Tag: cookies

Charlie’s Room: The Queen of Hearts

One morning, Charlie and Marianne left early to go to the garden store. Isaac was left behind to do paperwork and possibly spend some time reading if he got done early. Knowing Charlie and Marianne as well as he did, Isaac was pretty sure they’d go straight from the garden store to the garden in the backyard. His chances of having extra reading time were pretty good.

In fact, there wasn’t much paperwork to do, and Isaac was on the couch with a favorite novel fairly quickly. There is something about rereading an old favorite that is comforting, like a warm blanket on a cold day. Isaac was quickly wrapped up in what he was reading.

He had no idea how much time had passed when he heard some noises in the kitchen. Had Marianne and Charlie already returned and were now coming in from the garden? He looked at his book. He was only two chapters in. That shouldn’t be enough time for a typical garden center trip.

Something clattered on the floor in the kitchen. Isaac looked around for a bookmark and called out, “Is everything okay in there? Do you need some help?”

There was no response. Odd. Isaac grabbed one of the playing cards spread out on the end table. It looked like someone was playing a game and had left the cards out. He looked at the card he picked up as he marked his place in his book. The card was blank.

It sounded like someone was hitting the refrigerator with a wooden spoon. Isaac dropped the book on the couch and hurried into the kitchen. Someone actually was hitting the refrigerator with a wooden spoon.

She was thin, paper thin, and unnaturally tall. She looked like the drawing of the queen of hearts from a deck of cards, given a lower half and brought to life. But she didn’t look like a normal, living, breathing person. She looked like a living drawing, still two dimensional and drawn with dark black lines and colored in.

The kitchen was a mess. Flour, broken eggs, and milk puddles surrounded the paper queen. A cookie sheet was laying on the open oven door, dotted with odd looking misshapen lumps of dough.

“Can I help you?” Isaac asked.

“The knave of hearts stole my tarts. They must be replaced.” She pointed at the counter.

The jack of hearts card was propped up against a vase of lilies. The jack was munching a red heart that looked a lot like the one in the corners of his card and smirking.

Isaac frowned. “How did that happen?”

“Our cards were left out on a summer’s day.” She turned to the kitchen. “I would like to bake more tarts, but your kitchen is nothing like the one I’m used to.”

“I don’t know about tarts, but how does heart-shaped cookies sound?” Isaac asked.

“That would do.”

“Right. Let me find the recipe.” Isaac stepped over the mess and flipped through the pages of the family cookbook. “Here we are. I’ll get things ready.”

Grabbing a towel, he wiped up the mess, put the cookie sheet in the sink, and closed and preheated the oven. He rinsed and dried the cookie sheet, and began to mix up the cookie batter.

He rolled out the dough, and dug through the cupboard for the cookie cutters. “Which size?” He held up three different heart shapes.

“That one.” She pointed to the largest, plainest cookie cutter.

Isaac cut out the cookies and put them on the cookie sheet and into the oven. “Would you like them frosted?”

“No need,” the queen said.

They waited in silence, watching the oven. The moment the cookies were out of the oven, the queen picked up two very hot cookies in each hand and vanished.

“But they were still hot,” Isaac said to the jack, who was still propped up against the vase. Jack shrugged and looked over at the cookies still on the pan.

“I think you’ve had enough sweets today,” Isaac said. He picked up the card and went back to the living room. He stacked up the cards on the end table adding the jack of hearts to the pile, and put the cards in their cardboard box.

Then he pulled the card out of his book. He’d read the book often enough that saving his place didn’t really matter. The queen of hearts smiled up at him. He smiled back, and put the card in the box with the others.

Isaac left the box of cards on the shelf in Charlie’s room and went back to the kitchen to finish making the rest of the cookie dough into cookies. He frosted them and added sprinkles.

Marianne came in from the backyard as he was washing the last of the dishes. “Cookies!” Charlie rushed to the counter and leaned over the plate. His hand hovered over one of the cookies. “Can I have one?”

“Yes, of course.”

Charlie grinned and grabbed the cookie.

Marianne picked up a cookie with a smile. “I love these! What’s the occasion?”

“The world needed more cookies,” Isaac said. “It was an emergency.”

The Short Shelf Life of Cookies

Once there was a baker who was so tired that she mixed all her ingredients up and somehow ended up baking oatmeal raisin cookies that were alive. They didn’t have arms and legs like the little gingerbread boy from the story, so they didn’t get up and run away.

Instead, they sat and watched her with their little raisin eyes, and shrieked in terror if she stood too close. So, she left them to cool and left to make another batch. She was more careful with the second batch, and the cookies were perfectly normal.

