A Short Story About Breakfast
When I wake up on Mondays, my fridge is usually empty. I generally go shopping on Tuesday, but today I decided not to eat at the cafe downstairs. Instead, I would eat what little I had left in the fridge. I grabbed the handle and pulled it towards me, and I was faced with two options. The yogurt from two months ago, and a small bag of carrots. I leaned my head over one of the drawers inside of it, and recoiled in shock. There was a carton of eggs. I haven’t eaten an egg in years, after what happened last time, but there they were. Maybe my roommate bought them? I had to eat breakfast, so I leaned back and stuck one arm in the fridge, almost as if I was attempting to remove it while socially distancing myself from it, like I had to keep it as far away from myself as possible. I despised eggs, but I still had to eat breakfast. Before cracking it on the pan, I washed my hands with plenty of soap, and put on gloves. Now I was safe to touch it. I lightly tapped the shell of the egg on the pan. Nothing. I tapped it harder. Nothing. Finally, I hit the egg against the pan, and dropped it in. It sizzled as a white and yellow dotted disk formed on the pan. Now I don’t know what to do. I haven’t cooked an egg in years. While it sizzled on the pan, I washed my hands again, then made sure I hadn’t spilled any egg on the counter. At first, there was nothing there. My kitchen was clean. I thought I was safe until my dog, Muffin, trotted over and sat by my island. I walked up to pet him, but then I saw it: a drop of uncooked egg on the rim of his food bowl. I jumped backwards in fear of getting the toxic goop on my skin, and stepped on Muffin’s tail. He leapt backwards with me and we both fell onto the carpet. Now we were both on the floor. Slowly, I got back up, and leaned over his food bowl. I moved forward on my hands and knees to look, and the drop of egg yolk that once was in Muffin’s food bowl had been absorbed into my light grey cotton t-shirt when I fell over on top of it.
When I was little, I watched a show called “Tom and Jerry” where a cat and mouse perform extravagant stunts and tricks to escape each other’s traps. Before this moment, I never thought I would be able to scramble as fast as they did. Muffin watched from his beanbag as I leaped like a cat scared of a cucumber to the balcony of my ninth floor apartment unit, ripped my shirt off, and threw it out into the air. It drifted down to the sidewalk, and onto the head of my neighbor who was eating breakfast at the cafe. She looked up. I looked down. We didn’t make eye contact. She removed the wet sleeve of my shirt from her coffee and dropped it on the floor as if she was handling a dirty tissue. I don’t blame her. If she knew what was really on it, she would take off her shirt as well. Muffin got off of his seat as I walked back inside. There was some fur missing from where I stepped on his tail. He was safe for now, but his bowl was still infected. I made a mental note to clean that later when I walked around the corner to a nasty surprise: I never finished dealing with the egg. The toxic contents of my pan were bubbling and popping onto the wall, and my counter was covered in a smattering of gooey yellow and white egg yolk liquid.
Almost reflexively, I sprinted towards the stove and spun the igniter clockwise to cut off the gas. The flame became minuscule for a second before it ceased to invoke bubbles in the egg. I lunged for the sacred roll of paper towels before it too was consumed by the salmonella filled goop I had made, when I made eye contact with Muffin’s grey and white spotted face as he mischievously jumped up on the kitchen counter. My Amazon Alexa heard the noises of the pots and pans that Muffin pushed over, clattering to the floor, and she must have interpreted that as a command to start blasting my 80’s rock playlist on the TV speakers. I returned my attention to Muffin, who was small enough to fit in the gap between the top of my toaster oven and the bottom of my hanging cabinets. The sea of egg yolk was moving towards the edge of the island, and he was no longer able to jump back to the floor without making the mess worse. I watched in horror as Muffin, startled by the sound of Ozzy Ozbourne’s high pitched voice in the beginning of the song ‘Crazy Train,’ lunged off of the toaster and headed towards the egg-soaked floor when his leg caught on the top of the egg carton, yanking all 11 of the remaining eggs down with him. I heard a thud when he hit the floor, and his fur was covered in the yolk of all of the 12 eggs that were once in their shells, only one of which was originally intended to be cracked.
I looked down at Muffin’s new face. What used to be grey and white was now yellow. The rest of his fur was dripping with the contents of a chicken’s unhatched offspring. My head still hadn’t fully understood what he had just done. He climbed on top of my toaster, then jumped back down to the floor pulling the entire carton of eggs with him. Something in my head clicked right then, and I realized what would have to be done: Muffin would need to be banished out the window, just like my favorite shirt which I was wearing earlier. I crouched down on the floor and pointed towards the balcony. I instructed him, “Out.” He was still shaking after he fell off the counter, but that didn’t matter. Him and his salmonella filled face were contaminating my apartment. He would have to go. I pulled out a broom from my closet, and poked him with it to get him to pay attention. “Out, Muffin. Out.” I pushed him forward with the brushed side of the broom. He still wouldn’t get up. “Muffin, out. Now.” I slid him another foot towards the balcony door with the broom. There was a translucent trail of goop in his wake. “Muffin! Get out of my apartment.” He let out a quiet whimper, but managed to crawl to the glass door. I walked around him, careful not to step in any stray egg, and pulled open the door. We both walked outside. I slid my broom underneath his chest, and lifted him off of the floor. All four of his legs were dangling below him.
The coffee shop nine floors below me has a decorative fountain below the edge of my floor. That was where I was aiming. With Muffin hooked on my broomstick, his legs swinging down beneath him and his face looking directly at me, I raised the broom and held him over the edge. He was shivering in the wind, and droplets of egg yolk were blowing off of him.
A crowd of people gathered below me, including the neighbor who I dropped my shirt on earlier. She looked up at me once again, and almost immediately her face turned to shock as she saw what I was doing. They shouted at me not to drop him, and that everything would be fine, and that they would help, but I couldn’t believe them. The egg had already stained Muffin, and nobody would be able to clean it.
I began turning the wooden handle to drop him down, when my eyes met his and stayed there. I suddenly saw the fear and betrayal in his eyes, and understood what I was doing to him. He was in pain, and I was about to drop him off of the balcony of my ninth floor apartment because of what, some egg? What the f*ck am I doing?! His death would certainly NOT be the result of my irrational fear of salmonella! I put Muffin back on the floor, and proceeded to clean up the mess I made. I looked at my kitchen. The counters, the floor, and my toaster were covered in egg, but instead of infectious goop, I saw something very different: something that I would be able to clean.