It was a new day in the Deen household and the sun shone like a mustard stain on the blue apron of the sky. Paula heard the call of the rooster she would consume later that day and tried to roll out of bed, but was too heavy to escape her indented mattress. Instead, she rotated on her sheets in place like a rotisserie chicken. This analogy made Paula drool a little onto her pillow as she imagined the warm sun cooking her juicy flesh until it was ready to be slathered in marinade. Paula decided to spend just a few more moments in bed fantasizing before going downstairs to make breakfast.
Paula rode the elevator she had installed down to the first floor and walked eagerly out the back door to her outdoor kitchen. She liked to spend as much time as possible in her outdoor kitchen, looking over the backyard she had converted into a field of swaying corn. Around the porch she had decorated with tall vases of daisies, which reminded her of eggs.
After taking a deep whiff of corn, Paula headed for the freezer. She removed two of the Jimmy Dean microwaveable breakfasts from the stack. “God bless you, Jimmy,” she said. She had always looked up to him, what with their similar last names and all. Real or not, he was a sort of role model in her life. The thought of rolls made Paula think of those she would be eating along with the rooster, as well as the rolls on her own body. She began drooling again and fell to the linoleum floor seizing, her heart palpitating, fortunately, with pleasure this time.
Once she had eaten her frozen breakfast, she could concentrate on the real work of the morning, preparing lunch for the guests of her tupperware party at which she would promote her new line of Deen-ware storage containers to all her Southern ladyfriends. Paula sighed. All this fame and commercialization had led her to stray from her personal philosophy: “Honey, the mouth is the best tupperware.” Was she giving the public the wrong idea?
To get her mind off these wistful thoughts, Paula began to improvise the meal fro the afternoon. Immediately, she grabbed one of the sticks of butter she had bundled up like firewood next to the stove. She put the whole thing in a pan to soften up—she would find something to use it for later. Afterward, she checked the meat supply in the fridge. Seeing a frozen ham, she recoiled in horror and instinctually shielded her head. “Dwayne!” she hollered to one of the menservants she kept around the periphery. “Go slaughter that rooster! Chop chop.” She laughed a snorty laugh at her joke.
Paula heated up six frying pans on the stove, ready for whatever she decided to put on them. She liked to think of it as a sort of canvas for the culinary masterpiece to come. As she gathered some essential ingredients (sugar, flour, bread crumbs, lard, grits), she began to feel uneasy, as if she was being watched. Soon she discovered why. All around her kitchen she had placed unopened boxes of Deen-ware, and taking up an entire side of each box was a photograph of herself. But the photograph had been edited too far. They had taken out all of the wrinkles, even those any regular person’s face would have. And her eyes—they had buffered the shine from her pupils, leaving her with the lifeless stare of a porcelain zombie.
Nervously, Paula began mixing dough for the rolls. She added eggs, flour, sugar, the butter that had been waiting. She kept thinking about her photograps, so she threw in some nutmeg and vanilla to distract herself. She ripped open a package of bacon and began frying it, then started some onions and potatoes for good measure.
By accident, she eyed one of her dead-eyed faces staring at her. Behind it, she imagined the skeleton that would outlast her precious fleshy cheeks. In shock, she flinched, in the process tossing the eggs in her hand over her shoulder. Fortunately they landed on the stove, broken shells mingling with the bubbling yolks. Hands trembling, she turned around and continued mixing the batter for the rolls, but it kept spilling over the side onto the stove. The spoon fell out of her hand into the eggy batter. Manic-eyed, she used her hands to mix the frying eggs with the batter, raking in the contents of the other frying pans in the process. “I’ll call them my Sugary Sweet Omelet Rolls. Yeah. Yeah,” she said, panting. She drooled into her concoction, both agitated and hungry. Soon, she couldn’t take it anymore and spread the bacon potato onion drool batter all over her face in a mad battle of tongue, teeth, fingers, and dough. She slipped on some of her drool and convulsed on the floor, licking whatever came into her path.
Right then, Mr. Deen walked in. He dropped his briefcase and stared in open-mouthed surprise at his wife. Eyeing the concoction spread all over his wife’s quivering body, he opened his mouth in a proud smile. “Why Paula, you’ve done it again!”