She picked one up. No shrieking. She bit into it. There was a lot of screaming, but it was coming from the other side of the room.

The baker put the nice, normal cookie down with a sigh, and turned to face the terrified cookies still cooling on the cookie sheet.

“I’m not going to eat you,” she said. “I don’t eat anything that can ask me not to eat it.”

“Please don’t eat us,” the cookies said at once.

“I won’t. There. See? Everything is fine.” She stepped closer. The cookies watched her, but didn’t yell.

“So you’ll let us go?” one of the cookies asked.

“Go where?” the baker looked around the room. “Where would you go?”

“Someplace safe for cookies,” the cookie said.

The baker thought for a moment. Was there a place like that? “You know, the shelf life for cookies isn’t very good, but I could probably freeze you for up to a year.” She brought the cookies over to the freezer and set them inside. “See?”

“Too cold!” the cookies said.

“Well, then you’ll probably only last a week or so. That’s not long.”

“Can you take us to see the world?” one of the cookies asked.

“The world? In a week?”

And that is why the baker ended up sneaking a briefcase full of cookies into the movie theater. When the lights went out, she opened it on her lap and turned it to face the screen. She shushed the cookies when one of them started to talk, and they soon settled in to watch the film.

She had to close the briefcase a few times when someone passed by, but overall, the movie was a success. The trip to the library was less so. The cookies were completely unimpressed by the shelves of books.

“I don’t hear any stories,” one of the cookies said.

“I don’t see any stories,” another said.

The baker closed the briefcase and left the library. At the art museum, they were checking bags, so she turned and left without the cookies seeing anything at all. When she got back to her car, they were very disappointed, and complained loudly until she closed the briefcase again.

In the park, a dog ran up to the briefcase, barking and wagging his tail. The baker barely managed to close the briefcase before the dog ate any of the cookies. It was a very close call.

“We don’t want to see the world any more,” the cookies decided. “Let’s go back to the movies.”

The baker took a week off, and spent most of it at the movies with a briefcase full of living oatmeal raisin cookies. The cookies had many interesting questions about the movies they watched. They didn’t really understand the idea of fiction, and believed that every story they watched was completely true.

And so, after a film about a magical world, the cookies had many questions about magic. “Can we do magic?” one asked.

“Maybe,” the baker said. “Talking cookies already sounds kind of magical to me.”


The cookies began to whisper. They muttered to each other through the next two movies, but refused to tell her what they were talking about. The baker was a little nervous.

Everything seemed well when she covered them with a tea towel and left them on the counter that evening. She checked the movie schedule for the next day, and made a plan for what to see. The cookies probably only had a few good days left.

She paused to wonder what the effects of mold would be on the poor cookies. Would it make them lose their memories, or would they suddenly be angry or act like zombies? What would zombie cookies act like?

She never found out. The cookies were gone in the morning. Had they been eaten? Had they figured out magic and used it to transport themselves somewhere else? Maybe they started to mold a little early, and mold made talking cookies disappear?

The baker missed the cookies, but was rather relieved that she didn’t have to deal with zombie cookies. She really didn’t want to know what happened to someone bit by a zombie cookie.

After the cookies left, the baker was much more careful when she cooked, especially when she was tired. She also started watching more movies on her days off. And she never ate another oatmeal raisin cookie again. Even if they didn’t talk, it still felt like the raisins were watching her.

Charlie’s Room: An Unexpected Visitor

Marianne and Charlie loved to read. They would sit on the couch to read in the afternoon, and just tune out the world around them. When they were reading, they couldn’t hear anything.

The funny thing was that they would respond to questions, but their answers wouldn’t make any sense, and they wouldn’t remember later what they said. It was a little like sleep-talking, except they were awake. Isaac wondered if for them reading was like dreaming with their eyes open.

Isaac liked to read, too. However, he was able to hear the doorbell or the telephone when he was reading. If someone asked him a question, he could stop reading and answer the question and remember the conversation later.

One early December afternoon, when the weather was threatening snow but hadn’t yet delivered it, Marianne and Charlie were sitting side by side on the couch reading. They were bathed in the glow of the afternoon light streaming through the front window. Their eyes moved, and occasionally they turned a page, but otherwise they were as still as statues.

Isaac sat in a nearby chair. He had his book out, but he was daydreaming rather than reading. It was hard to focus on the page when there were so many things to think about. Just as he prepared to reread the third paragraph on the page for the fourth time, the doorbell rang.

Marianne and Charlie read on. Isaac sat up and looked around for a bookmark. He found a crossword puzzle magazine and closed it inside his book and set it on the low table nearby. And then he went to answer the door.

