The baker is tired of following directions. All of the times she couldn’t, she won’t think about it here. She inhales his sweetness and some kind of gingery smell. It’s the way it feels when the pages of a cookbook stick together and you’re sitting in the kitchen wondering what to do and then suddenly, you know.
She opens her door just to touch him. His round cookie mouth, her fingers so ready to stir. Hello, Unformed, she says.
She folds him with a few useless worries. Kneads his body with the salty badness of all that she has learned to avoid about real men. When an unbaked man makes use of a woman’s improvisational gifts an oven opens in her heart, she lets the dripping man in. With a baker’s curiosity she asks him real questions about his marriage.
“When you two stop doing the nasty, hon?” She’s batting her floury lashes, ready to roll out the dough. “Not long after the first baby, I guess,” he sputters and pops. Warm to the touch.
He laughs at her, or with her—and the bitter sound of his laugh rolls around and feels like a promise for some better recipe in the very near future. He rubs her blouse, lays it over her yeasty skin and she can see her own features through the fabric. Can smell where her heart was singed and eaten anyway.
She thinks back to a time when her mother once reminded her that she had been a bun in her mother’s oven, long ago. But that was a different sort of oven. Her mother’s oven wasn’t working anymore, was it? Her mother was once such a gifted baker. She tries to think back, to remember what it was like to be one of the unformed. Is she still as soft and fresh as good bread? What’s her expiration date?
“What’s your expiration date?” she asks the freshly baked man as she removes him from the oven.
“Men like me don’t stay fresh long,” he says. “I’ll be day-old by tomorrow.”
“Oh, I’m so sorry,” she says, thinking it isn’t fair that some men and women expire so much sooner than others. She has no idea how much time she has left before her expiration date, but she’s quite sure she has a long time, though she has already lived so many days. “I really feel bad about this,” she whispers to the man she has baked. “Is there anything I can do to make it up to you or to make it better somehow?”
“Yes,” he says.
“Eat me,” he whispers.
“What?” she asks, though she has heard him.
“Please,” he says. “Eat me now. Devour me while I’m still warm and fresh. I’ll never get any better than this moment, right now. What you’re seeing, what you’re smelling, what you’re feeling, it never gets any better than this, not with me. Please, please try me. Even just one bite?”
She doesn’t know where to begin, and she’s afraid to hurt him. Will biting him hurt him? He seems so sad, pouting. Perhaps he assumes she won’t love him enough to swallow him, so she decides to start with his little toes. She starts timidly and daintily sucking his toes. She bites him just a little bit, testing him, then stops.
“Please go ahead,” he says. “Don’t be shy.”
She bites down harder, tearing off his toes with her teeth, chewing delicately. His toes fall apart on her tongue, her mouth-watering desire. His toes and feet are fresh, baked to perfection, crunchy on the outside and soft inside, where her tongue explores the roof of her mouth, pressing him.
Once she starts biting and chewing his body, she can’t stop. The more she devours him, the hungrier she feels. Before she knows it, she has ingested both his feet, cramming his crunchy heels and supple shins, as well as his chewy right leg up to the toasty kneecap.
“Why not get some organic butter and raw honey?” he whispers as she gobbles a bit of his ass.
“Good idea,” she says, chewing a hunk of thigh and gobbling his cock with her mouth open while searching the pantry for the honey and raiding the refrigerator for organic butter.
Wow! Does his yeasty scrotum ever taste good drizzled in all that butter? She wolfs down his salty taint, gobbling it right up, and before she knows it, she has consumed his legs completely, as well as the last crumbs of his hips and loins. She doesn’t want him to think she’s a pig, so she hesitates for a moment, savouring him while wondering if there will be anything left for croutons.
“What’s the matter?” he asks as she tears off his left thumb and wolfs it down, gulping a glass of water when the tip of the thumb sticks in her craw. “You’re not done already?”
“Oh, no,” she says, tearing off his right hand and slathering it with butter. “I just didn’t want to bolt you.”
“If you get too full, you could always share me with a friend,” he says, “but please don’t let there be leftovers. I don’t want to be croutons or stuffing.”
She begins to partake of his wrists after wolfing down his palms, which she dredges in dark honey.
“I don’t want to share you,” she whispers.
“That’s nice,” he says with a smile, but by now, all that’s left of him is his head, which she picks up so she can smell him one last time while gazing into his eyes, face-to-face.
Putting her lips to his lips, as if for a kiss, she bites off his mouth, then she eats his face.
The next thing she knows, all she has left of him is this one last bite she now pinches between her buttery fingers while dreaming of baking another man for another day.