Gingermane (reflections of a semi-tough cookie)

Telluride Daily Planet, Sunday, February 26, 2012

[This interview follows a guided gingerbread “man” meditation from several weeks ago.]

MCW: So, here we are.  Thanks for agreeing to speak with me.

Gingerbread Being: You can pick me up, gently, so I can see you and so we can talk. And you shouldn’t make this sound like it was your idea.

MCW: Wow, you’re not just warm, you’re–

GB: Alive? [shrugs] What do you want me to say to that? Anyway–

MCW: Okay: it was your idea. You initiated this interview by peeling yourself off the sheet.

GB: And I speak for all 19 cookies cooling on that very sheet. Even the one you rolled out too thin and gave a crinkly leg.

MCW: Seriously– [staring at the cookie’s moving mouth] This is surprising.

GB: Oh really? Even given that last ridiculous piece of writing you did on our kind, filled with errors and gratuitous allusions? Well, I didn’t expect to wake up with Red Hots for eyes. Maybe that was the last straw.

MCW: [swallows] Sorry. I — didn’t have gumdrops.

GB: [rubs cinnamon studs with hand]. Everything looks and feels hot. Like pavement radiating heat. Or a cast iron pan left on the stove. I feel angry! [an eye falls out] [both are so stunned neither can speak for a moment]

GB: Actually, this is a little better. Aside from the humiliation. What were you doing making gingerbread beings, anyway, when you don’t even eat wheat.

MCW: I eat wheat sometimes. Wow, you smell so good. It’s just, there were so many comments on that last piece about you, however misguided the guided meditation may have been.

GB: Your cleverness won’t work on me. [sniffs] And regarding our smell: the smell of gingerbread is far too complex to explain to you in human terms. It goes beyond your three dimensions.

MCW:  Really?

GB: Yes. Complex aromas like ours can be gateways. Portals.

MCW: I had a feeling about that… But I mean, this whole thing… Isn’t this, like … life imitating art? I wrote about you and here you are.

BG: No: you baked us, and here we are.  And now I’m our collective mouthpiece – however much you overlooked our mouths. Because you were too lazy to ice.

MCW: [shrinking further] I’m sorry. I just, I wasn’t—

GB: Thinking? Marking your own words? Well. Good thing I have a gingerbread heart. With clove in it for human beings who gave us life, as a matter of fact.  With greatest clove for Elizabeth R. during whose reign we came into the most refined version of our being. Before that we were practically gingerbread troglodytes.

MCW: Are you going to tell me [bursts into laughter] that there are images of you on rocks and in caves, running after bison, spears in hand?

GB: Don’t be silly. But we used to be made in molds. We were small sculptures — intricately detailed spice cookie-cakes. In our heyday, we were sometimes gilded with real gold. Have you any idea what it feels like to have become a base sort of confectionary clip-art version of your best self?

MCW: No.

GB: Hahaha. That’s hilarious. I set you up! Humans probably peaked in the Renaissance as well. Things are a little rough around the edges right now in the 21st century, don’t you think?

MCW: What to you mean–

GB: Despite mass communication and technology. Despite flat screen TV’s and discoveries in quantum physics and everything else, the human race is alienated. Disconnected and self-medicating. You have the Red Hots for eyes! You palliate by replacing burning orbs with Valium tabs.

MCW:  Ouch. That is seriously harsh. Is that what you wanted to tell us all so badly?

GB: [head suddenly hanging] No, of course not. It’s this remaining Red Hot eye. I’m so sorry.

MCW: It’s okay. I understand. Please give me any message you might have for the human race. We can take it–

GB: There’s so much. But—

MCW: What? What is it?

GB: I’m almost completely cooled. I’m only alive to humans during the in-between state, cool enough to pick up but not yet completely hard. Now I’m –

MCW: No! Just give me one tip. One measly little suggestion or piece of wisdom I can use. Please-

GB: [mouth starting to freeze in the shape of an O] Stop. And … smell … the … clove.

[mouth turns up just slightly, and then freezes completely. Remaining Red Hot falls onto the floor, rolls three inches, and then stops]

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