Death by Chocolate

Thank you Muffin Lady 0o for the oven's pun.

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"Kit, what are you doing?" asked Carmela, sitting down at the table proudly sporting a Santa hat of epic size, her voice filled with poorly disguised laughter.

I coughed as the flour exploded and turned to glare at her, though I must say, I think the effect was slightly minimized due to the fact that I now resembled some sort of demented Hispanic snowman.

She didn't bother to hide it anymore.

"What's it look like I'm doing?" I asked, making a rather valiant attempt to get the powder out of my hair.

Valiant but failed.

"It looks like you're trying to make a snowman in the middle of our kitchen."

I suppose it rather did, as I just thought something quite similar to that remark, but Christopher K. Rodriguez would not go down with out a fight!

No, siree.

I glared at her, but then wilted as she cocked a plucked eyebrow.

"I'm making brownies." I muttered.

Would I be considered naive if I said that I honestly didn't know it was possible for my rather outlandish sibling to laugh that hard?

…or for that long.

…Oh come on! It's not that funny!

"What?" I ask defensively, "Am I not ALLOWED to make brownies in our kitchen?! Is it a certified NO BROWNIE zone?! Am I breaking a law stated in the Order of the Spatula or something?! Please, do tell." I fold my arms and look up expectantly at my sister.

She stopped laughing and stared.

Yes! Score one for Kit!

I can tell I'm grinning smugly to myself as the Cheerleaders of Kit's Head began to scream their approval.

"…You're serious?"

I glared again. "Of course I am." Then I paused, "Why would I joke about making brownies?" I ask in a bewildered tone.

"Well," she said, her tone suggesting she was still trying to wrap her (tiny) mind around the fact that I was making said brownies. "Wow." Her voice still has that stunned quality.

Then she grins.

"What are you going to do next, apply for your own TV show?" Carmela's face gets this sort of whimsical look to it, "Cooking with Kit, How to Destroy Your Kitchen in 30 Minutes or Less. I'd watch it everyday, man."

I had a horrible mental image of myself in a pink apron, which clashed horribly with the red polka-dotted dress I was in, mixing cake batter to the tune of awful cheery music whilst grinning at the camera in a way that looked rather painful, and resolved at that point to never get my own cooking show.

Ever.

And I think I just gave myself nightmares for the rest of my life, too.

Mama won't like having to pay for my therapy.

"No." I told her, trying to look as macho as one can whilst mixing brownie batter—

That's alliterative!

Brownie batter brownie batter brownie—

Right.

Sorry.

"I don't intend to have a cooking show." I looked down my macho nose at her. "I do however, intend to bake these things for 27 minutes in my preheated oven, let them sit for two to four minutes or until cool to the touch, then cut them into squares about two inches by two inches, put them in a nice box, and wrap them."

So there.

Carmela stared.

And stared.

And guess what?!

She stared some more.

"Dare I ask why?" She asked in a tone that I had a feeling meant that she wasn't quite sure that she wanted to know.

I stalled for time before giving the answer that would need to be made up on the spot by cracking an egg and plopping it into the ucky brown mess that I proudly called brownie batter.

Brownie batter brownie batter brownie—

Er, you get the point.

"Because…" I couldn't think of a good because.

Dang.

"Uh, do I really need a reason to make brownies?"

I walked over to the table, leaving white powdery footsteps with every foot fall, and wafted the bowl under her nose.

"See? Mmmmh, chocolate. Who on this earth honestly needs a reason to make this?"

I appeared cool and unflustered on the outside, but inside my male ego complex could not take much more of this with out being permanently damaged. Not only do I get caught whilst failing pathetically in an attempt to make brownies, but then being forced to explain my not too manly motives?

I can't do it. Call me what you will, but I simply can't.

Carmela grinned and leaned across the table as I added a cup and a half of water to the lump of batter, which seemed to be hardening with every passing minute…

"Why no, Kit, you don't need a reason to make brownies."

