Jessica took the cookies out of the oven and set them on the counter to cool. Five special Valentine’s Day cookies, each six inches across, one for her and each of her friends to eat together. It was a of hers to bake elaborate cookies and have all her friends over for Valentine’s Day. They looked forward to it every year. It kept them all together no matter what circumstances tried to nudge them apart.

A few hours later, the cookies were cool enough to decorate with icing and candy. Jessica picked up one of the five pans and turned to take it to where the toppings were. The pan slipped from her hand, flipped over in mid-air and landed facedown on the kitchen floor. The cookie shattered, chocolate chips flew everywhere, some rolled under the refrigerator never to be seen again.

Jessica bent over and carefully picked up the tray. The cookie was upside down in a hundred jagged pieces. She knelt on the floor, crossed her arms and pouted like a little girl. All that time she spent on those cookies, making them just special for all of her friends, even resisting eating them herself. Her friends would be here in less than an hour and now she was a cookie short and she didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings by leaving them out.

She had to kill one of her friends.

But which one? William? No, he had given her rides to work for a week when her car was broken. What about Alice? Jessica couldn’t remember anything Alice had done for her except watch movies and go to bars. She supposed that was enough to let her live. Then there was Andy. She liked him and wished for the love of God he’d make a move on her but he never had. Then again, he did like the same music as Jessica. That left Sally. Sally was the drama queen of the group, but that’s exactly why everyone liked her.

Jessica sighed and sank deeper to the floor, staring at the broken cookie. It was going to be a difficult choice. All her friends were redeeming in some way. How could she choose just one?

Then it occurred to Jessica: what about herself? There were still four cookies left. If she were dead, then no one would know what had happened and none of her friends would have to be left out! Perfect!

Jessica swept up the mess and took the trash out so there’d be no evidence for her friends to discover later. She set the remaining four cookies on plates, iced and decorated them beautifully, took a step back and admired her work. She turned around and chose a knife from the wooden block next to the microwave. She decided to use one with a smooth edge so it wouldn’t grind against any bones. Then Jessica stood in the middle of the kitchen and shoved the knife through her heart. She dropped to her knees. Then to her face... She felt better now... Now there were enough cookies to go around... No one...would be...left out... She smiled and closed her eyes for the last time.


Copyright: © 2011 James Steele


James Steele is a writer in Ohio. He is often asked to sum up his life’s story in a single paragraph. James is very depressed by how easy this is. He has been published in the Magazine of Bizarro Fiction (issue 3), Anthrozine (issue 18), Different Worlds Different Skins v.2, and Planet Magazine. His bizarre action/comedy novel, “Felix and the Sacred Thor,” is published through Eraserhead Press.

His blog is

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