Meet Eileen and Martin. One in a series of three, I think.


The Toaster

"Oh, look who decided to wander in and pay her old friend a visit!"

Martin's voice echoed, it was so loud; if he could gesture, he would have thrown his arms up in the air to make a scene.

"Maybe I'm hungry, Mart. You ever think of that?" I rolled my eyes at his loud dramatics; always the same attitude.

"It gets boring hanging out here by myself. I feel like you only talk to me when you want to use me."

I went to the fridge and scrounged around for food. A carton of chocolate milk, some eggs, and a bag of apples stood out, but my appetite only felt repulsed by its options. I was craving bacon and pineapple. I hadn't had pineapple in months. I should have bought some at the grocery store the other day. Martin's voice slipped out, but I couldn't see him from behind the fridge door. I pretended to be busy and ignored the unhappy edge to his voice, sorting through the meagre contents of the fridge.

"Eileen, you're not going out again, are you? It's only nine and you're going to go already? You always leave me home by myself."

He accented his complaint with a loud, pronounced sigh at the end. I felt the same old strings of guilt, threaded tight into my conscience, being yanked at again. God, not the guilt trip. It's always the guilt trip. I stood up with only an apple to speak for all my time spent in the icebox. I had the unmistakable nagging sensation that he knew I was avoiding him. I tried to reassure him.

"Just for a couple hours. I'll be back before you know it, Mart. Maybe buy some groceries while I'm out." I shrugged off his attempts to guilt me, acting like I didn't notice.

"You're lying." He spoke bluntly, dropping his pompous voice and tricks.

I dropped the apple on the table, I wasn't hungry anyways, and turned to him. "Not this again, Martin. You're making me miserable with your complaints everyday. Don't you think there's a reason I'm hardly ever home?"

Tears threatened behind my eyes. I wasn't naturally confrontational, and I hated to be mean to him.

"Jeffery."

"What?" The tears quickly stoppered themselves. Annoyance and a tinge of anger took place. My hands clenched, and I realized my nails were digging into the creased centre of my palm. But I didn't care.

"Jeffery is the reason you're never home, isn't it? Why would you need me around when you've got him?" His melancholy voice never strayed from its monotonous, somber gloom.

"Is that it, Mart? It's because I'm-"

"Really bad at being my friend. Yes, that is it."

"God, don't interrupt me!"

I stormed out of the kitchen, fuming and determined to leave immediately when I heard his voice again, this time a quiet whisper. It was the last straw, and my anger came rushing out in a violent burst. I was back in the kitchen, screaming at him. Screaming like a madwoman at an inanimate object.

"I am not selfish. I should just unplug you and leave you at the dump! You've done nothing good for me in the whole of your existence. I could buy a new you for thirty bucks, and you know what? It wouldn't bother me."

"Yes it would."

I didn't reply because he was right. After an extensive pause, one where he said nothing and I hadn't moved, I spoke.

"D'you want to meet Jeff?"

"I hope you're joking." The monotony was gone, and I caught a bit of humour in his voice. "I'm a goddamn toaster."

I burst into laughter, doubled over as air struggled to flood into my body. When the laughter subsided and I finally caught my breath, I noticed Martin had been chuckling quietly under his breath, too. He wasn't mad anymore when he replied.

"Yeah, let's meet Jeff."