Story rating: 18+ 
Genre: Fiction, Dark Comedy
For those interested in reading a Trigger Warning that contains what some may consider a *spoiler* read between the llamas. If you’d rather not, skip over the two lines of llamas and enjoy.

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                    *Trigger Warning*             
                       This work  includes twisted humor and disturbing themes, including those of homicide and mental abuse.                   

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 Whipped Cream and Cheesecake

 

Martha sat at the table in a daffodil yellow sundress with outlines of pink llamas etched around the waist. She clenched her hands in her lap hard enough to make her bones look as if they were about to burst out of her skin. Sweat beaded at her temples and the back of her neck. Her heart was a war drum beating in her chest, hammering its rhythm throughout her entire body. Above the din of her pulse and of the diners around her rose the dreadful noise of her father’s lips smacking together as he ate.

She watched through shrunken pupils as he shoveled another forkful of roasted potatoes through his butter-slicked lips into his gullet. Her eye twitched as he started chewing, not bothering to keep those grub-like lips shut as he did so. They closed momentarily in time with his jaw, but as soon as that detestable joint clicked open again, so did his lips, eliciting loud, obnoxious smacking sounds that seemed to Martha to ring throughout the entire restaurant. She glared daggers at those offending lips, willing them to curl up and fall off so she’d never have to hear them smack again. It was then she realized that it wasn’t just his lips, but his tongue, as well. Between bites, it would dart out like an eel from an ocean nook to wet his already saliva-slathered lips, but instead of reeling the pink bulge of flesh back in silently, he would part his lips to create an even louder and more obnoxious noise than before.

Her father didn’t seem to notice her staring, nor did he shrivel under the heat of her glare. He was completely oblivious to her ire and to the fact that she hadn’t touched a scrap of food on her plate since he’d started eating. Halfway through his meal, however, he stopped to reach for his water. Martha dropped her eyes and speared a potato with her fork as if she wished to stab it out of existence. She pretended the potato was her father’s face. At once she was both ashamed of herself and satisfied at the way the vegetable was obliterated.

This was why she preferred to eat alone.

She couldn’t abide the sound of noisy eaters. Other sounds bothered her, too, but none more so than that of someone’s mouth smacking and slurping. No matter who the offender was, the noises enraged her, yet those of her father enraged her more than anyone’s. She knew she should have declined the dinner invitation. Irrational as her rage was, she couldn’t find the strength to assuage it. Perhaps it was because those lips had countless times formed words that made her feel worthless and unloved. Perhaps it was because he used them to lie. Perhaps it was even simply because he’d dared to close them on a piece of someone else’s cheesecake and had the nerve to claim it was better than the one she’d made.

She didn’t understand it, but the rage didn’t surface until she had to listen to him eat. She counted the pieces of potatoes and meat on his plate, trying to gauge how much longer she’d have to suffer. She glanced up at him when she realized he was speaking to her. She tried to focus on his words, but all she heard was the squealing of a pig. Now that she thought about it, his face was starting to take on a very pig-like appearance. His skin swelled and folded over itself to form waxy rolls. His hair receded to reveal a shiny pink scalp and two little ears. His eyes darkened to become black, beady orbs set above an elongated snout. Disgust rippled through her, causing her hair to stand on end and her lips to curl back in a snarl. All she wanted to do was take her fork and—

“Miss, are you alright?”

The waiter’s voice snapped her out of her daze. Her father returned to normal and the rest of the restaurant came into focus around her. The smacking stopped as her father stared at her, head cocked curiously. His plate was finally cleared. Realizing where she was, she masked the snarl as a grimace of pain, as if she had a cramp. She reached up to rub the back of her neck.

“I’m sorry, I just have a pain in my neck. It got a little out of control there. I think it’s calming back down now. Thank you,” she said apologetically to the waiter and, indirectly, her father.

“Would you like me to get you anything?” the waiter asked kindly.

The compassion in his voice soothed her nerves. She was suddenly overcome with a new flood of emotions, though not all were gratitude. She felt like such a monster. Here was this kind man who had probably never harbored a horrible thought in his mind, and he was trying to help her—someone who had just been thinking about stabbing her father with a fork for his eating habits. She smiled gratefully at the waiter, still touched by his kindness.

“Thank you, but I believe I’m coming out of it now. I do, however, suspect another pain will come on and I should return home before it does. Perhaps we could just get the bill—”

“Don’t you want dessert, Martha? You’ve always had a sweet tooth. Surely the pain isn’t bad enough to deprive you of your favorite course,” her father cut in. Then, without waiting for her to respond, he turned to the waiter. “Two slices of strawberry cheesecake, please. You may bring the bill with them.”

The waiter hesitated a moment as if unsure about leaving the table, but then he gave a nod and slunk away with their plates.

“Kind young man. Now, as I was saying, Martha, you’re expected to attend your mother’s birthday party this Sunday. So that we don’t get her the same thing, I was wondering what you were planning on purchasing for her.”

