Inside the lighted display case was a doughnut, lemon custard filled to the point of divine corpulence. Thin glaze glistened like sweet perspiration. Margaret tapped on the glass at 12:23. “I’ll take that one.”
The pale man smiled; his black eyes blinked.”Shall I wrap it for you, madam?” Margaret had never seen him before; she was a local, and had been coming ’round the bakery every weekday during her lunch break for the past ten years. Every day she ran late, precisely on time.
“I’m in a hurry, sir, no thank you.” And on the counter Margaret placed one dollar twenty nine. “Erm, where is Harold?” she asked, taking possession of her vice. Her wet tongue swelled with the anticipation of sugar. She parted her lips, her teeth, then clenched; a burst of delicate lemon custard caused her to forget her inquiry–custard coated her throat, and she thought of the thick white glue she used in elementary school to secure raw macaroni to pink construction paper. Presents for her mother, so long ago, to be showcased on the refrigerator.
“Old Harold had an appointment. Try as he might, he couldn’t postpone. Oh, how he begged. You won’t beg, will you, Margaret?”
Margaret clawed at her throat, gasping–or trying to gasp–fighting for whatever air was available. Her lungs burned, a scream forever caught. And she fell dead at 12:28. Right on time. For once in her life.