by Michael C. Hansen
At first, Gladys thought she was simply hearing things, but there it was again! A faint muffled voice coming from inside her refrigerator.
“Gladyth, Gladyth! Hey, Gladyth! Over here!”
A little frightened, she stood up from the kitchen table, leaving her game of solitaire to investigate. Pulling her pink cotton robe around her, she crossed the cracked linoleum towards the pastel yellow Kenmore.
The voice continued, “Yeth! Thath it! Jutht a little clother!” She hesitated, her fingers wrapped around the cold silver door handle. “Come on, don’t you wanna thee whath inthide?” Mustering all her courage, Gladys pulled open the refrigerator door and peered inside. The dim light flickered on revealing the fridge’s scant contents. At first nothing looked out of the ordinary, until she spied the chocolate cake she’d made for her grandson’s birthday. To her horror she saw that the frosting had taken on human features and was smiling at her.
“Ah, Gladyth! How nithe to thee you again”. Flecks of chocolate frosting spewed from its lips as it spoke, speckling her pink robe with little brown spots. “Why you look much thlimmer, that new diet hath been working! How about treating yourthelf to a big old thlice of me! You know you detherve it!” Gladys screamed and slammed the door. She ran into the living room and ducked behind the sofa.
“I must be dreaming!” She said to herself “Yes, that’s it! I’m dreaming!” Then to her dismay, she heard a chorus of tiny voices from the other side of the couch.
“Well, that wasn’t very polite. After all, he only paid you a compliment”. Gladys peered over the faded plaid sofa to the small dish of mints that lay on the coffee table. Each mint had a tiny face in the center, each one smiling happily at her. “He’s right, too.” They all said in unison. “You deserve a little sugar, come on, how about it? Don’t we look tasty?”
Gladys grabbed the dish and flung it through her window, shattering the glass.
“Leave me alone! Stop talking to me!” She retreated to her bedroom. Lying on her bed, with a down pillow over her head, she managed to block out any sound. No voices, just sweet silence. After awhile she peeked out from beneath the down pillow and glanced around the room. She was alone.
“What a nightmare!” she said, and sat up. Then, out of the corner of her eye, she noticed the pages of the fashion magazine on her night stand slowly turning one by one. It stopped on one particular page, featuring the fancy two piece swimsuit she was planning to order. Once she lost a few more pounds that is. She looked closer at the photo, the palm trees behind the model were moving! The model pointed at her and laughed,
“You don’t think you’re going to try and fit in this do you? My dear, you are much too old. Look at that belly! You’ve got to have rock hard abs to wear something like this, the kind you can bounce a coin off of”. The swimsuit model then flicked a quarter at her abdomen, it ricocheted off and hit Gladys square in the eye. The model began to laugh hysterically.
Gladys once again ran into her living room and looked around for a place to hide. Just then, the television blinked on.
“That’s right tubby, you need to lose some weight!” Said Roy, one of the stars of the popular television series “Buddies”
“I agree, you put the ‘gross’ in ‘grossly obese’,” his co-star Raquel chimed in.
"Oh no you didn’t!" The studio laughed and cheered and began to chant her name.
“Gla-dys! Gla-dys...” She heard the tiny voices of the mints join in, they were flying in through the window and hovered around her head like a swarm of bees. She swatted at them, but they nimbly moved out of her reach. “Gla-dys! Gla-dys!..” From her bedroom, the fashion magazine came galloping out, using its pages as crude legs. The photo of the swimsuit model rode on top of it. She too joined in the chant. “Gla-dys! Gla-dys!...” The mints and magazine had backed her into a corner, she slumped down against the wall. Somehow, the cake had escaped the fridge and was hopping towards her. “Gla-dyth! Gla-dyth...”
They all closed in around her and changed their chant to a frantic “Eat! Eat! Eat! Eat! Eat! Eat! Eat! Eat!” The cake jumped up on her chest and the mints swarmed in closer. And as the magazine began to dance on her head, she managed one last scream and went limp.
“So what happened” asked the chief inspector. The coroner looked up from the woman’s body.
“It’s difficult to say, but the cause of death is most likely malnutrition. Look at her body, she’s practically emaciated” The inspector grimaced.
“Hmmph! It just doesn’t make sense. The neighbors reported her screaming, and the window is broken out. There doesn’t seem to be any other signs of a struggle."
“Its possible she entered a state of hallucination just before her heart gave out, who knows what she saw?” the coroner pulled a white sheet over the corpse. One of the other officers called the chief into the kitchen.
“Hey, chief take a look at this, isn’t that our stiff?” The young officer pointed inside the refrigerator. The chief walked over and looked down.
“Well I’ll be...” An image of the woman’s face stared at them from the frosting of the chocolate cake.
“Does it look to you like she’s smiling?”
Copyright © 2004 by Michael Hansen