Page 72

SPRUNG FORMAL

ROBERT LONG FOREMAN

BREAD / FROM WEIRD PIG: THE NOVELIZATION

Weird Pig had never made bread before, but he wanted to try something new. He wanted to have something, at last, that he knew how to do, something he was good at, something other than sinking down into the good, soft mud and ordering for his friends at restaurants. He had to start somewhere. He got some flour. He got baking powder and yeast. He got water and preheated the oven. He followed the directions. It is a bad idea, though, when following a recipe, to add new directions that go between the established ones. After following step 4 of the recipe for Celeste’s Sunflower-Oatmeal Bread, and seeing that step 5 says to let the dough rise at room temperature for 90 minutes, it isn’t necessary to insert a step 4.5, and find the author of the bread cookbook on Facebook and tell her in a direct message that 90 minutes is a very long time and that she should have made it not take as long when she wrote the directions. It isn’t her fault that it takes that long. It is the fault of the bread itself—or of the ingredients, and the chemical reactions that result in bread. Nowhere in the directions did it say that Weird Pig should eat all of the cheese in the kitchen. It wasn’t even his kitchen. It was the kitchen of a house he had broken into. He didn’t know who lived there. He didn’t know when the owner would come back. Maybe never, thought Weird Pig with a mouthful of cheese. Maybe they left for good, or died or whatever. Step 4.7 said that Weird Pig should get bored with baking bread and give up on the whole ordeal, as he would later call it. He turned the oven as high as it would go and stuffed in the contents of the refrigerator, everything that would fit. He broke a dozen eggs on the floor and set the living room couch on fire. He was in thrall to another set of directions, now. They whipped across the back of his mind when he was awake and when he slept like a demented stock ticker. It said he should dismantle all that had been assembled, that he should ruin all that had not yet been ruined. The instructions flew by so fast sometimes it made him dizzy. He could hardly keep up. He riffled through the upstairs bedroom and found a pearl necklace he put around his neck, and some rings that he stuffed in his pockets. The bread didn’t turn out well, not that Weird Pig stayed around to see how it would go. It merged with the rest of the house as it burned and collapsed in on itself. The house crushed the bread and everything turned to ash. Weird Pig leapt from a window just in time, after stopping to use the bathroom for ten minutes as the bathroom filled with smoke and the bedroom burned. He caught the branch of a tree and climbed down and strolled away like he’d had nothing to do with the bread and the house that went with it. By the next morning, he’d lost the jewelry and was ready to admit that the baking of the bread had not gone well. He thought next time he might try the Portugese Sweet Bread with Honey. Or, no, the Mile-High Popovers. Or, no, maybe something else. Or, no. No. No. 068

Sprung Formal Issue 11  
Advertisement