Fred opened the front door. “Hey! I’m home.”
Little Juniper Sally ran to him. “Yay! Daddy! You’re home! You’re home! The toaster’s tryin’ to kill itself.”
Fred’s face fell. “The what?”
“Toaster. It’s in the bathroom. I’m gonna go play with Rosie and Jill. Bye!” She ran outside shouting, “Yay! My daddy’s home!”
The toaster’s trying to kill itself? Wha?
Fred walked into the bathroom, almost afraid of what he’d see.
The toaster sat on the edge of the bathtub.
“Why is the toaster in the bathroom?” Must be one of Juniper Sally’s weird make believe games. I’ll understand her one of these days.
“DON’T TRY TO STOP ME.”
The toaster shifted uneasily. “I SAID, DON’T TRY TO STOP ME.”
“Okay. So. Is this happening for real or is this a whole getting in touch with my more imaginative, playful side? Because if it is that whole touchy feely thing, nuh-uh. This is way too dark. You’ll have to come up with a better scenario.”
He frowned. “Wait. What is your plan, exactly?”
The toaster puffed its chest (?) out. “I am going to jump into this body of water and electrocute myself.”
“Electrocute yourself. No. No, I don’t think it works that way. That would be like lightning electrocuting itself. Can’t happen. Wait. What?”
Fred walked over to the bathtub. “How’d you fill it up with water?”
“Wouldn’t you like to know?”
“Well, yeah. Actually, I would.”
“Well, I’m not going to tell you. State secret. So there.”
“Let me guess. You used your cord?”
The toaster went silent.
“How were you going to electrocute yourself anyway? You aren’t even plugged in.”
The toaster’s heating coils turned red. “I thought it would be an inevitable result. I’m a toaster. It’s water. So, I forgot about the plugged in detail. So, sue me.”
“No, thanks. Talking to a toaster in my bathroom is surreal enough. Taking you to court…” He shook his head. “I’d just feel like an idiot.”
“It’s about time you feel like what you really are.”
“Huh? What would that be?”
“An idiot, of course. Dumping me, a perfectly functional toaster, for a chintzy watermelon-shaped toaster.”
“Whaaa? That’s what this whole drama is about? Come on! How could I resist a toaster that looked like a watermelon? It even smelled like a watermelon. It was awesome!”
“Unlike me. The unloved castoff. The reject. The pitiful has-been.”
“Oh, really? Don’t you think you’re waxing a little melodramatic.”
“I can’t help it. Without my work toasting your bread, my drama classes are all I have going for me.”
“Wha? You take drama classes?”
“Every Thursday night at 9:00 on the nose. I think I’m getting better at it.” The toaster’s chrome sides gleamed. “After all, I had you convinced. You, a man with very little imagination.” The toaster hopped onto the floor. “Hey! Mabel! Did you record all that?”
The camcorder shifted on the counter. “Every breathtaking moment.” It jumped down onto an unopened package of toilet paper, to the floor, and shuffled over to the toaster. “I was very impressed with your delivery.”
They made their way out the bathroom door. “Oh, yes. I felt your grief and despair and…” Their voices petered out as they shuffled out of his range of hearing.
Fred sat back on his feet and scratched his head. “What just happened?”