No one was standing on the doorstep. Isaac almost closed the door, when a giant white bird flew into the narrow opening and shoved passed Isaac into the house. Isaac pulled the door open a little wider and looked around quickly.

There wasn’t anything scary chasing the bird. There wasn’t anyone running around trying to find their lost bird. There weren’t any other white birds waiting for their chance to fly into the house.

Isaac decided to leave the door open while he found the bird and hopefully chased it back outside. First, he looked into the living room. Marianne and Charlie were still on the couch reading.

“Did the big white bird fly in here?” he asked.

“What kind of bird was it?” Marianne asked, still reading.

“I don’t know. It was big and white and inside the house.”
“Hmmmmm.” Charlie turned a page. “It was probably a chicken.”

“I don’t think so. I do know what chickens look like,” Isaac said.

“Of course you do,” Marianne agreed.

Isaac shook his head and left to check the kitchen. The bird wasn’t there. It was in Charlie’s room. Of course. It was in his closet sitting on a pile of shoes. It hissed at Isaac when he walked in the room.

“I’m afraid you’ll have to spend the winter somewhere else,” he told the bird. “I could maybe spare a corner of the garden shed, if you’re interested.”

The bird hissed.

Isaac left for a moment and returned with a large towel. “I’m going to drop this on you, and wrap you up and take you outside,” he said in what he hoped was a reassuring voice.

The bird hissed louder and tried to peck at him. Isaac wasn’t sure he was brave enough to try to catch the bird in the towel. He’d have to go rather close to that largish beak.

New plan. Isaac retrieved his hidden stash of oatmeal raisin cookies. He would be happy to share his treats with a hungry bird, especially if that meant the bird would be able to continue whatever it was doing before it came inside.

He broke a cookie and tossed half of it in the bird’s direction The bird snapped it up and ate it. Isaac waved the other half of the cookie invitingly and backed up.

The bird flew at him, and knocked him over. Then it took the other half of the cookie and ate it. Isaac curled around the cookie tin and got up, backing out of the room.

He opened the tin and took out another cookie and broke it. The bird turned and looked at him. Isaac hurried down the hall. He made it to the entryway before the bird knocked him over and took both halves of the cookie.

Isaac stood and brushed himself off. Then he opened the tin, took out a cookie, and tossed it out the front door. The bird followed it out. Isaac closed the door. And then he locked it just in case.

He looked out the back door. No bird. He slipped out and closed the door. He left the shed door partly open, just as he promised.

Then he returned inside. He paused, waiting for a moment to see if the doorbell would ring again. Nothing. Perhaps the bird was really gone now. Maybe it was just hungry.

He returned to the living room and sat down. He picked up his book. The magazine slid out and he lost his place. He sighed and put the book back down.

Marianne closed her book and looked up. “What on earth were you doing?” She asked. “You’re covered in crumbs and you have feathers in your hair.”

“We had an unexpected visitor,” Isaac said.

Charlie’s Room: Little Mittens

Every evening when the weather was cold, Isaac left out a saucer of milk on the counter. Marianne and Charlie both asked about it a few times. He told them it was for passing hobgoblins who often migrated this time of year.

He really wasn’t sure whether they believed him or not, but they accepted it as a seasonal part of his bedtime routine. When the leaves changed colors and the air grew crisp, it was time to take out the little white saucer. They smiled when they saw it.

“It is getting a little chilly out,” Marianne said.

“It’s officially fall now,” Charlie agreed. “Dad’s leaving milk out on the counter.”

Some mornings the milk was gone. Some mornings it wasn’t. He never knew when hobgoblins or even brownies or fairies would be passing through. So, he always made sure to leave out the milk.

One morning, the milk was gone, and next to the saucer was a tiny pair of black and white striped mittens. Isaac, who had been reaching for the saucer, paused and looked around. No one in sight.

Perhaps they were just waiting for him to leave the room before coming back for their mittens. He quickly washed the saucer and put it away. Then he left the room for a little while. He could eat breakfast later.

But later, when Charlie and Marianne were ready for breakfast and they all went into the kitchen, the little mittens were still there. Charlie picked them up and stuck his fingertips into the mittens, stretching them out of shape. “I know Aunt Doris still things I’m little, but this is ridiculous.”

Marianne laughed. “Aunt Doris didn’t send those. They look like doll mittens. I wonder where they came from.”

“Some hobgoblins must have left them,” Isaac said. “It’s the right time of year for them, and the mittens were right by the empty saucer this morning.”

Marianne smiled brightly and nodded. “That’s right, the hobgoblins. And they report to Santa, don’t they? So you’d better be good, Charlie.”

