Chocolate pearled off the sides in viscous drops. Lipstick red cherries dotted the edges of six thick tiers, surrounded by white chocolate lace. Swirls of caramel pooled on the cake platter in syrupy puddles.
It took four cooks to carry the cake in, balancing it on their shoulders and taking careful, small steps. They were followed by three attentive maids ready with bowls to catch any drips of chocolate or caramel. No one wanted to face the consequences if a morsel of the pastry was lost.
The four cooks and three maids ushered the towering cake through a grand set of double doors, placing it
in the center of a long table. Three bony women sat at three sides of the table, staring at the cake with bulging
“Finally!” croaked the woman on the right end of the table. “I’m starving!” Drool gathered in the corners
of her lips.
“I’m famished!” groaned the woman on the left side. Her fork was in her white-knuckled fist. “Those carrot sticks just don’t fill you up.”
“Now, now,” said the woman at the head of the table. She was the thinnest of them all, and she watched the sumptuous desert with a glistening gaze. “Don’t forget what those carrots do for your figures.”
The woman on the right preened. The woman on the left prodded her stomach. Their eyes never left the cake.
“That’s right,” said the woman on the left. “I love this diet.”
“Carrot sticks for breakfast, lunch, and dinner,” said the woman on the right.
“But treat yourself for dessert!” said the woman on the left.
The cake wobbled under its own weight. On the walls of the grand hall, a hundred portraits of stick-thin watchers seemed to leer down at it. The cooks and maids exited the room.
“Alright,” said the woman at the head of the table. “Dig in!”
The portraits watched with acrylic avarice. The women lunged for the cake, crawling onto the table and fracturing china plates and cups with elbows and knees as they scurried to the glistening cake. They abandoned forks and dug their hands into the moist icing like spades, shoveling it into their mouths. The woman on the right licked up the caramel puddles, the woman on the left pushed great handfuls of syrupy cherries past her lips. The woman at the head crumbled the delicate white chocolate lace in her fists and swallowed it whole.