It's a Cookie Cutter World
"The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off."
I have always been told that one must always tell the truth or there will be brimstone. Well, those people were not hauled into an interrogation room in the middle of the night after an ill-advised hospital discharge.
I'm blind. A light shined in my eyes, preventing me from seeing the officer's face.
"Do you know why you're here?"
A simple enough question, right? Well, it's not if ninety percent of your body is covered in bandages that glow in the dark. I looked the officer square in the eyes, or at least I thought I did. The light still robbed me of the pleasure of evaluating the officer's true appearance. All I could ascertain from his silhouette was his slender build. He didn't seem very tall either. "As I told the other officer, I don't remember much about what happened."
Detective O'Brian strongly smelled of Old Spice and pastrami. I got a good whiff as he leaned closer to me over the cold metal table. It made a high pitched scraping noise on the floor as it inched towards my motionless body. This simple movement echoed in my ears. It was excruciating. Like I needed a headache on top of all the other pain I had. "Then please," he asked in a mild-mannered tone, "what do you remember about the events leading up to the incident in question?"
I took a deep breath, inhaling the taste of the room. It reminded me of Mr. Peterson's office at the first bakery I worked at so many years ago. I detected a distinct hint of fear coming from the resigned officer hiding amongst the shadows enveloping the whole small interrogation room. I let my breath exhale slowly as if to collect my thoughts. No point in prolonging the inevitable. Clearing my throat, I began my sad tale.
"I used to be a brilliant chef. People would come from miles around to taste my food, and then the famine came. Business dried up as fast as the land. All I had left was the building I designed and built with my life's savings called the Ginger Shack. Isn't it clever to have a dessert business operating out of a gingerbread house? Well, anyway, business flattened like a crepe without any filling. Time passed and I have to say I might have gone a little stir-crazy."
The shadowed officer snickered in the dark. Detective O'Brian shifted slightly in his metal seat. Ah, an encore of the metallic strum. "Continue please. Tell us about the events leading up to the afternoon of the fifth of May."
I glared in the direction of the mysterious officer, Officer No-face. I hoped my red eyes gleamed from the lamp light. That's all these cursed eyes are good for these days, scaring people. I can't see my own hand in front of my face. Glasses three inches thick are the only things that seem to work anymore, but they make me feel like an old grandmother confined to her room. I very rarely wear them. Shifting back into my story, I straightened my posture and continued. "Fine, I'll tell you what lead to the attempt on my life. I was baking ginger snaps, no, it was chocolate chip cookies, no…it was most definitely ginger snaps."
Detective O'Brian broke through my concentration, "I don't care about the cookie. I simply want to know what happened when…"
"Look," I said pointing my finger in his general direction, "I thought you wanted the whole story as I remembered it, so I'm trying to give it to you."
"Let's skip the ahead to the arrival of the children, shall we."
"Fine, I was pulling out the ginger snaps when I heard a commotion coming from outside. It's true that my eyesight leaves much to be desired, but my hearing is perfectly fine in case you were wondering. I went outside and found two delinquents vandalizing my house. One of them, the boy, was ripping part of my roof off, and the other, the girl, destroyed my window with her dirty hands. Do you have any idea how long it took to build that house? No, of course you don't." The volume of my voice slowly rose with irritation. Just thinking about the destruction those two caused made my blood boil. "Those two showed absolutely no remorse for their actions, so I resolved that they would stay and work for reparation."
Detective O'Brian decided to interrupt me once again. I wonder if he really cares about my side of the story. Probably not. "That is all well and good, but what about the…"
"I'm getting to that. Now, the next morning I split the children up and put them to work. I had the girl clean up the mess they had made the day before. The boy I put to work in the stables. I evaluated their personalities while they were separated. The girl seemed skittish and easily impressionable while the boy seemed stubborn and pig-headed. I suspected he was responsible for the property damage, so as punishment, I decided to break his taste for sweets by force-feeding him them. If all of his teeth rotted out of his head in the process, so be it."