“I thought it was elves that reported to Santa.” Charlie frowned. “And I’m always good. When am I not good? I don’t need goblins watching me.”

“Maybe we could bake cookies for the goblins later.” Marianne started shuffling through the box of cookie cutters. “They’d have to be little cookies, of course.”

Charlie sat up straighter. “Cookies? Sure. We could bake some for the goblins and some for us, right?”

“They’re hobgoblins,” Isaac corrected, but they were too busy hunting through the cookie cutters, and he needed to leave for work. He let it be.

That evening, he left the mittens and cookies by the saucer of milk before bed. After reading to Charlie, he joined Marianne in the living room. She looked up from her book when he sat down.

“Goblin mittens? That was such a cute idea. Where did you find them?” she asked.

“Hobgoblin mittens. They were there by the saucer.” Isaac shrugged.

Marianne laughed. “I see. Well, I look forward to seeing if they leave anything behind tomorrow.”

The next morning, there was a little thank you note by the saucer. The mittens and cookies were gone. Marianne and Charlie started leaving small things for the hobgoblins from time to time, and the hobgoblins always left a thank you note. However, they never left behind any more mittens.

Gingerbread Peril

Once there was a little old woman who was baking a tray of lovely gingerbread aliens. After they cooled, she piped icing onto each little alien, making sure that they had three eyes and ten limbs and rainbow freckles. Just as she finished the last freckle on the last alien, the whole tray of cookies sat up, jumped out of the pan, and slid down the legs of the table.

The little old woman stood up so quickly that her chair fell down behind her with a thud. Unfortunately, the aliens were already at the front door. They slipped through the mail slot one by one before she could catch them.

She threw open the front door and ran down the first three steps in her slippers. The gingerbread aliens had all disappeared. “Come back,” she called to her empty front yard. “I need you for the bake sale. The choir needs new robes.”

But the gingerbread aliens did not come back. They hid under the rose bush until she went back inside. Then they crept around the edge of the yard and through the picket fence. The first alien frosted was the oldest of the group, so he was in charge and led the way.

They passed a yard with a wire fence. Behind the fence, a big black dog barked loudly. “Come here, little cookies,” he said. “I am hungry, and I think it’s been a million years since I last ate.”

“What good would that do us?” the oldest alien asked.

“What else are cookies good for?”

The gingerbread aliens all scowled with all three of their eyes. The dog took a step back. The aliens kept walking. “We are not here for bake sales or feeding dogs,” the oldest cookie said as they left.

“Then why are you here?” the dog asked. But the gingerbread aliens were all gone. “Come back,” he called. “I’m so hungry. Come back!”

But the aliens did not come back. They kept walking.

The oldest alien led them to a stream. A fox was sunning himself on the bank. He stood up as they arrived. “Do you need a ride across the stream? I could carry you on my back.”

The gingerbread aliens conferred in a murmur. “What is the cost?” the oldest cookie asked at last.

The fox smiled, showing off his sharp teeth. “I would only eat a few of you. Maybe five or six.”

“No.” The cookies turned and started walking alongside the stream.

“What else are cookies good for?” the fox called after them. But the gingerbread aliens were gone. The fox laid back down with a huff and fell asleep.

The cookies eventually reached a bridge. At this point, their many feet were crumbly and their icing was sticky. “Just a little further,” the oldest said.

But, as they reached a bridge, out jumped a troll. “Anyone who crosses my bridge must pay a toll,” he said.

“We won’t allow you to eat any of us,” the oldest gingerbread alien said. All the cookies glared fiercely.

“Trolls don’t eat sugar. That’s poison to us. I want gold or meat.”

The oldest cookie pointed further down the bank in the opposite direction. “Like that?”

The troll turned. He squinted. “Like what?” But when he turned back around, the gingerbread aliens were gone. “Come back. You didn’t pay the toll,” he bellowed. But the cookies did not come back.

They were already across the bridge and walking through the meadow on the other side. They darted towards a metal lump leaning against the fence on the far side of the meadow. It looked a bit like two large cake pans stuck together.

As the cookies approached the lumpy metal thing, they disappeared one by one, oldest to youngest. And then the lumpy metal thing rose in the air and disappeared.

Two doughnuts were inside already and began passing around paperwork. “How did it go? Did everyone make it back?”

The oldest gingerbread alien sighed. “Yes, but I would recommend scrapping the randomizer. It’s far too risky. I don’t think the camouflage potential is worth the risk. How long until this wears off?”

“Tomorrow somebody is going to have a batch of cookies back. And two doughnuts.”

The gingerbread alien sighed. “Well, maybe she’ll have something for her bake sale after all. I’m just glad it won’t be us. Cookies lead a hard life. Everyone wants to eat them.”

