January 12, 2013 by Kenneth Kelly
Filch (verb): to steal (especially something of small value; pilfer.
There it sat on a glass pedestal with others like it before the small, hungry eyes of Tommy Atkins. The silky chocolate surface gleamed under the fluorescent light. Purple marbling wove through the dark cake. Tommy didn’t know exactly what the marbling was. Perhaps it was strawberry or blackberry or raspberry. Oh please, let it be raspberry! He brought his face close enough to the cake so that his nose was almost touching it. Scents of chocolate and mystery berries entered his mind and hypnotized him. He was now a slave to the cake. It’s delicious will bending his in divine decadence. I will have that cake. I will shove it in my face. I will, I will, I will.
A baker approached Tommy on the other side of the counter. She smiled the kind of smile one would expect from a minimum wage employee who works for tips. “Looks really yummy, doesn’t it?”
Tommy could not speak. He only nodded.
“I made that myself, you know?”
“How much?” Tommy finally said quietly, flatly, sedate.
“How much for the cake?” He said now with a surprising amount of fury for a 9-year old.
“Oh! It’s $5.95.”
Tommy dug into his pockets and pulled out all the money he had. He slowly counted the coins in his hand. 67 cents. Shit. Tommy gave a surprised gasp at his potty stream-of-consciousness. Where did I learn that word? Dad? Mom? Homeless people? No matter, I want some fucking cake. “Could I get this cake on layaway?”
Tommy weighed his options carefully. He could go home empty stomached and do chores until he accumulated enough wealth to purchase the cake, thus satisfying his hunger for cake and garnering the satisfaction of a job well done. Or he could grab the cake and cheese it. He chose the latter.
Tommy burst out on the city streets chased by the cries of the aghast baker. He ran so fast he felt as the wind itself. He ran for several blocks forcing confused adults out of his way. Finally he turned a corner into an alleyway. He peeked around the corner expecting to see the baker coming after him, perhaps wielding a rolling pin, but he saw no one coming. Across the alley he saw a homeless man sleeping under a grimy Care Bear comforter. So this is how it happens. This is the day I set forth on the path to chaos and vagrancy. Just yesterday I was a sweet, innocent child of nine and a half years old, but look at me today. Swearing and stealing like a criminal. Soon I will be like that man lying before me. I will pay for my sins. He took a second to catch his breath and took a long look at the cake. Then he shoved it in his face.