#Nanowrimo Day 25: King vs. Crumble #amwriting
Alasdair has a longstanding love-hate relationship with baked goods: he loves to eat them, and he hates the inches they add to his waistline. He has the unfortunate business of inheriting his father's appetite but not his father's metabolism, leaving him at a terrible disadvantage when his will finally gives way. If you have never reveled in all the joys of a crumble, you will not understand Alasdair's pain.
The king came to the oven room to find a lone round crumble, sitting on the centre of the table, illuminated by a shaft of silvery light pervading the window. He neared and looked about: the fires in the oven were dimmed, the range was blackleaded and cleaned, and Martje and even Shelbeigh were nowhere in sight.
|This is what all desserts do to me.|
“Martje must have gone to her apartment,” he surmised aloud. “She’s been doing that recently to make certain that she and Shayne adhere to their diets.” He gave the crumble a chary look. “Why are you here?” he demanded, as though the crumble could understand him. “You shouldn’t be left out.” He went to take up the crumble and place it on the shelf in the larder, but the instant his hands touched the pan, he leapt back, locked his hands together behind his back, and exhaled in relief.
“No, no,” he warned himself. “That is exactly what you want me to do. You want me to near you so I’ll be tempted to eat you. Well,” he huffed, turning up his nose, “I won’t do it. You will just have to sit there and look delicious, and I’m going to ignore you and make my tea.”
The crumble sat indifferent to the king’s humphing assertions. It remained on the table, resting there in humble silence, its delectable joys, its warmth and mellifluous scent offending Alasdair’s senses.
Alasdair folded his arms and turned aside, looking rather proud. “I know you’re trying to woo with me with your scrumptious crust and sumptuous toppings, but I won’t surrender. I don’t know why you’ve been left out and I don’t care. I’m making tea, and that’s the end of it.”
He marched over to the range with a thundering step, lit the fire, and began to boil the water. “It’s not there,” he decided, staring at the kettle. “If I don’t look at it, it’s not there. I can ignore it very well if I busy myself about the kitchen. I think I can manage ten minutes without thinking about it.” He floated around the oven room, gathering his cup and saucer with affected grace. He hummed, he skipped, he inspected the storeroom for some of the rolled oats which Martje was industriously secreting away, and he had almost gone the ten minutes maintaining full governance until a small spider on the wall caught his eye. It crawled over the window sill and out into the garden, and Alasdair was just turning back to the range when the crumble beckoned his notice. It seemed drawing him in, forcing him to succumb to its confectionary prowess, appearing to great advantage in the moonlight: its round form exquisitely shaped, its surface glistening with a butter glaze, its friable top garnished with chocolate shavings, its soft oat texture lining the pan. Come, it whispered in a soothing voice, come, Your Majesty.
With a wistful countenance did Alasdair make his approach, the corners of his mouth wreathing in a pining grin, his eyes gleaming with doting affection, his arms reaching out to touch, to caress, to marvel, to hold. A soft croon escaped his lips, and he spied the crumble with devoted glee saying, “I’ll take you to the larder where no one will harm you, my love, “but the moment his fingertips touch the edge of the iron pan, all his consciousness rushed on him. He gasped and tore his hands away.“That is very well enough of that,” Alasdair exclaimed, glaring at the crumble. “You can stop looking so wonderful because I’m not going to eat you. Yes, I know that’s what you want me to do. You might say something else, but I’m not going to so much as breathe on you. I’m going to stand here and drink my tea and eat my porridge.”
He hastened back toward the range, but after a few sips of his lemon ginger tea, a spoonful of his porridge, his mind began to plague him. The oats, though filling, did nothing to appease his appetite, and the vicious grumbles emanating from his stomach continually reminded him of his appetence for buttered crusts and sweetened fillings. He ate the reminder of his porridge with all the alacrity that his increasing hunger could command, but when he reached the bottom of the bowl and there were only a few flecks of oat left to tease his hunger, he groaned and wished the crumble gone. “By the Gods, why am I still hungry?” he moaned, looking back at the table. He would have turned away, but a voice came to him in musical tones.
Of course you are hungry, your majesty, the crumble seemed to emit. You had such a very long day that it is only natural you should be in want of something. Something sweet, something salted, something satisfying.
The expatiating rumbles in Alasdair’s stomach compelled him to resign. He must forget his apprehension if he were to ever be appeased. “You miserably delicious-“ he began, but he stopped, felt himself in danger of growing fond again, and turned away. He shook his head, stabbed a finger at the crumble, and shouted, “I will not listening to you! You can tell me all about how buttery and lovely you are, and I will ignore you.”
The crumble shone numinous in the silvery light.
“That’s being unfair,” Alasdair declared. “You know that I’m hungry. And here you are, telling me of your virtues and looking so delectably-that’s it. I’ve done with this. I’m breaking your smug little top. Someone ought to teach you about the wrongs of self-righteousness, and I will be the one to do it.”
Placing his bowl and cup aside, Alasdair raised his hands, tightened his fists, and smashed the crumble’s surface. He watched the chocolate shavings shatter against the breaking oats, his eyes raging in smoldering envy. “If you don’t look delicious, you won’t be delicious,” he seethed, breaking the butter crust with his fists. He pounded, he pulverized, he demolished, and when he at last stopped to assess the damage he had wrought, his chest heaved with panting breaths, his complexion flushed with indignation, and his eyes flared in senseless satisfaction. “There,” he professed, remarking the decimated delight. “Now you won’t bother me any longer.”
The shattered crumble looked solemn under the ascendancy of the sobering light, sad that it had been ruined without anyone having enjoyed all its pleasures. It tried to maintain its luscious brilliancy, but the charm had been broken, and all its influence over Alasdair’s mind ceased. It sat in mournful dismay, unable to mend itself, and its only consolation was that though it had been shattered, it might still be eaten by one who was always used to eat anything in the kitchen which might be otherwise discarded or overlooked. All its aspirations were on Martje now, and as Alasdair marched triumphantly away, its crumbled oats glowered at its assailant and schemed its revenge.