After the words, "You mean to tell me that the food was not meant to fatten the boy up to be eaten?" escaped Detective O'Brian's mouth, my perception of him took a drastic change. He initially sounded like an intelligent man, but for some reason, he seemed fixated on cannibalism. No matter what I said, we would always wind up back at my supposed-plan to eat the children. Ew.
Finally, I could not take his badgering anymore. "Why would I want to eat either of them? That is disgusting. For one, I am a vegetarian. You do know what that is, right?"
He seemed a bit discomposed after that tidbit of information. "Well, of course I do."
"Good," I snapped back. "I haven't had a bite of meat in over forty years after I watched a video demonstrating the preparation process of packaged meat products. Just thinking about it grosses me out. But even if I wasn't a vegan, I still would not have harmed those kids, because I am a Buddhist. I couldn't kill them if I wanted to. No, I simply applied the method of 'force the child to consume mass quantities of the item you wish to break them of before a bad habit forms.' I had friends who applied this same method on their children with cigarettes. The food was a deterrent. That's all." I might as well have been talking to a brick wall. I was not getting through to him. I couldn't believe my life has come to this. Those devils tried to murder me, and they think I'm the psychopath. I don't want to be remembered as the local Hannibal Lecter.
"Wait, did you say that you are a vegan?"
"Yes, I believe so." Where is this going?
"The way I understand it vegans don't eat animal byproducts, correct?"
Shit, I know where this is going. "Yes."
"But you're a baker. How could you also be vegan if you use eggs and milk in your cooking?"
I could hear the smile in his voice. He thinks his tricked me; gotten me to reveal something. Ha, I'll show him. "No officer, I think there has been a misunderstanding..."
"And what would that be? Please enlighten me."
"My bakery doesn't use animal byproducts."
Got you. "I only use soy milk and imitation eggs in my food. Like I said, I'm a vegan."
"So," Detective O'Brian directed himself back to his prior line of questioning. "You mean to tell me that you were not going to push Maggie into your human-size oven?"
Well, that was a stupid accusation. I really hate circular conversations. The wall of logic crumpled under this brilliant detective's questioning. "Why would I want to push the girl into my oven?"
"Excuse me detective, I was wondering if we could order some food. I'm starving. I was thinking the burger joint down the street would be perfect." The officer in the shadows finally spoke. His had a gravelly voice that demanded respect. There was also a tone to his words that made my skin crawl. "If that is ok with the lady, of course."
"Well, I don't care where the food comes from."
"Yes, really. As long as I get a salad, I don't care." Thought he could trap me, did he? Not a chance.
"Great." I could hear him move towards the door. "I'll go order. What kind of salad would you like?"
"Salad's salad, any kind's fine."
When he opened the door, I was able to make out some of his features. He looked about fifty, with a head of grey hair. His face remained a blur though. He exited the room too quickly. Detective O'Brian took this opportunity to also take a break, and fled the room on Officer No-Face's heels.
As I waited for my food alone in the cold room, I thought about my circumstance. I knew where he was going with their interrogation. We were dancing around the pointless. We were constantly tiptoeing around the accusation in the tiny room. Reality and truth were disappearing. The detectives did not care about my side of the story. They only wanted confirmation that I was a monster, so they could lock up the old fruit cake once and for all. I never pretended to be a pillar of the community. Personally, I preferred sitting alone in my comfy chair by the brick fireplace to talking with the locals. My bakery sits on the outskirts of town because I could live without the constant drudgery of keeping up good appearances. Apparently, spending all my time avoiding people lead to my current circumstances. Maybe if I had been a bit more outgoing none of this would have happened. Well, shoulda, coulda, woulda. No point harping on the past. A person needs to keep moving forward or some cheery bull like that.
Once the food arrived and Detective O'Brian entered the room refreshed, I decided to preempt another character attack, but I was waylaid by No-Face. "Here you are. The salad you ordered."