“Oh, um . . . I thought—”

“Yes, I suspected as much. Why don’t you go to the mall tomorrow and buy her a picture frame to hang on that spot she’s been trying to fill above the fireplace. I’m tired of seeing it empty. I wrote down the measurements for the frame, as well as acceptable colors. I know how forgetful you are,” he said as he passed a slip of paper across the table to Martha, who stared at it as if it were a rotting fish. “We’ll have a family photo taken on her birthday and that should go nicely there. I’m sure she’ll love that. I will get her that emerald ring she’s been eyeing for weeks now. Are you good for picking up the cake from the bakery?”

“Um, yes. I just need to know which bakery you—”

“Forget it. I’ll do it. It was a mistake trusting you with it last year. Just get the picture frame, and remember to wear something nice that doesn’t make you look too overweight. I love you, dear, but yellow isn’t your color. Try blue instead. It will bring out your eyes and distract from your figure.”

The waiter returned with the slices of cheesecake. He placed them on the table along with the bill.

“On second thought, she’s changed her mind about having desert. Thank you, though,” he said.

“You don’t want any dessert?” the waiter asked Martha, but it was her father who responded.

“No, she doesn’t. Thank you.”

The waiter glanced between them both for a few seconds before retracting Martha’s cheesecake. He walked away, though not without casting a last worried glance back at Martha, who kept her eyes glued to the bill until the scraping of a fork against ceramic drew her attention to her father’s plate. She watched him bring a piece of cheesecake up to his mouth and close his lips around it. She couldn’t help but hold her breath, every muscle in her body tense as she waited for him to start making his accursed noises.

Martha clenched her teeth and dug her nails into her palms as the muscles around her father’s mouth twitched in preparation of their transgression. Once again, her somber surroundings fell away while her attention zeroed in on her father’s offensive maw. His lips strained as if they couldn’t stand touching one another. Her hackles rose. The sound was already starting to echo through her mind, resurrecting the flames of her rage. Without realizing it, her hand slipped around the steak knife the waiter had left behind.

Once more, her father’s features took on those of a pig. She started to believe that those were, in fact, his true features—that anything human about him was a mere faΓ§ade. The only way to find out would be to cut him open. She’d cut his lips off while she was at it, and cut his tongue out. No more would he be able to defile her sensitive ears. No more would he be able to shatter her self-esteem or belittle her in public. One more of those incessant smacking noises would do the trick. She wouldn’t even bother trying to hold herself back.

But before her father’s lips pulled away from each other, he made a choking sound. His fork clattered to his plate as he clawed at his throat. He suddenly pitched sideways out of his chair. Martha watched him fall without an ounce of pity, but her shock was staggering enough to hold her in place. She watched as he jerked once, twice, three times, all the while trying to pry open his mouth. Several people in the restaurant rushed to help him, but no one could beat the force holding his engorged muzzle closed.

“It’s like his jaw is melted shut!” someone cried.

Martha cocked her head with the aloofness of a cat watching its prey die. Soon, the life left her father’s body with a final muffled squeal of pain and, after his snout gave one last twitch, he went limp. While Martha wondered whether she could rejoice or not, a hand closed on her shoulder. She looked up to find their waiter standing over her.

“I’m sorry for your loss, though it really isn’t much of one,” the waiter said softly so only she could hear. “Today was my first day as a waiter. Things were going fine, but then this man came in and all I could hear was his smacking. I couldn’t abide it, much less his rudeness. I could tell you were having difficulty, also, so I decided to do us both a favor. I hope you don’t mind.”

Martha shook her head and released the steak knife. Her shock was starting to fade into a soothing numbness. She imagined that numbness would blossom into pleasure as soon as she came to terms with her unexpected liberation, but she couldn’t be sure. Either way, the absence of the noise of her father’s flapping lips was a blessing. It would have been nicer without the screaming and sobbing of the overly sensitive restaurant patrons, but she supposed it was a fair trade for her freedom.

“I can’t say that I do,” she replied.

“That’s a relief,” the waiter chuckled. “Maybe sometime we could meet up at a nice, quiet place.”

“I’d rather like that,” Martha agreed. “Also, this apparently overly-voluptuous body of mine would rather like a slice of that cheesecake to go, please, with some whipped cream on it. Minus whatever special ingredient you put in his.”

“Certainly,” the waiter beamed pleasantly. “I’ll be right back with it and my number.”

“Interesting,” Martha murmured after the waiter had woven through the incredulous crowd to the kitchen. “I suppose you never can tell about people. At any rate, I do hope he remembers the whipped cream.”

 

Copyright © 2020 by Kayla Cook

 

Boring Disclaimer: This story is a work of fiction, rather extreme in nature, and is in no way intended to offend, threaten, alienate, or persecute anyone or make anyone feel self-conscious. Names, descriptions, entities, and incidents included in this story came entirely from my (Kayla Cook’s) imagination and any resemblances between them and those in the real world are purely coincidental.