October 20, 2008

From the perspective of a Lemon Meringue Pie

I had been sitting there all morning, watching each of their chubby little faces press up against the glass of the display unit. The croissants sold like hotcakes, and the hotcakes sold even quicker, but no one could stomach such a light, luscious, tangy creation like myself so early in the morning. The steam from the coffee maker hung low in the air, and idle chit-chat wafted around the room. Little old men sat munching on toast, their dark yellow teeth displaying waiting crumbs which their tongues would discover later that morning.

The cafe was small and cramped, ten tables jammed together with barely room to move between them. It wouldn’t be long before a humongous cake-devouring child would waddle in the shop, have one banoffee pie too many, and balloon to the size of the room, squashing little old men and their little old wives into the walls, and pinning his well-meaning mother against her chair.

But not today, today was unusually quiet. Janet, the owner of ‘Janet’s Cafe’ looked pale as she stood behind the counter ferociously drying glasses with a pink tea-towel and running her accounts through her head for the umpteenth time that morning.

The door was pushed open, ringing a little ornate bell which Janet’s father had installed the day before the cafe’s grand opening. Suddenly the room was filled with noise as two girls burst in, jabbering between themselves. Coming up to the counter, the taller of the two bent down and examined each of the cakes, her eyes narrowing at the carrot cake but widening at the prospect of the triple chocolate fudge. Finally she saw me, selected me, and paid for me – two pounds fifty. Down came Janet’s silver cake slice and I was lifted on to a plate. Just a squirt of whipped cream and a few slivers of lemon peel and I was ready for my debut.

The girls had already taken their seats at the little table in the far corner. They were swirling tea bags in tea pots, clinking spoons against china and slushing milk from dainty milk jugs. Janet brought me to the table and presented me in front of the girls in all my glory. The taller girl had dark brown hair and small unnerving eyes. She looked down at me, scrutinising my ever so slightly browned meringue. Was I overcooked? Or even, god forbid, a little burnt? She picked up her dessert fork, twirled it around menacingly, and plunged in into my middle.


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  1. This made me smile. I like your line about the croissants selling like hotcakes and the hotcakes selling even quicker…I think the lemon meringue has a sense of humour – I’ll never be able to eat one again – and there’s something grotesque about the human beings around it which I think is interesting. In the middle I think you slip back into regular narrative, but you bring it back round to the perspective of the meringue again at the end. I guess I would have liked a little more description about the way the meringue felt when it was being selected, but generally I thought it was pretty expressive stuff!

    22 Oct 2008, 00:43


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