I don't know whether it was the creepy smile, the creepy tone of voice, or the creepy green and purple ensemble she was sporting today, but something was creeping me out.

Alright, I admit it.

I, Christopher K. Rodriguez, am so scared of my older sister that I could just about wet my pants.

But I won't, because that's kind of nasty and last time I checked I wasn't six years old.

Happy now?

"I'll just have to call Nita so she can have the pleasure of witnessing this once in a lifetime experience. I think it's a Christmas miracl—

"NO!" I shout, whipping around too fast and thus ended up sprinkling the floor with brown blobs of batter, while also managing to stick my elbow in the butter.

Oh for the love of Aunt Sally…

Carmela grinned the most maniacal grin I have ever seen her grin in quite some time.

"So, Kit," Carmela said, still grinning that frightening grin of all grins ever grinned. "Why is Nita, your bestest friend in the whole wide world, not allowed to see these-" she looks at the bowl that I have set down on the table to get milk, "…brownies, if you can call them that?"

She picked up a spoon and poked the batter.

Alright, she tried to poke the batter. It just kind of stood there, then there was a little blurping noise and the spoon sank into the chocolate flavored concrete.

"Ooookay." She mutters. "I think that could possibly be a biological hazard, aren't you supposed to be against that sort of thing?"

She pulls her eyes away from my Brownie Blob of Doom and looks at me, head cocked and a sweet smile on her face.

"Anyway, do tell."

I sat down at the table across from her and tried my best to look innocent and not at all like I was trying desperately with every fiber of my being to avoid sibling induced humiliation.

"Carmela, Carmela, Carmela," I begin in a patronizing tone. "Can't a guy just act on the urge to make delicious desserts with out being interrogated about his motives?"

Delicious desserts, delicious desserts, delicious desserts—

I really need to stop that.

I stare at her as she gives me a skeptical look, awaiting the confirmation that she believed my method of avoiding her question.

Not a lie. Wizards don't lie.

It's an avoiding mechanism.

"Kit, that load of dung was about as convincing as a chocolate covered four year old vehemently denying that they even came near the cookie jar."

Then, to my utter and complete totally justified horror, Carmela gets a thoughtful expression.

"Well, sense it would take a near miracle to get little Kit back into the kitchen after the Pancake Incident—

I winced

"What event could possibly be important enough to force little Kit to slave over a hot stove?"

Another evil grin and I can't help but wonder whether she takes classes for this or something.

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I shuddered.

"Is it some sort of event that's coming up?" She asks, toying with the freakishly oversized Santa hat on her head.

I feel as if ice had just been poured into my stomach.

"But what event could possibly warrant giving gifts of a culinary nature?"

My heart is pounding so hard that it can probably be heard miles away.

"Could it be…" She gets this whole conspiratorial sort of attitude going. "A certain holiday…"

No Carmela, it isn't, in fact, I have no clue what you are talking about.

Brownies, never heard of them. What are these brownies of which you speak?

"Possibly…" She's toying with the Colossal Hat of Santa, and then she gives one more maniacle smirk.

"Christmas?"

My head drops and I curse quietly to myself.

"Brownies for Nita this year, eh?"

"Possibly." I mutter, determinedly avoiding the answer yes.

For Christopher K. Rodriguez will NOT go down with out a fight.

"That's so cute!"

"Maybe, maybe not." I defend myself.

My sister attacks me in a hug.

I can't breathe.

But she won't release me until I hug her back. I awkwardly put my arms around her whilst I simultaneously gasp and splutter for breath.

She finally takes pity on my poor soul and releases me.

"So, you're really going to give them to her?" she asks, looking as if she's about to burst into tears from the sheer cute-nes of it all.

It isn't cute.

I don't make 'cute' brownies.

I make manly ones that are all bulked up on fudge.

"No, Carmela, I'm not," I mutter sarcastically.

"Awww, why not?" she pouts.

And they call me dense.

This is just sad.

"Yes, Carmela, I am. I'm attempting to mix the brownies, then I'll attempt to bake the brownies, then I'll attempt to wrap the brownies, and if at the end of the whole ordeal I'm still alive, then yes, I'm really going to give them to her."

