Sofia licked the frosting from her fingertips. Two minutes ago, the cupcake had been there in her hands, borne of a strange conflagration of flour and sugar and god knows what else. Eggs. Probably eggs. And butter.

Animals in the yard. The farm fields. Stinking and eating and being there for no reason other than for us to eat them or their young or their milk, which was created for their young. Their babies in our stomachs. And the baby’s mothers and fathers on our grills.

But the cupcake and the egg. The egg inside the cupcake and the baby inside the egg. Not yet a baby but just the chance of life. Maybe something else. Possibility and virtue combined into one. Honest and devoid of vitality. Nothing but potential.

Cracked and broken. Mixed and beaten and stirred. Baked in an oven. Into something tasty and disposable. To be expelled from our bodies. The bad parts. The good, absorbed. Until we died. Until Sofia died. Not from the cupcake. But from life. That subtle killer we all fall victim to somewhere along the way.

The sugar rushed through her body. A drug of everyday life. The most addictive, some say. But she savored it. Bathed in it. Reveled in it. For that one instant. Until it was gone. Metabolized and spent.

More. She wanted more. She had to have more. But as she reached for another, her hand found only air, and she tumbled headfirst into the hollow emptiness of the cupcake pan. Darkness surrounding her as the world turned from day to night. A microscopic existence, where mantises towered like great mammoths and the amoeba circle like a swarm of goldfish in the sky.

Where did you go when you stopped believing in the story? In the part where you had a role to play? When you suckled your fingertips like those baby cows and their mothers’ teats, eager to consume before the farmer came and stole your lifeblood for himself?

The same place everyone else went, when they started to be the person they were. Which is who they always were and never would be. Sofia found herself there. In the nothing of time. Waiting for the clock to start again and for her body to grow large so she could eat another cupcake.

But they were gone, the cupcakes. And she was here. Or there. Somewhere. Wherever the sun shines and the day breaks and the sky falls on a winter’s eve. Sparkling like diamonds in the snow, blinding eyes and warming hearts. Peppermint and icicles. Like frozen fire in a Christmas hearth.

A crumb on the table. Speckled in strawberry icing.

Plucked like a flower. Into Sofia’s mouth. As she consumed her world.


This super-short story was written flow-of-consciousness while at my private writing retreat in a cabin in the woods in September of 2018.

Frosting: A Free Surreal Short Story

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