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Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Food/Cooking · #1555199
The devil's food made him do it (Quotation Inspiration 4/2009 entry)
Let Him Eat Cake


"So, Mister...," Doctor Evans paused to scan the ER Intake sheet, "...Andrews, let's take a look at your hand."  The middle-aged, slightly rotund fellow extended his left arm, wincing as the muscles and tendons in his hand and arm moved a bit more than he would have liked.

The ER doctor carefully removed the gauze bandage the EMT had applied and examined the back of his hand ignoring, for the moment, the uniformed officer standing just outside the examination bay, as well as the handcuffs which undoubtedly belonged to the officer, but were currently engaged in keeping the patient's wrists connected.

"Those are some nasty punctures, Mister Andrews," Doctor Evans said.  "We'll x-ray the hand to look for fractures and check for tendon damage, and you're going to get a tetanus shot, just to be safe.  Sit tight; I'll be right back."

He walked back out to the ER's central station, setup a run to Radiology and asked one of the nurses to prepare the tetanus shot.  On his way back into the bay, he stopped by the policeman and told him that the cuffs would have to be removed from at least the left hand, so that they wouldn't interfere with the x-ray process.

"No problem, Doc," the officer replied.  "I'll be right there with him, and he's probably not really dangerous.  An Assault charge requires cuffs, though, so that's what he'll wear until just before they actually take the pictures and, when you're all done with him, his hands'll go behind his back.  Again - procedure."

The tech arrived from Radiology and escorted her two charges through the ground floor maze of offices to the Imaging Center.  The officer freed his prisoner's left hand and, when the tech stared pointedly at the other wrist, removed the handcuffs altogether.  She hung a lead apron over the patient's neck and wrapped it around his torso, handed another to the officer, then gently positioned the patient's hand under the scanning mechanism.

"This will only take a minute," she told them, then stepped into the control booth.  The machine made a couple of clicking sounds and, true to her word, she was back a moment after that.  Five minutes later, she deposited the two men back in the exam bay, then went to retrieve the developed film.

As the patient awaited his doctor's return, he occasionally glanced across the ER at the trim brunette in the exam bay directly opposite his.  Whenever he saw her looking his way, he would sketch a small wave with his manacled hands and shrug his shoulders a bit; in each case, her response was a fierce glare, followed by feigned interest in the number of tiles per square foot in her part of the ER.  The woman was in her mid-thirties, and she wore a simple dress and obviously expensive shoes.  She'd accessorized her outfit with a clutch purse, a pearl necklace and matching earrings.  To the accessories she'd selected had been added a set of handcuffs identical to his; she also had her very own policeman in close attendance.  As she sat, a nurse carefully pulled apart her formerly neat coiffure, the better to swab and bandage the small wound on the back of her head.

Doctor Evans reentered the bay.  "Your x-ray is clear, Mister Andrews, so all we need to do is clean and bandage the punctures, and get you that shot."  The doctor hesitated a moment, then said, "Listen, I know it's none of my business, but I've just got to ask.  When I was examining the lady over there, I noticed that she was sending some pretty angry looks your way, and she was muttering some very unkind things under her breath.  What gives?"

"My date and I attended a weight loss meeting and then went out to eat," the other explained.  "I've lost over fifty pounds, since I started on the program, so we were celebrating.  There's this nice restaurant we both like, and a large portion of their menu fits in with my allowed foods, so we went there.  Everything was fine until dessert was served.  When the waiter arrived at our table, he was carrying my low-fat sorbet and a huge slice of the most decadent-looking chocolate cake I'd ever seen; it was the restaurant's special of the month."

The man was silent for a moment, apparently savoring the memory of the confection in question, then went on.  "One reason I've done so well, is that I avoid places that have desserts like that, because I just can't resist them.  When I eat out, it's mostly at breakfast, where I won't be tempted.  If I go out to dinner, it's usually to someplace that has simple fare and no fancy desserts.  Anyway, when I saw the cake, I forgot all about my sorbet.  I followed the waiter's every move as he placed it on the table.  Annette noticed my preoccupation and asked me if I was okay, but I couldn't answer: that rich, chocolate-coated vision held me in thrall.  I wasn't even aware I'd picked up my fork.  One moment my focus was on the only worthwhile thing in the universe and the next, I was leaning over and taking bites as fast as I could chew and swallow.  I ignored the stares and the screams, but the fork she stuck into the back of my hand finally broke through.  I shoved her back--just a reflex, really--and got in two more bites, before a couple of waiters managed to subdue me.  I'm told she hit her head on the back of another chair; I'm afraid I didn't notice.  The police and paramedics arrived shortly after that, and then we came here."

"You shoved your date?" Doctor Evans asked, incredulous.

"Oh, she wasn't my date," the man said, then went on to sheepishly admit, "but it was her cake."


[989 words]
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