And I find comfort in the fact that I don't think I will be, and thus will be saved from humiliation.

Though my tombstone will be rather pathetic.

Here lies Christopher K. Rodriguez

Loving son, brother, and friend

Bested by brownies

May he someday get the butter out of his hair.

Because that's just nasty.

Carmela once more peers into the bowl. The bowl in which we've now lost many assorted kitchen utensils in a futile attempt to mix it.

She then looks up at me.

"Now what on earth did that poor girl do to you?"

I glare.

Though now that I think about it, I probably don't look very intimidating with my apron, the bowl tucked neatly into the crook of my arm as I use all of my masculine strength to move the hammer handle we've now employed to stir the mess, my flour covered face, and the butter in my hair.

I probably look more like a deranged male version Martha Stewart.

Ick.

Though I must say, I do feel remarkably like an icky old house wife.

Maybe I should buy a few cats and ugly afghans and give in.

My poor poor therapist.

Hello, my name is Kit Rodriguez, and I'm an icky old house wife with cats and afghans.

What's that? Yes, I do just happen to be of the male gender!

Then how am I an icky old housewife with cats and afghans, you say?

…I honestly don't know, isn't that why I'm here?

My future isn't a bright one.

"Hey Kit!" calls Carmela, her eyes shining with that 'I just had an idea' sort of shine.

I'm immediately skeptical and hold up the bowl containing my brownie brick as an extra safety precaution.

"…Hey what?"

"What kind of bowl is that?"

"Glass why?"

"Glass is oven safe, you're never going to be able to pour that into a pan, so why don't you stick the whole thing in your pre-hated oven?"

I continue to eye her suspiciously, but I don't see any way in which I can be harmed, maimed, or in any way disabled in the execution of this plan, so I decide to act upon it.

We shove the brownies into the oven, though they were already kind of bubbling.

"How long does it need to cook?"

I check the cookbook.

That's right, cookbook.

Nita better appreciate this very much, I didn't even try to use a box mix. She means that much to my poor little heart.

…That and the box I would have used if I were going to use a mix, not that I ever considered it, was used by Mama last weekend.

I set the timer on the oven and ask the oven politely to beep when the brownies are ready.

Well baby, if there's anyone that can turn me on, it's you.

I sit down with a deep suffering sigh.

Momma's brownies are always really good. How come I had to take after dad when it came cooking?

"Because, you're manly like that," answered Carmela, picking at her nails.

I stare at her, my eyes wide. How did she know my innermost thoughts?

I always knew she was an alien!

"Mind reader," I hiss.

So that's how she knew why I was making my brownies.

"So where are you really from?"

"The same place you are, kid. And no, not a mind reader, you just happen to be muttering quite loudly to yourself."

But I've stopped listening.

The same place, she says.

I'm immediately insulted!"

"Are you implying that I'm an alien too?!"

Carmela stares at me.

And stares.

And stares.

You'd think that I had said something stupid.

Then she stares some more.

"Because I'm not," I defend myself. Then I grin, "Are you a Rirhait?!"

She blinks.

Then it hits me.

I understand.

My metaphorical light of realization shines and I am bright.

"You're Sker'et's sister!"

She shakes her head.

"No, I'm gonna let Mamma explain this one." She is about to say something else, but the doorbell rings.

"Can you get that?" she asks.

"Sure."

I think she's still in a daze over the fact that I've discovered her secret. I must admit, she has a really good disguise.

I leave the kitchen, trying to ignore the increasingly pungent smell coming from the oven, to answer the door.

I open it and I am shocked.

Very shocked.

It's as if somebody dumped me in a pool and threw in a plugged in toaster.

That's how shocked I am.

Because water and electricity don't mix.

And neither do Nita and unfinished Christmas brownies.

"Hey!" then she takes in my appearance. "Wow, did you get into a battle with your kitchen and loose or something?"

