The poet piped icing onto his wife’s birthday cake. His head swayed in outrage as the line dribbled out.
“I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing.”
His friend took the pastry bag away and set it on the counter. “You’re trying too hard to make it look good. And you can’t paint for shit.”
The cake gleamed white and yellow with mint-green trim. The poet had spent the last thirty minutes trying to replicate in icing “Rape of the Daughters of Leucippus” by Peter Paul Rubens.
His wife’s clock stripped every shred of privacy from the darkness. The men swished the dregs of their dark coffees.
“Should I just let it be shitty then?”
The friend studied the wobbly Pollux on the cake. They hadn’t even gotten to Castor, much less the women they were violating.
They ate the whole thing. The poet wrote a verse for his wife instead.
I ate your cake
Signs solve our distress
I may be late
I went to see my mistress
“‘Distress’ and ‘mistress’ have stresses on different syllables.”
“I’m aware of that.”
“Well it ruins the flow of the thing.”
“Fuck you, ruins the flow. People do it all the time.”
“Whatever you say, Mr. Bard.”
“Whatever I say. Goddamn right.”
They tossed their coffee grounds into the sink.
“Hell of a way to tell your wife you’re having an affair, though.”
“Yeah, well, it’s better than writing it on the cake like I was planning.”