“Good morning, Regina. What’re you up to?”
“Damn it. Damn it. Damn it!” Regina shrieks, her arms fiddling over something. Sometimes I’m not sure why I even bother with this woman. It’d be a lot easier to do what she says and kill mindlessly, but I’d rather get a good laugh out of her antics. The only problem with that is that her antics aren’t always funny. They’re just sad.
“You uh… cooking some breakfast for yourself,” I ask, the sound of furious whisking pouring into my ears. “Is there anything you want me to help with?”
“Aren’t you supposed to be evil and bitter!?” Regina turns her head to me, her face seething with anger. I always have to remind myself that I’m the demon around this woman.
“Yeah, but I just woke up. It’s gotta set in first.”
“Whatever,” Regina spits, returning to her whisking.
I rub the drowsiness out of my eyes and begin to notice splatters of batter on the stove and the counter, even on some of the walls. Next to Regina is a stack of pancakes that’s ready to topple over, syrup soaking the stack from top to bottom. And for whatever reason, there’s a stagnant scent of garlic burnt into the air.
“Regina, what’re you doing?”
“What does it look like I’m doing!?”
“I really don’t know. Can you please just tell me? I’m not awake enough to be in sarcastic asshole mode.”
“Fine!” Regina swings her body with aggression and a hint of flare, her blouse twirling with her. “Last night, I had a dream. Not the nightmares that I usually have, but a dream. A pleasant dream at that.”
“What was the dream about?”
“I was with my mother by the countryside, in a field of beautiful marigold flowers that had a golden glow of their own. I was having a nice picnic with her under the sunset and we were eating pancakes, only pancakes, and they were covered in the richest and gooey syrup that I’ve ever had the pleasure of tasting, but what made it irresistible was the tangy taste of garlic in the pancakes.”
“Yes,” Regina says, flipping her unkempt hair to her side. “It was the strangest thing. There was no sign of garlic in the syrup or physical trace of it in the pancakes, but the taste was there and it was wonderful. The slight zest that it offered complemented the sweetness and made my tastebuds lose their minds. It was a taste that I could never forget. Ever since then, I’ve been trying to replicate that same exact taste.”
“How long have you been trying?”
“For about… seven hours.”
“What!? It’s only eight in the morning.”
“Then that means I woke up at one in the morning,” Regina responds, her eyes squinting with sudden resentment. “I know that demons are capable of counting. Maybe you should try it sometime?”
“It’s too early for your shenanigans, Regina. Don’t you have work today?”
“Called in sick. Plus, I’m getting tired of cooking those recipes. They’re all so safe and uninteresting. It’s what you’d expect people to eat. What’s the sense of going out to eat to get food you can cook yourself?”
“Because they can’t cook it themselves?”
“Exactly. Do you know why they can’t cook? It’s because they’re lazy failures who couldn’t be bothered to put their palettes to the test. Put some hot sauce on your pancakes, some soy sauce on your eggs. I’m sick of people being so damn boring,” She complains, turning around to resume her whisking. “It’s not hard to be adventurous with the foods that you eat. I don’t get why people are so basic where I work.”
“People are basic because all you cook are breakfast foods. You work at a diner that’s slapped on the side of a freeway. You actually thought people would go there for high-class food?”
“You liked it well enough…”
“That doesn’t make it high class! And what idiot would put soy sauce on a pancake?”
“An idiot willing to try something new! Now taste one of these pancakes,” She screams, pointing the whisk at the comical stack of pancakes. I want to tell her how stupid this is, but I think it’d be a lot easier to play along.
With low expectations, I march over to the counter and get a closer look at the pancake stack. The smell is wretched. It’s syrup and garlic smashing together, burning me down to my throat. It’s nauseating enough to be classified as a lethal weapon.
“You want me to eat one of these?”
“Yes!” Regina responds passively, whisking her batter to no end. I take one last whiff and the smell makes my nostrils shrink. Whatever this girl is tormented enough. If eating one will make her happy then it’s the least I can do.
“Fine. I’ll eat one. Can you pass me a fork, Regina?”
“Just use your hands.”
“I’m not putting my hands on one of these. There’s even random pieces of garlic stuck in it, I’ll never get the smell off my hands.”
“What’re you complaining for? You literally came from hell. Now stop whining and eat the food.” As much as I want to rip her throat out, I know it’s not worth it.
“Fine. I’ll eat it, but I’m rubbing my hands on everything in your room afterwards.”
“Whatever, Altia. I like the smell anyways.” Regina mumbles, sounding unfazed by my threat. I set my hand under the flap of the top pancake and my ears are plagued with the sounds of two sticky objects coming apart. I even hear the slight pop of air when I get the pancake up. My hands are already drenched in syrup.
As quick as I can, I take a good bite out of the pancake, the syrup soaking into my teeth, making them extremely sensitive to the toxic amount of sugar I’m exposing them to. The garlic taste sets on my tongue and a hideous stench travels down my throat. It’s bitter, sour, and tangy and overpowers the syrup entirely. The texture of the syrup makes me feel like I’m eating toxic waste. The flavor of the garlic is mixed in with the syrup, making it travel slowly down my throat. It’s so painful that I can’t help but gag.
