I went to the new bakery in town.
It had an opening soon sign on it for two years.
Today was the day.
A very small door.
Dimly lit inside.
Bells ring as I enter.
I think I am the first.
All wood everywhere.
Ship’s deck planking for a floor.
Sculptured gargoyles leering from on high.
Three sweaty individuals are there,
with strange smears upon their aprons.
One is conducting the permeating music, and holds a cleaver.
One is behind the glass counter of baked delights, and looks at me askance.
One is at the cash desk, rubbing his hands in anticipation,
beeswax candles adorning his neck.
The butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker.
I point at a tart, ask the baker what it is.
He looks down his long nose and says, as if I should know,
That is our Montessori.
I say is that something like mincemeat?
He spits, bows mockingly, and goes for a coffee break.
The singsong tunes increase in pitch, the cleaver is juggled.
The candlestick maker lights the beeswax wicks
and sets his hair on fire, smiling.
I hear and feel a deep thrumming rumbling beneath the floor.
Then a hard Boom, and the floorboards lift a little.
We’ve been hit! says the candle man.
He makes the sign of a gun to his head, then collapses into ashes.
Out from the back room glides a little red haired boy, sweeping.
He motions to me, so I bend down and listen.
He says come back tonight. They’re not here then.
I make to leave, and the surly baker throws a tart at me.
In the darkness of 2am, I jump into my little car and head back up.
It’s a pedal car, from when I was five.
All is pitch black on the street, but there’s a light coming from the keyhole.
I blow into it, and the door clicks open.
The kid is still sweeping, but motions me to the back room.
Hanging from the vaulted ceiling, there’s a block and tackle.
Attached to the business end is a giant steel claw,
like the ones from the win every time glass cases full of prizes from kiddieland.
It holds the body of something or someone, in a cocoon of sheer pantyhose.
A trap door is underneath, and the kid opens it.
The thrumming and booming increases as he lowers the sack down into the hole.
Then, more obscene noises from beneath.
Up comes the metal claw, minus its bag. The noises stop.
It’s cheaper this way, he says.