Chuck stared at the toaster. It was such a rude device, always insulting his mother as he passed by. Tony, back in fourth grade, had insulted his mother once, said she was fat while they ate lunch together. Well, he didn’t exactly say it—as far as the school’s counselor claimed—but he certainly thought it. Chuck beat him with a small, blue chair until his body was limp and bruised, a pool of tauntingly auburn blood beneath his split skull. Chuck was never allowed back in that school, or any school for that matter, but at least he had his own apartment now, albeit heavily supervised and state funded.
The toaster stared back at him, its black plug spiraling into an outlet on the light green wall. Chuck hated the wall as well. It wasn’t that it was also rude to his mother—to be perfectly honest, the wall never said anything negative about his mother, and may have even stood up for her once—but it did have some particularly offensive things to say about the Jews. Chuck considered himself a very tolerant person—except for when it came to the Swiss, whom he simply did not trust—and took great insult in someone, or something, being intolerant of another.
“Fuckin’ Jews,” the wall said, silent and motionless.
“Stop talking that trash,” Chuck shouted, pointing his finger at the lime green wall. “I will not have that anti-Semitism in my god damn house.” Chuck had learned that word, anti-Semitism, from the home’s psychiatrist. He said that was the term people used to describe hostility toward Jewish people. He also emphasized that walls could not be anti-Semitic, as they did not have any ability to speak or think, but he had clearly not met this wall.
“They’re going to take your money,” the wall continued. “Steal it all up and hang it around their necks. Go to the bank and get it before they do.”
“You better shut up,” Chuck shouted. “Better shut up right now!”
Chuck turned back toward the toaster and grabbed the bag of bread beside it. He quite liked making toast, as it forced the toaster to shut its god damn mouth for a little while, even if just for a few minutes. He’d shove the toast in, push down on the plastic, black lever, and watch as its insides burned red. Sometimes it screamed, but usually it just went silent. Everything went silent as he stared into the dark, burning crimson from within the toaster, even the toast.
The bag was sealed with a small, green twist tie. He slowly spun it around, watching as the two ends separated from each other, then pulled open the bag.
“Your mother looks like a pig,” whispered the toaster. “You should kill her.”
“Do you want to say that a little louder?” Chuck said.
“Me?” the toaster replied without movement.
“No, the god damn sink. Of course I mean you.” The sink sat silently in the corner of the room. Chuck no longer had any issue with the sink, although it had once tried to convince him that kidnapping Ashley would make her love him. He’d almost done it, too, almost fell for its trick. He’d bought a plain, black bag with which to cover her head, fastened a few zip-ties for her hands and feet, and waited in the bushes just outside the anger management class she taught at the home’s meeting center. He came to his senses right before lunging at her, watching silently as she walked alone to her car. He realized then that the sink had tried to trick him, tried to get him arrested, tried to make him hurt yet another person. Chuck went right back home and filled the sink to the top with water, then left it overnight. It never spoke a word again.
“I said your mother looks like a pig. She’s fat. Pigs are fat. They’re both fa—” Chuck punched the toaster in the middle of its aluminum exterior, knocking it onto its side.
“Watch your fucking tongue,” Chuck said. The psychiatrist had suggested he get a new toaster a year ago, experiment with a different brand perhaps. Chuck agreed and tossed his old one in the attic, replacing it instead with a brand new GE model. It held up to four slices at once, had several different heat settings, toasted for as long as five consecutive minutes, and was equally as offensive toward his mother as the previous one. Now, however, Chuck was occasionally woken in the middle of the night as both toasters shouted back and forth in agreement as to how fat his mother was.
Chuck picked the toaster back up and stuck his hand into the plastic bag of bread, removing two slices. He smiled at them. He loved bread. He loved how helpless the slices were, how much of their lives he dictated. Unlike the toaster, he chose what happened to the bread. Sure, he could throw the toaster away, but what if someone just took it out of the trash and kept it for themselves? He could hammer it to pieces, rip out its insides and throw them in the water, but what happened next? What if a piece escaped? With bread, though, he could shove it into a toaster and listen to it scream, then force the pieces into his mouth as he chewed them into an unidentifiable paste. He decided what happened to them.
Chuck had a closet filled with discarded bread. They weren’t off the hook, at least not all of them, but they were safe for the time being. He chose the ones he thought were the most polite, the ones he got along the best with. He’d then throw them in the closet and allow them to continue living. Some days, though, he’d stalk his way over to the closet, pull open the door, and steal away one of the survivors. They would be his toast for the day, listening as they pleaded while he shoved them into the glowing amber of the toaster. He’d smile as they screamed, the room suddenly becoming silent as the rude toaster engulfed their hope in flame.
Chuck placed the two slices of toast down on the counter.
“Do you two have anything to say?”
“Kill your family,” said the first slice. The second agreed silently.
“So be it.” There would be no hope today. Chuck never much cared for hope, anyway.
Writing Prompt: Explain a very mundane event from the perspective of an insane person.