'Baking Day' by Laura Huntley
Doris kneads the dough, making her arm fat wobble. She sweats as she digs her thumbs in, turns it over and pummels. She likes the way it swells to life under her hands. Her striped cotton apron is dusted in flour, as are her hands, her cheeks and the lino floor.
George naps upstairs, he dreams of young ladies in tiny swimsuits: blondes, brunettes, redheads, he’d long stopped being fussy. He smiles as they frolic in the water, cheeky pink nipples popping through shiny fabric.
Doris shapes the dough, chubby fingers work briskly to capture the intricate features. She’s making a bread George. Her tongue lolls at the side of her mouth in concentration. The dough’s too sticky; she throws another handful of flour on to the worktop, covering George’s bread face and has to pick out the nooks and crannies of his eyes, nose and mouth again.
She doesn’t really like George. Her mother had promised her that she would grow to love him. Well fifty two bloody years later and all she feels is a persistent stab of annoyance. She loathes his nightly snoring. She despises his greedy salivation at young girls on the television. She hates the way he shouts out the answers at quiz shows, his smug face when he gets them right. Doris spitefully sinks her thumbs into his dough eyes until they emerge at the other side and smoothes them over.
George wakes in agony, he can’t see, his eyes won’t open, his entire head burns with a searing pain.
Doris hears his cries and wishes he would shut up. He’s always making a racket. With circular motions, she rubs a large piece of dough into a ball. With great delight, she crams it into George’s bread mouth.
George mumbles, struggling for air, as he writhes in the bed, a salty taste fills his mouth and a pressure makes him gag but it’s no use, his lips fuse together until he can’t make a sound.
Doris smiles, feeling pleased with the tranquillity. She looks down at George’s dough nose and aches to rip it off, or flatten it with the palm of her angry hand. She longs to do it. But maybe this is enough? He can’t leer at attractive girls or shout at the television. Perhaps she could live with this new George?
Devilment wins the day as she gleefully screws up the dough in her large, mean hands until no trace of the George face exists. She stuffs it into the loaf tin and slams it into the hot oven.
She walks upstairs, her heavy feet creak on each step. She pops her head around the door. No George. He has quite disappeared. His spectacles remain on the bedside cabinet, and flour covers the sheets, but he has very much gone.
Doris enjoys a peaceful, pleasant evening, watching television, and pulling apart chunks of golden, freshly baked bread, smeared in butter and jam, eating until it’s all gone.