FICTION

The God of Sweet Toaster Dumplings

by Steven Genise

The God of Sweet Toaster Dumplings

by Steven Genise

The God of Sweet Toaster Dumplings

 

For one brief and shining moment, I​​ am​​ the god of sweet toaster dumplings, and I​​ can​​ solve all the problems of the world. ​​ 

 

Em and I​​ have​​ the same discussion we’d always had, the same discussion we’d been having for as long as we’ve known each other. ​​​​ I call it a discussion because​​ argument​​ sounds too heated​​ and​​ fight​​ sounds catastrophic. ​​​​ The discussion never resolves a right or a wrong, or even a right or a left, and also the discussion never resolves. ​​​​ It wears down our boredom over hours of silence, hours of communication by body language, until one of us becomes​​ distracted and​​ our mind wanders to​​ unrelated hypothetical which gets us speculating wildly. ​​ At what length does a breadstick become a baguette? ​​ Is cereal a kind of soup? ​​ Is oatmeal? ​​ 

 

Never real eye contact, sitting on the couch​​ looking​​ off to an angle where our eyes​​ can​​ meet at a point somewhere in front of the TV,​​ or in the car where we can justify it by watching the road. ​​ Doing laundry where we focus on folding and stacking, or in the kitchen where we chop vegetables. ​​ We hear the small​​ muffled​​ sounds of the world​​ beyond​​ the room​​ we’re in.

 

Resolved: Pop-Tarts are dumplings.

 

I propose the following:

  • Dumplings are dough surrounding a filling

  • Dumplings need not be cooked in a particular way​​ in order to be a dumpling

    • Cf. How bagels must be boiled to be bagels.

  • Dumplings need not be savory

  • A​​ Pop-Tart is:

    • A fruity filling

    • Surrounded by dough

  • Ergo a Pop-Tart is a sweet toaster dumpling

 

And we can shove the other back down into the depths where it belongs and Em and I can continue our marriage having solved another great problem and marveling at what a mystery of life we lead, and then we can move on. ​​ And there in the depths​​ the other great unsolvable​​ shall remain for a thousand years in slumber, or for about three weeks, until it bubbles back up to the surface again. ​​​​ And we can live our marriage three weeks at a time,​​ each time believing that​​ these​​ three weeks will stretch into eternity, or else we’ll die before the end of them​​ or the answer will arrive to both of us telepathically and separately and the discussion need never arise again​​ because we both understand the answer and​​ both understand that the other person understands the answer. (In this fiction whoever is doing the imagining is also imagining they are right).

 

I opened up​​ Wikipedia​​ to get a more concrete definition of​​ dumpling​​ to make my case,​​ And​​ there,​​ under “List of Dumplings,” under​​ P, indeed there it was: A link to the page for Pop-Tarts. ​​ We celebrated, and then we moved on for another eternity.

About the Author

Steven Genise flash has appeared in GONE LAWN, CRACK THE SPINE, AFTER THE PAUSE, and others, and he is the prose editor at CASCADIA MAGAZINE.

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#thesideshow| Flash Fiction| March 2020| May 2020