the short story project


Pudding Trial

Dan‘s preoccupied with thoughts of pudding.

“Brownie,” was the word that slipped unwanted from his mouth causing a ripple of laughter to pass across the room.

“I beg your pardon,” said the Judge.

Whilst his recurring dream of giving a presentation to some very important people, only to discover that he has nothing on, and that the slides he’s showing them are detailed pictures of his genitals was the worst embarrassment Dan thought he could face, this was proving to be a solid second.

“I’m so sorry Your Honour, I don’t know what came over me,” Dan says, his voice breaking mid-sentence.

Dan did know and cursed ordering the Quinoa Salad at lunch. His unsatisfied stomach had been growling at him like a drunken priest since they’d returned.

As far as he was concerned its proof that Salad is good for nothing. Sure, no one had ever died from having a colon packed with undigested Quinoa. But, if this was to end in jail-time his colon could end up packed with much worse.

“Good. This isn’t a restaurant after all. Have you anything more to add to your closing statement?”

“No, Your Honour,” he says, adjusting his wig and returning to the bench.

Across the other side of the courtroom Dan can hear the whispers of Mike, the barrister for the prosecution, jeering at him. Turning, he’s presented with Mike holding his right hand up to his forehead to make an ‘L’ shape with his fingers.

Dan flips him the bird. Mike puts the back of his hand to his forehead and pretends to faint dramatically. The court clerk joins the pantomime, reaching over and wafting the court papers at him until Mike comes to. They crease up with laughter before doing the exploding fist-bump thing and making the wanker gesture at Dan.

“Now, would the prosecution please give its rebuttal?”

“Thank you, Your Honour,” Mike says, striding from behind his bench to address the Jury. “Now, I know what you’re all thinking,”

He looks around at the expectant faces of the Jury and public gallery, taking a moment to enjoy the anticipation in the room as he lets them hang.

“You’re thinking how soon is it going to be before this one starts shouting about pudding?” He gives a modest nod of appreciation at the chuckles from the room. “But fear not, we’re not all sugar-addled maniacs that sit shaking at their benches wondering where the next hit of Canderel will come from. Now, my honourable friend here would have you believe blah, blah, blah…”

Dan knows he should pay attention, but his concentration is long gone. The noise from his howling gut is drowning out everything else. Its desperate yearning for sustenance is his only priority.  He hadn’t quite realised just how desperate the situation was until Mike, long and gangly limbed, turned into a walking hotdog. His Beechwood scent wafting by deliciously. Dan would worry about the Freudian implications if he wasn’t so damn hungry. He tries to shrug it off, but the stenographer is tapping away on a prime Christmas ham.

Shaking, he takes a sip of water and runs a hand across his brow when a troupe of dancing Profiteroles comes high-kicking into the courtroom.

He blinks, watching mesmerised as their swirling, and grinding hips pass his bench. One reaches out to run a finger under his chin. The smell of the butter and cocoa is intoxicating.

“Nice to meet Choux,” he says with all the eyebrow raising James Bond panache he can muster. It turns away giggling coquettishly. That kind of line had never worked before, but here and now, he’s killing it.

A group of slutty red velvet cakes push through the high-kicking line. Standing in front of his bench they strut and thrust through a teasing burlesque routine, offering a brief and tantalising glimpses of their butter cream.

Animalistic instinct surges through his body and he goes to stand up when a Lemon Meringue carrying a horse whip puts a leather high-heeled boot into his chest and forces him back down into his chair.

“You vant them?” it asks, brandishing the whip towards the cavorting Choux.

“Maybe,” he says, somewhat taken aback.

The crack of the whip across his thighs is both intensely painful and thrilling. The Lemon Meringue strides forward and grabs him by the face.

“Vell, you can’t have zem,” it says, whispering into his ear. “All you are allowed iz zis,”

It raises its heeled boot up to his mouth.


Dan hesitates for a moment. The hesitation is brief, but long enough to trigger another crack from the horsewhip. So he places a long, enthusiastic lick down the leather.

“Zat’s my good girl,”

“Now then. Let’s not have any more of this type of thing,” Fruit Salad says barging through, trying to separate them. Before some Churros grab it from behind, press a rag to its face until it goes limp and drag it away to the back of the room somewhere.

The Lemon Meringue steps forward again and raises the whip.

“Zell, lover boy. Looks like you’re all mi…”

But Dan’s attention is no longer on it. He’s gazing past it, his face a picture of wondrous delight. Then, he’s up and out of his chair, pushing past the puddings, which are all vying for his attention, but he doesn’t hear them, his attention is elsewhere. The crowd is thick and his progress is slow as if swimming against the tide. Then, with a drop of a shoulder he throws himself through a gap, sliding on his knees. Coming to a stop, he looks up, mouth agape.

Sat, coyly wrapping its finger around some spun sugar, is a Chocolate brownie. Upon seeing Dan it sniggers bashfully. But, unperturbed he strides forward and offers his hand.

It regards it for a moment before taking it with a raised pinky. Then together they share a moment in each other’s eyes, before melting into the most sensual of kisses.

The deserts burst into song, gathering round the kissing couple in celebration. Forming a hand-in-hand circle, they dance and sing.

Chocolate bars of all varieties descend from the floor above, rolling down ribbons Cirque du Soleil-style.

Bright-coloured blasts of sprinkles erupt around the room like confetti, fired from cream-horn canons operated by lollipop men.

The pairs kissing intensifies. They slump intertwined on the floor, fondling and caressing. Dan manoeuvres himself on top before removing his shirt. He looks down at the brownie, but its smile turns to a grimace.

“What in God’s name are you doing man?” it asks.

Dan’s bewildered. “What? What do you think I’m…”

His vision blurs, so he rubs his eyes. He blinks and realises the room is no longer filled with pudding. Blinking again, the brownie is gone. He’s stood, minus his wig, gown and shirt, grinding against the leg of an elderly woman from the Jury who is aghast.

The room is silent, except for one voice he hears say “Are you getting all this?”

“It’s not what it looks like,” he says, pleading with the room, but the stunned faces from the public gallery scream condemnation. “I thought she was… I thought she was a brownie,”

Mike steps forward to comfort the confused old lady. He takes her hand before turning to Dan. “Dude. It’s bad enough what you’ve done, but there’s no need to get racist about it,”

He turns to the Judge, hoping for understanding, but with a face of thunder and his gavel raised, understanding will not be coming.

Dan bolts, making for the exit, but is tackled by a burly security guard. More security pile on top. As he lies squashed at the bottom, a muffled voice can be heard asking:

“Is that a Twix in your pocket?”

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