I force it all down, knowing that spitting it up would only make it so much worse.
“So, how was it, Altia? Did you like it,” Regina asks, her eyes longing for approval?
“Is it supposed to hurt people?”
“Then it’s terrible.”
“Damn! I’ve tried all sorts of combinations, I’ve tried mincing up cloves, powdered garlic, slicing them, baking them before I add them into the batter and nothing is working. It’s always sweet and bitter clashing together, and this batter won’t even mix right!” Regina chucks the bowl behind her, the batter exploding on impact, covering the fridge, and spilling on the floor.
“Was that necessary?”
“It was either the bowl or someone’s face at work!”
“Regina, maybe you just need a catalyst of some sort. Something to meld the flavor into the food well. Or just don’t put garlic into a god damn pancake. I suggest you consider the second option.”
“A catalyst… but pancakes are such a simple food. If I add too much to the batter, it won’t cook right, and who’s to say what’ll act as the right catalyst. A liquid, a solid? Maybe even a gas…”
“How the hell are you going to put gas in batter? Regina, you really need to go to sleep. You’re more ridiculous than usual, but you need to clean this mess up first.”
“Why can’t you do it, Altia? You’re only in this world to do my bidding, so you’re going to be cleaning this up whether you like it or not,” Regina says, trying to act intimidating. I grab hold of her nose and start pushing on back on her forehead as hard as I can.
“This is your mess, so the only person who’s going to be cleaning is you!”
“Okay, okay! Let go! You’re gonna rip my nose off.” Sparing her of my wrath, I let her nose go, but keep my death stare fixated on her.
“Fine! I’ll clean up, but after I get my catalyst. What do you think I should use, Altia?”
“I don’t know, don’t use anything radioactive is my best advice.”
“Okay… Baking is a science so I can’t go overboard with my ingredients. I can’t use too much or too little of it, but I haven’t even decided what I’m going to use. Maybe I really should use soy sauce. The salt could complement the sweetness—”
“Do not put soy sauce in the pancakes or I’ll frame you for murder.”
“Alright! No soy sauce, sorry. But if no soy sauce, then what…?” Regina begins to scratch her chin, closing her eyes to travel her sea of thoughts.
“Don’t put gas in the batter either. It’s a shame I even—”
“What if I use marigold flowers? Like the ones I saw in my dream?”
“Flowers? Wouldn’t that be too thick for the batter?”
“No. I can add the petals on afterward. If I’m remembering correctly, they’re edible if you prepare them right.”
“One, do you know how to prepare them, and two, do you know where to find marigolds?”
“One, no. Two, no. But there’s one thing I can try.”
“And what would that be?” Regina doesn’t respond, instead, she walks behind me with a weird smile on her face. “What are you—”
Suddenly, a blunt pain starts popping at the back of my neck, rapidly growing in intensity. I lose my ability to talk and start coughing, my purple smog popping out against my will. On each cough it spreads further out, the force continuing to pester me. The smog continues to spread in front of me, gradually becoming thicker, spreading through the air. My vision is almost entirely purple.
Before it gets any worse, I throw my elbow back, hitting the asshole causing this.
“What the hell, Regina!? What’d you do th—that for,” I ask, still spitting up smoke.
“I can’t believe that worked! Now give a pancake a try. Your demon smoke will act as a perfect catalyst.”
“Ugh, you’re too busy dying. I’ll try it myself.” Regina walks from behind and waves some of the smoke out of the air, giving me enough visibility to see the pancake stack. Now it’s covered in a deep purple haze that I have no clue how to feel about it.
Before I can say anything, Regina takes a bite out of the top pancake, not stopping to gag or be disgusted. She chews with no qualms and swallows with a straight face.
“I just realized I never tasted any of the pancakes I made. I just thought they looked too ugly to eat… But this. This pancake. It tastes terrible.”
“Slightly overcooked, too much sugar, bitter from the garlic but somehow manages to have a spicy kick to it, and it’s soggy from the syrup and demon smoke you drenched it in. I guess it’s more of a fog than smoke but whatever.”
“I—I drenched it in!?”
“Yes, Altia. You and I’m pretty sure that your fog gave it the sour taste because you don’t want to brush your teeth, or maybe it would be the spicy taste because of your hot ass breath. I really can’t tell. Maybe I can’t taste it because of my immunity to your poison, but if anyone else eats this, they’ll die, so we’ll never know. The taste is interesting though, I’ll give it that.”
“I h—hate you!”
“You hate me? What for? You’ve gotta give me some credit. At least I didn’t put soy sauce in the pancakes. That has to count for something, right?”
Hi! I post on this website for a chance to share my stories with the world. I’ve been writing for the past 6 years, learning more about creative writing to better my writing skills. My hope is to make a lot of friends here and grow as a writer. Feel free to reach out to me if you’d like.