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A Toaster

By Samuel Zagula From Issue No. 8

My toaster is a liar. I entrust it with the items that I need for the continuation of my existence and it betrays me. It changes the time it takes to toast. I suspect it has a deep hatred towards me because I am conscious and it is not. That’s probably why it changes the time it takes to make my toast. I select “Five” on the button of the toaster that dictates time. It does not give me five pieces of time. Once it took four minutes and thirty-two seconds; another time it took five minutes and five seconds. I require consistency. Without consistency, the atoms that make up this world wouldn’t know how to grab on to each other and everything would fall apart.

I ask my friend to come over and help me. He collects his fingernail clippings in tiny plastic bags and makes dolls out of them. He numbers his dolls with a black Sharpie, so he won’t forget. He’s just the kind of person who will know what to do about a lying toaster.

“Why is your toaster lying?” he asks.

“It is jealous of me.”

“That makes sense. Your toaster lives in a lower realm of being. It’s only fair for it to be jealous of you.”

“What should I do?” I ask.

“I had a similar problem with a bicycle once. It was terribly angry at me. It constantly devised plans to do away with me.”

“What did you do?”

“I chopped it up into tiny pieces, pieces so small that the bike could no longer believe it was a bike. A bike with no identity has a hard time planning to kill you.”

“Will I have to do that to my toaster?”

“I don’t think so, your situation is less serious.”

We take the toaster apart. The toaster can’t do anything. The toaster can’t lie when it’s reduced to its components.

One of its components is a computer.

“Why does the toaster have a computer?” I ask.

“I don’t know. There shouldn’t be a computer inside of the toaster. A toaster doesn’t need a computer.”

Computers aren’t for toasters. Computers are for predicting the trends of the stock market or reading emails, not for the insides of toasters. The computer is why the toaster is lying.

We drive to the supermarket. Inside, we buy a large bottle of drain cleaner. We also buy two oranges. We drive back. We fill a glass bowl with drain cleaner and put the computer inside. It dissolves in a few hours. There is no difference between the computer and the drain cleaner anymore.

“That should solve the problem,” he says.


We put the toaster back together without the computer that is now only a small part of the drain cleaner living inside a glass bowl. I turn the toaster on. I select the button marked “Five.” It does not work. The toaster does nothing at all.

“The toaster is broken,” I say.

“But it isn’t lying.”

“No, it isn’t lying.”

It is a nice day outside. The clouds drift lazily by, whispering prayers and condolences for the death of my lying toaster.   

About Samuel Zagula More From Issue No. 8