"Eat this," a tired-looking man in business-casual said, setting down a plate in front of Andrew. He had been escorted to a small room furnished with only a table. He looked down and blinked at the plate. On it sat a round, 12" circular birthday cake, with frosting, bearing the words "Happy Birthday Dana". Confused, he looked back up to the man. "I'm sorry…what?"
He looked back down and looked at the cake before looking back up. "All of it?"
Andrew looked at the cake once more and then picked up the provided spoon. This must be some kind of science experiment. Resigning himself to the fact that he was probably a lab rat, and at least brightened by the prospect of cake, he took a bite. It was alright. It tasted store-bought. Yellow cake, vanilla frosting. But he sadly did not get far before looking back up again. "I hate to ask…can I get some milk?"
The man looked over to the wall at the one-way mirror. A few minutes later another man came in with a gallon of milk and a glass. Impressed with his luck, Andrew poured one and downed it before starting on the cake again. The first half was decently easy, but once he passed two-thirds he had begun to slow. Even the milk was little help. The man noticed, surely, and kept looking at the one-way mirror. Long minutes passed in-between slow bites, but finally, a half-gallon of milk later, the task had been completed. Andrew was escorted out and placed back in his holding cell.
Andrew loved to eat.
That had been his downfall, really; his love of eating. Of food in general. Food of all kinds. It was for this reason that he opened his New York bistro, Andy's. And things were good then…that is, until another Andy, the mayor's son, showed up with his thugs. Andy took a liking to Andrew's restaurant, and started hassling him. He demanded a cut of the business, or his father would have his shop shut down. Andrew's mistake was that he said no. And the next thing he knew the kid 's friend was reaching for a gun, and Andrew dove behind the counter and grabbed his. Andrew was quicker than the rest of them.
Andrew was returned to the room with the table on the second day. "Eat this," the man said, presenting him with another cake. the icing read "Happy Birthday Don." He was also provided, once more, with milk.
Andrew ate the cake again, with no complaint, though it did not seem as delicious this time. Perhaps it was the cake from the day before. Either way, he took much longer to consume the thing, and afterward, he laid his head in his hands. "Oh, I think I'm gonna be sick." He was swiftly returned to his cell, where he promptly threw up a good portion of the dessert.
"Eat this," The man said, presenting a cake reading "Happy birthday Bob".
"Why am I doing this?" Andrew asked between bites.
"That's none of your concern."
"Who makes these? Do you order them?"
"That's none of your concern."
"I used to run a bistro. We ordered our cakes."
"Fascinating. Now eat."
Andrew scowled and returned to his meal, which he completed in silence. Once again, his stomach could not handle the dessert, and emptied upon his return to his cell.
The next day he took a lot longer to start. "I appreciate the cake," he said, looking down at the cake reading "Happy Birthday Bill", "But this is a hell of a lot of cake to eat every day."
"You must eat."
Andrew scowled again before returning to his meal.
The next day he was joined by another inmate. This one, designated D-2886, was a large, flabby Hispanic man. After expressing some surprise as to the task at hand, he eagerly split the cake with Andrew. Andrew was happy to not have an entire cake to eat, even though 2886 drank most of the milk.
He tried sparking up a conversation, but discovered that the man did not speak any English. They shared their cake and milk, and all was right with the world.
A week later, however, 2886 got tired of cake. He took a few bites and then stopped. The man pointed at the cake. "Es necesario que usted coma." 2886 shook his head. Andrew continued to eat, but watched the exchange with interest. The man repeated his phrase and jabbed his finger toward the cake. In a flurry of motion, 2886 grabbed the cake and threw it right in the man's face. And then, miraculously, a new cake appeared on the table, as if from thin air. The man, 2886, and Andrew all looked at it for a long moment, and then the man drew his gun at 2886 and fired. 2886 lay dead on the floor as the man turned to Andrew. "Eat it."
Andrew complied hastily.
Weeks passed. Each day was a new name on the cake. Other inmates came and went, with varying degrees of enthusiasm for the task, but Andrew always stayed. Perhaps they knew he would eat the cake by himself if he had to. Perhaps it was his quiet acceptance of the task presented. For whatever reason, he always ate the cake, and never further did he complain.
One day Andrew was escorted into the room with the table. The man seemed a little different. A bit of a smile graced the sides of his mouth as he presented the plate. On it was a cake bearing the words "Happy Bar Mitzvah Steven". The man also presented him with a gallon of milk and, for the first time, a cup of coffee.
"This is different," Andrew remarked, cutting a spoonful of cake out of the molded dessert.
The man shrugged. "I've been told you're being kept around a while. You should consider yourself lucky. Most of the time we get rid of you guys."
Andrew sighed and took a bite. "Wonderful. I should mention that I hate cake."
"Well think of it this way. Those cakes are keeping you alive."
Andrew thought about this and took a sip of the coffee. "Well then. I hope I don't get diabetes."
The cake tasted terrible.