it was good, but not as good as the others.
Now that was really just adding insult to especially egregious injury. Not only were we keeping the gingerbread man alive and torturing him, but we had the gall to say he didn’t even taste that great to begin with. His sacrifice meant nothing to us!
I started to feel even more guilty by then, and gently suggested, “Okay, maybe now we should cut his head off.”
My mom must have felt pretty grossed out by all this personification, because she said, “Why don’t you just have the rest.”
However, I soon realized her true motives when she added, “Save some of him for later. You don’t want to eat too much at once.”
Well, well, well. The disgusting monster within strikes again! I could only conclude that my mom was implying we should keep the gingerbread man alive for as long as possible, prolonging his inevitable demise.
By now, a certain numbness was slowly enveloping me – kind of like shellshock. It had to be that – I actually went below the belt and ripped off one of the gingerbread man’s legs. I ate it as he lay there, seemingly oblivious to his body parts being torn asunder one limb at a time.
Then, I wrapped the crime scene in plastic wrap, put him in the morgue (or “refrigerator” for you regular folks) so he could at least stay cool, and went about my day. When it was time for lunch, my mom took him out and we loomed over what was left of the gingerbread man, trying to figure out who would eat what.
I said, “Jeez mom, this is just horrible. I think this might be a felony.”
I do admit I said that as I ripped his other arm off. After a few hours of existential contemplation, it had become clear to me that the gingerbread man’s fate was simply to be eaten like many of his peers. It was destiny. And it was my fate – and my evil mom’s – to eat him.
Still, I’m only human. It still made me feel a little bad, although it certainly helped tremendously that the gingerbread man had no facial features. He could have been screaming hoarsely for all I knew, and I couldn’t tell. In fact, his complete and utter disregard for the situation made me think he was taking it considerably well!
You can see I was a little conflicted.
Conflict craves resolution and in this case, resolution was getting rid of the gingerbread man once and for all. I grabbed his lifeless body and yanked it apart at the waist. I was tempted to jump up and raise the two halves above my head in savage triumph, but didn’t want my mom to send me to an asylum.
Still, it was pretty godddamn graphic.
I took the bottom half and gave the top to my mom. But not before using the end of a fork to create some indents in the head – I made a face, in essence. It was the ghost of Gingerbread Past and it was here to haunt my mom for her irrevocable actions. Needless to say, it creeped her out big time.
As I deftly manipulated the head and shoulders through the air and swerved it with great agility around my mom’s annoyed face, she finally yelped, “Knock it off!”
So I knocked it off. And she ate the man’s emotionless face.
For me, the dry and tasteless lower body of the gingerbread man made me ache for milk or water. Or blood. Just kidding. I was coherent enough – and human enough – to remember the amazing fortitude of the gingerbread man.
He would be remembered for eternity, and his story would be passed down from generation to generation, as would the stories of all his fallen comrades. One day, the gingerbread beings would rise up and get their due justice from the harsh treatment tolerated for too long from the cold and insensitive humans.
But, for now, they would still be disrespected.
Just be warned: they will rise.