"Of course not," I laugh, slinging an arm around my friend's shoulders, turning her away from the entrance to the house.

I hear Carmela banging around the kitchen, probably cleaning up at top speed and getting the stuff ready to wrap the brownies.

"Then what happened?" she asks, trying not to laugh. Nita grabs a lock of my too-long hair. "Or are you just using butter as a new sort of gel."

"Uh, well," Loop hole, I need a loop hole, "Um…I was helping Mamma with dinner a while ago, I haven't cleaned up yet."

Not technically a lie, good job Kit.

I was helping Mamma with dinner, it was just two nights ago, I never specified when.

And I never exactly mentioned what I hadn't cleaned up from doing.

I think I deserve a pat on the back.

"Oh, well, I can come back later if you need."

I was about to answer, but Carmela decides to interrupt.

"Kit! I think the oven's on fire!"

"Crap."

I turn to Nita.

"Hold on a sec."

I run into the kitchen and the first thing I notice is a significant lack in the afore mentioned fire.

"There's no fire."

"I know," she grins.

"…why did you call me in if there's no fire? Is it some sort of Rirhait expression?"

She rolls her eyes at me.

"No, Kit. I told you that so you would come in with much emphasis on the speed. You're brownies are almost done, they just need a bit longer, if you want, I can keep your little girlfriend busy whilst you do your wrapping and such, okay?"

I stare at her.

"Why do you want to help me?" I ask, Carmela is the sort of person that you want to make sure has benevolent motives before trusting alone with your friend and a certain secret of yours.

"Because," her voice is exasperated, "I'm sick of you two sending googly eyes at each other and am willing to do quite a bit for you if it involves the ending of the googly eyes!"

Oh.

"Oh." I answer, "Well, thank you."

The oven begins to beep impatiently.

"Now, take care of those, and I'll go distract Nita."

She leaves and I turn to thank the oven for its part in my Great Brownie Scheme

Well, honey, I'd throw myself in a scrap heap if it would get you to talk about me they way you do about her.

I'm sure I have no idea who you're talking about.

I begin to pull the stupid things out and the moment of truth is upon us…

I wince.

Brownies were supposed to be brown, not black right?

I'm sure they are, it's in the name for crying out loud!

And weren't they supposed to smell of fudge and chocolate, not charcoal and assorted nasty burnt things?

I get a knife out of the drawer, and try to cut them. Maybe if I wrap them in pretty enough paper, she'll be distracted by the ugly smelly charcoal-ness of them all.

Girls like sparkly things; I can put a shiny bow on them, that'll do the trick.

Not likely, but a boy can dream, no?

I begin to chisel at the choco-lump, and the conversation at my door drifts in.

"He's…indisposed at the current time."

"How so?"

"Well, there was a bad incident with the stove, and some pancakes…"

"Oh, again? Is he alright?"

I know I shouldn't feel happy that she sounds concerned.

But I do.

And the Cheerleaders of Kit's Head once again scream their approval as I grin.

"Is there anything I can do?"

Yes actually, thank you for asking. You can go away.

Far far away for a few minutes.

Take a quick trip to Pluto and play on the ice and forget that awful smell coming from the general kitchen vicinity.

"What's that smell?"

Nothing, just a figment of your imagination.

"Um…Kit's shoes. Nasty things."

Oh gee thanks.

"So yeah, um…you can wait in the living room until Kit is, er, no longer indisposed."

There is a laugh. A pretty laugh that makes me want to laugh along with it and just have a fun little laughing party full of that particular laugh.

Nita's laugh.

"What made him decide to do a Pancake Incident repeat episode?"

"Uh…we were discussing where he came from, and you can imagine how that went…"

What does the stork have to do with anything?!

"Ah, I see."

The sound of footsteps fills the halls as Carmela leads Nita into the living room.

"I'll be right back."

She comes into the kitchen.

"Kit, why does it smell like something died in here?"

"Because something did."

"And what was that?" she asks alarmed, glancing around nervously as if the dead thing were going to grab her ankles.

