The Short Story

A short story by Richard Brooksby, 1990-03-02.

It could be said that the man had had his cake and eaten it. The crumbs of his labour were, in fact, still in evidence on the plate of his soul, and the marzipan had stained his fingers yellow: yellow for envy.

Envy, yes, but a sort of angry envy which boiled his blood like a kettle might boil water (or some other liquid) by convection from a set of heating elements. Yes, the elements had played their part in his cake destruction too, for it had been sunny that day in May.

It was May, and it was sunny, and the cake was on the table -- that great stone table in the gardens of the Armitage in Vienna. It was also 1983, that glorious year of stirring manufacture and very sound music. The Fly had just hit the screen, like a beleaguered currant on its way to the oven, via the twin stages of sifting, mixing, and pouring.

It had been a hard year, he mused. 1945 has been a glorious year of stirring manufacture and very sound music, but it has not been sunny on the 14th of May in 1945, and there had been no cake due to the machinations of certain members of parliament. They were all dead now, he thought, and I wasn't born until much much later.

The knife appeared in his consciousness like a piece of sharpened steel with a handle. There was no question about it, in fact, there was no question about cakes either, and maybe that was for the best. The man didn't like questions -- too many of them had answers that were either affirmative or to do with colours.

The knife appeared in his consciousness like a piece of wood. There was something wrong...