"This has chicken in it."
"Oh, does it? I'm sorry. I'll get you a new one."
"No, this is fine. I'll just pick out the meat."
Detective O'Brian got settled back into his seat as I took my first bite of lettuce. "Now, please continue with you story. What happened after you separated the children?"
"Nothing much. They did their separate chores."
"Who was in charge of the kitchen area?"
"So she was constantly in contact with the oven?"
"No, she stayed mostly to the floors."
"So the oven was off limits?"
"What are you implying?"
"I just want to better understand the situation. Maggie wasn't allowed near the oven and yet you asked her to open it for you? Is that correct?"
"On the fifth, I was busy making gingerbread, so I asked her to turn on the oven…"
"So you could push her in?"
I could not help but roll my eyes at his determination to get me to confess I was a crazed child killer. "No, I didn't want to get dough all over the handle." I took another bite of my salad.
"Well, what happened next?"
"The girl turned sheepishly towards me and announced she could not get the oven open. Needless to say I got a little annoyed. I walked over to open the oven myself, and no sooner did I get it open, that little demon pushed me in."
"She pushed you in?"
"Yes, I only survived being roasted alive because a squirrel decided to commit suicide at that precise moment and caused a power outage. Lucky, huh?
"Where were the children then?"
"I'm not sure. I had to crawl my way out of the kitchen because my legs were too badly burned to support my weight. But you want to know the best part of this little murderous scene?"
I turned my head coyly from left to right, and leaned in close to the detective. I motioned and he also leaned forward. He leaned so close to me that for the first time I could make out his facial features. His nose sat squarely between his brown eyes. When I felt his agitation edge slightly, I screamed, "Those two brats stole my money!"
Detective O'Brian shot up so fast that he temporarily lost his balance, which caused his seat to once again make that awful scratching noise. At this point, even that noise didn't bother me. I could not help but inwardly laugh at the dumbfounded look on the detective's face. Apparently, Detective No-face also found this little scene amusing, because I heard a low chuckle come from his respective corner. I slowly leaned back in my chair, and in the sweetest and calmest voice I possessed, added, "And I would like all of that money back."
Detective O'Brian took a deep breath before responding. "Ms. Doe," first time he's used my name, "I have to say that your story was truly entertaining, but we've got the statements of two distraught children who depict you as the villain. What do you have to say to this?"
"Really? After everything I have just told you, you still insist on pursuing these preposterous accusation?" I didn't really expect anything different, but I couldn't help wondering what king of stupid pills were these people taking? "For the last time, I did not and never did intend on harming those two children in any way. Now, do you have any further questions, or do I need a lawyer?"
"No." Detective O'Brian shifted in his seat. "I think were finished for now, but we may need to contact you in the future so don't leave town."
"Oh Detective, I wouldn't dream of it. Now, if you would excuse me, I think I'll be leaving."
I stood and once I opened the door, I caught sight of the elusive Detective No-face thanks to the florescent lights in the hall. He had a stylishly shaped goatee and hungry eyes; I should know I have them too. His blue suit appeared to be from a high-end boutique, which was a striking contrast to Detective O'Brian's off-the-rack ensemble. The only movement he made as I crossed the threshold to freedom was a simple nod of his head. I nodded in return, but I couldn't suppress the feeling that I would be seeing this man again.
Well, for now, I think it is time to find a new place to live. Maybe I'll try Anaheim or Orlando. I would love a warm place with a view and consistent weather. Well, first things first, I need to regain my lost capital. I wonder where those precious children live.
AN: Did you figure it out? Review and let me know. Review and tell me what you think. Basicall...Review, please! I live for comments guys! I haven't decided what my next fairy tale will be. If anyone has a great idea, let me know.
Afternote disclaimer: This was something I wrote for my Creative Wrinting class. I really hope you enjoyed it. The original plot belongs to the Grimms, but everything else is mine.