Written by Mariah Martinez, 14 February 2014

The Kingdom of Sugar

Each of the child’s pudgy fingers stuck together from the sugar of the candy pieces he gobbled up.  He had been a good boy for his mother all week and father had brought home treats.  The child gorged on the sweets, barely peeling off the plastic wrappers before shoveling each piece into his now stuffed cheeks.  Arenia, his nursemaid, would surely have scolded him: “You don’t need those sweets child, your cheeks already bulge so I can’t see your chin anymore.”  Or “Better be careful, gluttonous children choke because their mouths are too full.”  He didn’t like her much anyway.  He thought about her disdain for his never-satiated appetite as the sweets warmed his belly, lining his intestines with crystallized fat: the best feeling in the world.  He walked around the study, pulling a picture book off of a high shelf, so that he left a sticky residue on each level of the stairs he used to reach the book.  This book was one of his favorites.  It was about a small boy who became a prince of another land after running away from home.  The child loved to imagine he was prancing around his throne room, crown on head and scepter in hand, both adorned with jewels and gems from all over the world.  He imagined tables lining the walls of the study covered in fondant icing tablecloths, chocolate candlesticks, licorice twisted into ornate animal sculptures: elephants, giraffes, and other creatures he’d only seen in his picture books. He could envision sweets from all over the kingdom, handmade by his people to honor him.  That would be everyone’s job: just keep me fed and my table full of sweets.  His thoughts floated away to the kingdom of delicate treats, with all the candy he could ever want and then some.  The child began twirling, skipping around the study.  One hand full of a half eaten licorice elephant, the other holding his scepter, a candy cane with a gold wrapped chocolate chalice on top, filled with chocolate pudding.  The walls melted away, from bookshelves lined with encyclopedias and history texts to wallpaper lined with ribbons of taffy and chandeliers made of glistening rock candy in every color.  The little prince began to giggle, he couldn’t believe all this was his.  He plopped onto his throne, his father’s grandiose, leather armchair and the giggle evolved to a chuckle.  The laughter rose, the child was rolling with thunderous gasps and pants.  But, the laughter quickly became a bellowing gulp, a desperate cling to hold on to his little dream world.  The walls began spinning around him, fading back into the monotonous study.  The child lay on his back on the floor, eyes bulging and rimmed with rose cracks from lack of oxygen.  He tried to call for help but the sweets had lodged themselves deep in his esophagus, preventing all the grunts and yelps from escaping his lips.  He never listened to Arenia before, but as he lie there on the floor, writhing in pain, he realized his appetite had finally consumed him.