little forest

bebe and the smiley puff

On the side of the road in nowhere land, there was a run-down apartment that looked like a cheap recreation of the leaning tower of Pisa. On the third floor of this apartment, in the a hundredth and thirty first room, lived a blue haired girl named Bebe.

She was the type of girl to sit on her couch everyday and stare outside, expecting a great dragon to soar by, or an enchanted fairy to stop on her windowsill. She would stare at her hands for hours, wishing with all of her heart that those limp pieces of flesh had some sort of magic to them.

Such things weren't realistic, of course, even in poor Bebe's world - yet she could never seem to let go of her dreams nevertheless.

The only other thing Bebe could bring herself to do was bake. She had a grand library of recipes, along with every whisk, pan, and bowl imaginable. Though she never had anyone to share her food with, eating the sugary treats made her heart less heavy. They made her feel as if she was almost happy. As if she could continue on like this, from day to boring day.

And it was all thanks to the the Smiley Puff. Said creation was Bebe's secret recipe, a dreamy concoction of the fluffiest flours and sweetest sugars that had the power to make anybody smile. A guarantee, or your money back, she would always say.

Sometimes, in her wildest dreams, she would imagine giving her Smiley Puffs to her neighbours down the hall, leaving them at the doorstep for them to find in the morning. When they did find them, they always took a bite of the cotton-candy-like buns as slowly as they could. And when they did, the corners of their dry old mouths would turn up, and suddenly it was as if they had come back to life from the grave: there would be a light of purpose to their eyes once more!

So one day, Bebe stopped looking out of the fairy-less windows, closing her dusty shutters once and for all. The delivery creature had just brought up a fresh supply of ingredients for her to use, and it was almost noon. She had a lot of work to do.

Bebe produced the largest batch of Smiley Puffs she had made that day. The room was filled with the rich honey and berry scent of the white puffs, and the puffs themselves spilled over the counter and onto the floor, overflowing from her oven in the kitchen. Humming a little nothing song, Bebe put all her Puffs into a giant burlap bag, and stepped out into the hallway for the first time in years.

"One for you, Mister Nod," she announced to the empty corridor, and dragged her sack over to the door opposite of hers. Room 104. With a flick of the wrist, she opened the door and walked into Mister Nod's room, where the cobwebs made up the majority of the furniture.

"My, my, what a mess!" Bebe exclaimed, her mouth dropping open. She saw Mister Nod sitting on his recliner, just a pile of hollow bones like always. The familiar sight made her smile, despite how uncleanly the room was.

"Maybe if you have one of these, you'll finally clean up." Bebe pulled a white pastry out of her bag and put it in between Mister Nod's rotting teeth, watching as his head tipped from the weight, before finally falling to the ground once and for all.

"I'm glad you like it," Bebe beamed as she watched Mister Nod's head roll on the carpet, the white pastry in his mouth shedding its powder everywhere. "Just don't make a bigger mess when you eat it," she explained slowly, giving him one last smile before taking her sack and leaving.

Next up was Room 105, Miss Johnson's room. Bebe didn't knock this time, because she knew Miss Johnson wouldn't mind. They used to be good friends and all, before the war happened.

"Miss Johnson, I have a gift for you!" She swung open the door and saw Miss Johnson exactly where she had last been; leaning on the counter, chopping the vegetables. Well, there weren't vegetables anymore, but you get the point.

"I always thought that you would love these." With a flourish, Bebe pulled a Smiley Puff from her bag and tossed it to Miss Johnson, knocking her remains down. This caused Bebe to gasp in panic.

"Are you having another one of your chest pains? You should really watch yourself, at this age," Bebe said quickly, rushing over to Miss Johnson's side and laying her out on the floor. She put the Smiley Puff in the center of her ribcage, where her heart was supposed to be, and stood back to admire her work. This puff was even more perfect than the last.

"I hope you enjoy!" Bebe stood and grabbed her sack once more, making sure to wave to Miss Johnson before leaving her room. Manners were quite important, after all.

The last stop in the hall was Room 107. Bebe didn't like Old Porter, who lived in Room 106. So she skipped him and went to Jimmy, who lived in 107.
Jimmy's door had stickers all over it, along with DO NOT ENTER tape plastered against the edges. It was quite hard for Bebe to open, but she managed it after she tried with both hands.

And lo and behold, there was Jimmy on the couch, watching television like the little boy he was.

"Jimmy!" Bebe squealed, running over to her friend to hug him. "You forgot to turn the television on. Here, let me help you, darling," she said in a soothing voice, grabbing the remote from his bony fingers.

The only show on the television was the news, which Bebe hated, because it was always about the war. But it was the only one, and she knew how much Jimmy liked his television, so she kept it on anyways.

"Would you like a Smiley Puff?" she asked. Jimmy said nothing, which she took for a 'yes'. Bebe placed it in the palm of his skeleton hand, where the remote had once been. And he didn't move.

Something began to well up in Bebe's chest.

Her hands started to shake.

Her mouth could only make whimpers.

Her eyes grew big, and wet.

And, suddenly, she started to cry.

"How dare you!" she shrieked, ripping the Smiley Puff out of his hand. She threw it on the ground, and it exploded into a million feathery crumbs, coating the set of toy cars that lay right beside the couch. "You terrible, terrible thing. You monster," she breathed, and without taking her bag, she dashed out of the room, wiping at her tears with her powder-covered sleeve.

When she got back to her room, Bebe shut and locked the door. She picked up her flower vase and glared at it, debating whether or not she should throw it. She ended up not doing it, if only because she liked the withered magnolias in them.

Like so, Bebe opened her shutters. She opened her windows.

She got back onto her couch, and started looking at her dirty hands again, wondering why they were so useless. Why they couldn't even do a simple thing like make others happy, let alone do magic. Still sobbing, she picked a Smiley Puff off the ground and stuck it into her mouth, forcing herself to chew its cloud-like texture and swallow.

But this time, she couldn't bring herself to smile.

Not when she had to keep lying like this.