By Jess Charle
My father and I used to make homemade rice krispy treats together. They were our favorite. Easy to make and delicious. I didn’t know you could buy premade rice krispie treats until I was an adult. I tried one once. It was disgusting.
One day my second grade class had a potluck for us tots. Each child was to bring one treat to share. My dad and I made – what else – rice krispie treats. They weren’t covered in caramel drizzle or frosting, cinnamon or food coloring, chocolate chips or sprinkles. They were simple, made from only three ingredients: butter, marshmallows, and rice krispies.
They were perfect.
I was so excited to share them with my classmates. I remember many students, excited by cupcakes and cookies, passed them by without even a glance. The only people to really take notice of them were the mean girls. They leered at me as they picked them up, laughing at how gross they looked. The head mean girl pretended to take a small bite of one corner and immediately ran to the bathroom. The other girls followed and they all proceeded to make puking noises interspersed with hysterical giggling.
I remember my father asking me how the class liked our treats. For the first time in my memory, I lied to him, ashamed to tell him our treasured desserts were met with only disinterest and disgust.
This was by far not the meanest thing anyone has ever done to me, yet it has always stuck with me. Like a popcorn kernel between your gum and your back tooth. No matter how hard you try to push it out with your tongue, it’s always there in the back of your mind.
It’s memories like those that really piss me off. Not the name calling or the teasing, the pushing and shoving, the pranks and backstabbing. It’s the stupid useless jokes made from something someone’s proud of. The moment was a loss of innocence for me. A threat to the delicate relationship I had with my father. A removal of my childish rose tinted glasses to reveal the dark viscous layer of dirt and malice that really covers the world and everyone in it. Call me fat, call me ugly, call me stupid and I’ll either ignore you or prove you wrong. But to make fun of one of the only things a sad child treasures is to step over the line of meanness. It is not simply a jab at a classmate but an act of cruelty.
It makes me want to find Heather Kaplan at 49 South Church Street and give her a piece of my mind. It makes me want to grab her blonde hair, grey creeping at the edges as if the blonde is now just a product of bleach instead of genetics. Thinking back to that moment makes me want to smear her blood on her granite counter as I force her nose into the corner and listen to it crack. I imagine how gratifying it would feel as her body falls to the floor with surprising weight, landing with a solid smack.
I picture how great it would feel to take a rusting plier to each of her pearly white teeth and rip them out with a jerk of my arm, pink root still clinging to their edges. It’s amazing how defenseless a one-hundred and twenty pound yoga loving suburban brat can become with only 2mg of Rohypnol. Her pathetic cries would fall flat in the room, signifying her pain to no one. That’s the problem with living in a place as predictable as the suburbs. Everyone leaves for work by eight and doesn’t come back till six. Even later if they need to stop at the store to get groceries, as they tend to do every Thursday after work. Even later still if they have to pick up their daughter from soccer practice afterwards. So if I were to get there by say, eight thirty, I’d have plenty of time to dig the pliers deep into her gums, careful to get ahold of the widest part of each tooth. To press the pliers only firm enough to get a good grip, but not too hard that I break the bone, as I pull each out with a sickening squelch.
Did you know you can make your own gelatin? All you need is some water, a slow cooker, and some organic matter – specifically animal bones and skin. Using a sharp pointed kitchen knife, I’ll slowly skin a portion of her stomach. The skin will be surprisingly thick, a soft wet material almost like a damp shoe insole. I’ll look Heather in the eyes as I shake the meaty flesh and ask, “are you Gellin’?” I’ll laugh at the outdated reference while Heather, never known for her sense of humor, watches me in drugged horror. Her heavy jaw barely open in a weak cry of pain, her eyes glassy. I can see an intensity beneath the layer of fog that I can only imagine is her agony and fear yelling at her consciousness, trying to awakening it from its drug-induced slumber. I’ll take pleasure in watching it try to claw its way out. The fight or flight instinct attempting to navigate the fog and escape, to surface and breathe and scream at me. Her desire to survive trying to met me head on.
I’ll eye my collected materials. The piece of stomach flesh and teeth will do… I won’t need much.
As I cook I’ll explain my process to Heather, describing my work to her in great detail. I’ll imagine myself as a TV chef, telling her why each step in the cooking process is key. I’ll explain to her that the simmering water is leeching the peptides and proteins from her bones and flesh to create a substance I can use as a thickening agent for my homemade marshmallows.
“You’ll never want to eat store bought again!”
While her body parts simmer in the slow cooker, I’ll gather the rest of my ingredients. First, I’ll carefully take a hot knife to her butt cheek. The soft tender fat is the perfect substitute for butter. Using the same pliers I used for her teeth, I’ll slowly pull out each of her twenty finger and toe nails. She’ll be in pain, but she’ll survive. For a while. I’ll scrape the edges of her calloused feet with a knife, saving all the dust and debris in a metal kitchen bowl. Lastly, I’ll chop off bits of her hair.
Luckily I’ll have planned well enough to pack my own box of rice krispies. I know how much Heather distains the cereal so I won’t have expected her to have any on hand. I’ll need to mix the dry skin, hair, and nails with the cereal to achieve the perfect texture.
As the drugs begin to wear off, Heather will plead for me to stop. Beg for me to let her go. To untie her hands and feet. To get her to a hospital. She’ll tell me about her husband and her daughter like I don’t already know about them. As if I haven’t done my research.
Once I have an adequate amount of gelatin, I’ll add it to a mix of corn syrup, confectioners sugar, and cornstarch, stirring as the substance becomes creamy and gooey.
As I finish, I’ll drop the fresh fat into a pot I found in Heather’s cabinets which I’ll have heated up to medium high on her stove. I’ll listen to her sizzle and pop before adding the white fluffy concoction. Once the consistency is perfect, I’ll pour in the rice krispies and body matter mixture and stir. The stirring gets more difficult as the softened marshmallow stiffens, but you need to get the rice krispies evenly dispersed.
Using a spatula, I’ll then scrap the sides of the pot and drop the mixture into a casserole dish. With rice krispie treats, you need to push the top of the warm confection down with your spatula to ensure it is nice and flat for even squares. Then the whole thing goes into the fridge to cool. I am quite the polite houseguest, having been raised right, so I’ll wash and dry the used dishes as we wait. I will try to push down and ignore the growing anticipation with each stroke of the sponge and dish towel, my excitement to share what we’ve created together threatening to boil over and make me impatient.
An hour later, I will pull out the now ready treats and cut out a nice big rice krispie square. Heather, at this point, will be quietly sobbing. I’ll bend down on one knee, shushing her. Describing to her the flavors she is about to experience. I’ll force the treat down her throat, the sharp edges she’s unable to chew cutting her mouth and esophagus.
Maybe I should be more patient. Maybe I should plan it out better. Maybe I should make sure to check the school’s schedule beforehand. Maybe I should note when teacher workshops are being held. Maybe I should remember to see what days students are let out early. Maybe double check when soccer practice is cancelled. What if her daughter comes in and ruins the moment? What if this unexpected hitch in my plan sees all the blood? Sees her mother’s mutilated body? Sees half of a rice krispies treat between my thumb and forefinger, sticking out from her mother’s open mouth? Sees the panic and begging in her mother’s eyes?
You have to act on logic, not emotion, or else you may find yourself in awkward situations where you are faced with your own carelessness.
Then again, if the bitch is bad the pup will be too.