“Sure,” the doughnut said. “What else are cookies good for?”

Charlie’s Room: Forever Young

Charlie and Marianne were at the grocery store, buying supplies. In the morning, they’d all be leaving on a road trip to visit Aunt Doris. Isaac had packed and re-packed the car with the things they didn’t need before they left.

It was twilight, just at that point where he probably should turn the lights on, but didn’t quite need to yet. He decided it wasn’t quite worth the bother. Instead, he looked out the window and watched as the trees tossed about their branches in the unseen breeze. It looked like they were dancing.

Isaac didn’t particularly want to visit Aunt Doris. She was always pointing out people’s faults and asking nosy questions. Time spent with her seemed to stretch longer than otherwise possible.

But, he felt guilty even thinking that. He knew that she was lonely, and she probably pointed out mistakes in an attempt to help. It had been years since they last visited her. She visited them several times in the past year alone, so it really was their turn to visit.

Often, Isaac felt like there was a younger Isaac in his mind. Younger Isaac said what he thought, was selfish sometimes and kind sometimes, and mostly wanted to have fun. When he had to sit and pay bills, the part of his mind that complained and tried to put off the task was younger Isaac.

Younger Isaac thought that if they were going on a road trip, they should go somewhere fun. Isaac thought wistfully of historical monuments and national parks and roller coasters. He’d checked to see what was on the way, but because his vacation time was limited, they didn’t have many travel days.

In his mind, younger Isaac sat next to him on the couch, watching the trees dance in the twilight. Without turning to look at him, younger Isaac sighed. “Can’t you sleep any less? It would give you more time.”

Isaac thought about his travel schedule. “Nope. I’m old now. If I don’t sleep, I wouldn’t be able to drive safely. It’s different when you’re younger and can sleep in the car if you need to.”

Younger Isaac made a face. “I forgot. You’re old now. But do we have to spend so long with Aunt Doris?”

“She and Marianne have plans. Marianne’s excited.”

Younger Isaac turned to look at him. “It’s mostly shopping, isn’t it?”

Isaac nodded. “And gardening.”

“Why are we even doing this? Couldn’t you pretend to be too sick to go? Pretend you sprained your ankle?”

Isaac shrugged. “Marianne likes her Aunt. Aunt Doris sent her a birthday card with a dollar in it every year. Marianne looked forward to it, and she still does. Aunt Doris brought presents when she visited and cared about what Marianne was doing. She turned up for every recital and graduation. She’s important to Marianne, and Marianne’s important to me.”

Younger Isaac sighed again. “So we have to go.” He sat up suddenly. “But I bet they’ll want some time with just the two of them, right? To catch up and stuff. So maybe we could take Charlie somewhere fun. Anything fun near Aunt Doris’s house?”

“There’s the cheese museum.” Isaac thought for a moment. “I think there’s a nice library, too.”

“That’ll do. See, it won’t be so bad. If she drives you crazy, you can go somewhere fun with Charlie.” Younger Isaac started to fade away. “Man, why is being a grown up so complicated? I don’t feel any older at all.”

And he was gone, and Isaac was watching the trees by himself. It was really starting to get dark. Just as he had almost convinced himself to go turn on the light, it turned on. The light was blinding for a moment, and he blinked a few times and turned to see Charlie grinning in the doorway, his hand still on the light switch.

“Why are you sitting here in the dark?” Charlie asked.

Isaac looked at the window. It was mirror-like now the light was on. He couldn’t see the trees dance anymore. “I was just thinking.”

Charlie sat down on the couch, in the spot where Isaac had imagined his younger self sitting. “Were you thinking about the trip? It’s going to be great! We bought those jelly beans that come in millions of flavors, and Mom says that there are fireflies out now in Aunt Doris’s yard. I don’t remember ever seeing fireflies. We can stay up late to see them, right?”

Isaac smiled. “Of course we can. That sounds fun. And maybe we can visit the cheese museum.”

Charlie grinned. “And bake cookies with Aunt Doris and make ice cream sandwiches with them. Mom knows where the best place for ice cream is by Aunt Doris’s house. And Aunt Doris will let us pick all the strawberries we want. This is going to be the best trip ever.”

“Then we need to get to bed soon so we’re not too sleepy in the morning. Brush your teeth and get your pajamas on and meet your mom and I in here for prayers.” Isaac stood up and watched him go. Time to go find Marianne and see how the grocery shopping went.

“Fireflies sound nice,” younger Isaac whispered in the back of his mind. “And I like ice cream. Maybe this won’t be so bad after all.” Isaac grinned and went to find Marianne.