"My ego."

She rolls her eyes and glares at me.

"Not cool little brother."

I continue trying to chisel, though it's not doing any good at all, "Can you help me with this?"

"Um…I think the only thing that can help you now would be a chainsaw, why don't you just wrap up the bowl of brownies. It's in a pretty little pan already."

Sadly enough, I think that's the only thing I'm going to be able to do with these.

"Alright, where did Momma put the wrapping paper?"

"In the hall closet, I'll get it for you."

She comes back in and I groan.

"That's not Christmas paper!"

"Well, it says 'Happy' on it. You want her to be happy, don't you/?"

"Her birthday was in August!"

"August, December, same thing, now wrap little brother."

She leaves and I stare sadly at the pink and green, rather hideous actually, happy birthday print paper.

No wonder that it was the only kind left.

Can anything else go wrong?

The bowl slipped from my hands and hit the floor, leaving a small mark.

Lets just now say that I shouldn't even think such thoughts without expecting bad things to happen. I talked the floor into putting the little piece that was gouged out back into place.

Then I look at the wrapping paper, and the tape, and the scissors.

I'm screwed.

"Carmela, you're homework's on fire!"

I hear her tell Nita to 'hang on a sec.' and she sprints into the kitchen.

"If that paper is in anyway, shape, or form harmed, I will have to shoot you! Repeatedly! You will be the human equivalent of Swiss cheese! You--

I merely grin.

She glares.

"What do you want?"

"Well," I didn't realize how embarrassing this would be. My male ego complex is cringing. "I need help wrapping."

"You big baby," she mutters, grabbing the paper rather forcefully out of my hands. She cuts a piece off that looks like it would fit, folds it neatly around my Brownie Brick—

Brownie brick, brownie brick, brownie brick—

Last time, I swear.

"Give me a piece of tape." She demands, glaring at me.

I hand the piece of tape over, fearing what would happen if I didn't.

"Give me another piece."

"Rude much?"

"Very much."

I hand her the tape and stick my tongue out at her, she grabs a bow and sticks it right in the middle. Then she grabs one of our fun little frosty the snowman name tags and puts it on the top. Carmela gives me a pen.

I write Nita in the to: spot, and Kit in the from: spot. And with that, my fate is sealed.

I haven't died in a horrific oven induced accident, though I don't think our oven would do much to intentionally do much to harm me. I haven't lost an arm in the battle to stir the stupid things.

I guess I'm really giving them to her.

Carmela grabs her homwork just to be safe, and smiles at me. I sigh and pick up the recently wrapped present.

…and it falls out of the bottom of the paper with a loud rip and hits the floor again.

Oh for the love of UNCLE Sally!

Carmela's laughing.

Hard.

Hysterically.

Other words that start with the letter H and have a similar connotation.

"I'm not wrapping that for you again." She laughs.

"Is everything alright?" Nita asks from our living room, "That sounded painful."

"We're fine." Carmela assures her, as she heads to the living room once more.

I hang my head and commence the wrapping of the gift, and in a few short minutes, you can't see the glass anymore. I step back to smugly admire my handiwork.

I cringe.

I have never seen anything wrapped worse in my life, save for my papa wrapping mama's gift.

I stick the bow on top and it looks marginally better.

And after all, it's the thought that counts.

I pick up the brownies and begin walking slowly to the door of the kitchen, bracing the bottom of the bowl with my hand.

I don't know why, but I feel remarkably like I'm walking to the gallows.

I enter the living room and Nita looks up, she smiles as she sees the gift.

"Whose birthday is it?"

It took all my effort not to drop the stupid things again.

A/N: Sorry, it's not my best, but towards the end, I just wanted to be done typing, thanks for not being frightened away by the length though! But this was the product of me being bored whilst Penguin One was stuck in Denver due to the giant snow storm that just missed us, and went to up Nebraska instead. This year we were stuck dreaming of a wet Christmas.

Well, I would love you dearly if you could leave just one review, even if it's just one word. I do accept anonymous ones too…