I’m just a man. Never asked more than my due.

I live in one of a dozen units surrounding a concrete courtyard. When I asked the landlord whether the brick oven in the center of the courtyard might not be used by one who wanted to try their hand at baking, he said it might.

And so I collected the very best in ingredients — dried fruits from the tropics and Ghanaian chocolate and Danish flour in woven sacks marked with pairs of silver and gold wings. Soon my unit was filled with immaculate bags of foodstuffs, and I was reluctant to ruin their pristine untouchedness.

But still, every night that oven drew my gaze.

And so, I cut open a bag of winged flour and took it outside only to find splashing rain that sent me dashing back in.

The opened sack of flour quickly began to rot, and the wings drooped.

A week later, I cut open a bag of berries and some more flour and hefted them, noticing that these bags felt heavier than the first.

Now some neighbours were in the courtyard socializing. One saw me and asked if I wasn’t about to bake them something. Saying of course not, I hid my ingredients away again.

And those too began to rot.

In a fit, I opened all the remaining bags at once. Only then, looking over them, my breath got away from me like a boat with a jammed throttle. Trying to heft a bag, I found it was too heavy to lift.

And though all the ingredients are rotting now, they remain precious.

I lay on the bed and stare at the decaying flour, which has turned the silver and gold wings a sickly yellowish-green.

And I find that even my own body is too heavy to lift now.

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    Eric Radcliffe
    Eric Radcliffe(@eric-radcliffe)
    2 years ago

    Hello Jack S, and welcome to the voice club! I hope you become a regular here. It takes time to get to know everyone, and the best way is to read all the stories. And don’t be put off by the thought of making comments, it is the best way of meeting and making friends. And at the same it will help you to settle in. You give the reader lots to… Read more »

    Last edited 2 years ago by Eric Radcliffe
    Sandra James
    Sandra James(@sandra-james)
    2 years ago

    I second Eric’s welcome and his advice on reading and commenting. In high school (too many years ago!) we had an English Lit teacher who would ask our opinion of certain pieces only to tell us we were wrong if we didn’t agree with his thoughts! It put me off giving my true opinions for many years 🙁 But here you will find only wonderful people who are only encouraging and constructive… Read more »

    2 years ago

    This story feels profound, Jack, with many layers below the surface. Like all the best stories, it leaves the reader with unanswered questions. I personally prefer the questions to remain unanswered and to sit in my consciousness like Danish flour and Ghanian chocolate. What a creative, imaginative story as your first entry to Voice Club! Welcome to the club – may you find a home here!

    Christer Norrlof
    Christer Norrlof(@christer-norrlof)
    2 years ago

    As a person who has baked my own bread for many years, who is a master of procrastination, and who is also “just a man” (wonderful opening line!), I felt a lot of sympathy for the baker in your story. I hope that he one day will surprise the neighborhood with a tasty Danish rye bread. Welcome to our family Jack. Keep writing!

    Lotchie Carmelo
    Lotchie Carmelo(@lotchie-carmelo)
    2 years ago

    Welcome to the Voice club, Jack S. I hope you enjoy it here. I agree with Eric, the best way of meeting and having friends is to read all the stories and make comments that will help you to settle in. I loved your first story, Jack S. It was intriguing and engaging. You are so creative and smart. I hope I can read more from you again. Keep writing.

    Wicke Aliquis
    Wicke Aliquis(@wicke-aliquis)
    2 years ago

    This is one of those stories that leaves you wondering as to its meaning. For me, the idea of an artist’s procrastination, gathering up the perfect ‘ingredients’ but letting them spoil rather than trying to make something of them for fear of it not being the right time, is an interesting theme. I hope to see more work from you in the future here!

    Carrie OLeary
    Carrie OLeary(@carrie-oleary)
    2 years ago

    Hi Jack and welcome. This is an interesting first entry and the meaning could be applied to many situations. I do rather like Wicke’s interpretation though. Well done.

    Brigitta Hegyi
    Brigitta Hegyi(@brigitta-hegyi)
    2 years ago

    Such an interesting story with many questions. I enjoyed your story because it makes me think about so many things. Well done!

    Cassie Sutherland
    Cassie Sutherland(@cassie-sutherland)
    2 years ago


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