Monday, April 12, 2010

Content Writer: Brian Williams - "Helen and Her Éclair"

Helen and Her Éclair

Written by Brian Youngjoon Williams, content writer, creative writer, former English teacher, and University of Washington graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing. Brian is a content writer and game writer and editor.

Helen loves her food. She isn’t obese or overweight or even slightly chunky. She is, inconceivably, thin. Attractive thin at that, none of that “anorexic skeleton or her underweight sister” thin. She does martial arts and runs every day because she wants to be in shape, and she enjoys spending time with others who think the same way. But at the end of the day she loves her food more than anything else.

On this particular day it’s raining out. Not the downpour/deluge that is enjoyable to walk through without an umbrella, or the light misting that’s barely noticeable, or even the thunder and lightning storm that entices you to watch it through a window with a warm drink. Today it is something else, an unpleasant rain that is coming down hard enough to require hoods or umbrellas yet light enough to make it a hassle to use them. Helen decides to skip her daily walk and meet up with a chocolate éclair she had been waiting to eat for almost an hour. Her table is cleared except for a single placemat, tastefully arranged at the head of the table. Upon the placemat is a plate, and upon the plate is the éclair. There is nothing special about this éclair. It is chocolate and slightly cool.

“Looking good.”

Helen starts. The sound came from her éclair, the one she was about to consume.

“Am I going crazy?” She asks. There is a beat of silence in which a thousand raindrops pound into her small apartment window.

“Not really. Well, I guess you could say you are, since you asked that out loud. The room is empty except for us, and if I didn’t say that, then that means you’re hearing voices and responding to them.” The talking is coming from the éclair. Helen bemusedly looks at her plate.

“I’ve gone crazy. Food doesn’t talk.”

She stares at it, as if asking the poor éclair to defy her will. With the sound of rain echoing outside and the silence within, the only thing she hears is her own breathing.

“Well, suit yourself. I’ll be quiet then.” Helen stands up, picking up her éclair by the plate. She slowly turns it around, looking for something that could be a mouth, or perhaps a radio transmitter (though to be honest, she would be very disappointed if she found that). It was, in all respects, a perfectly normal éclair.

“How can you talk?” She says.

“Well, first I think of what I want to say, and then I say it. How difficult can that be? As for the physical bits, I know not. Ask a doctor or a baker.” The voice seems to be coming from the middle of the plate, centered on the piece of food. It has a light tenor voice, the kind of voice that people associate with talking animals.

“Have you always been able to talk?” She asks. It doesn’t occur to her that this is perhaps a faulty line of reasoning. However, before we judge, she is well balanced and intelligent with no mental illnesses. She is normal.

“I confess that there was a time before I could speak, as I was still learning how to.” The pastry replies. “I do not know how long it normally takes but that is of no concern to me.” The éclair somehow manages to sound furtive and sheepish at the same time.

“Whyever not? You are the first piece of food that has ever spoken to me.” Helen looks confused. Perhaps it is because she is justifying herself to a piece of dough with chocolate on top. Personally I feel that she is unaccustomed to being contradicted.

“Perhaps it is because I can see the end my life already approaching. It is hard to discuss the beginning when the end is racing towards you.” Helen can almost see it shrugging as it continues, “Would you wonder about your first steps as you fall off a building? Or how fast you can run without shoes on when you’re bedridden with disease?”

“I don’t know,” Helen confesses. “I always assumed I’d rather be curious about life even till the end.”

“As one approaching the end of his life, let me assure you that I am no longer curious. I mostly dread what happens once I am devoured. The part of me that isn’t dreading is scheming desperately for a way to avoid my fate.”

Helen places the plate back down of the table and slowly sits in front of it. The rain continues to beat against the window but at a less urgent pace.

“So why are you telling me this? A ploy to keep me from enjoying a delicious éclair?” Helen asks suspiciously. While she was curious about the talking food, she really wants to eat it. Perhaps this is the curse of the food lover.

“I must confess that is at least part of my intention. From what I learned most food just goes quietly. Or you kill animals and then cook them, though I can’t imagine that going too well for some of the bigger animals. Probably why people don’t eat elephants or tigers as often as cows and pigs.” Helen listens carefully while slowly getting ready to pounce.

“Maybe that’s just the way things are?” She suggests.

“If that was the case why haven’t I been eaten yet?” The éclair sounds hopeful.

“I do not know. I am trying to decide if I’m just so bored that this is all a dream. Or if I should tell people about you. Why are you so afraid of dying?” Helen says.

“Why wouldn’t I be? I have no idea what comes after being eaten.” The éclair says.

“Oh. Well then. Let me help you with that.” Helen says while picking up the éclair.

About the author:

Brian Youngjoon Williams lives in Washington state, outside of Seattle. He is a creative writer, content writer, game writer and editor, a former English instructor and a graduate from University of Washington with a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing.

For another amazing story from Brian Williams, please read Playmates, a wonderful story of a girl exploring the forest.


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