I can’t believe it’s not butter
by Mariela Acosta
—Darling, I’m home.
The darling husband put down his briefcase and his darling wife kissed him on the cheek and led him to the living room where she had prepared a nice cup of tea and a plate of freshly toasted toast, oozing with melting…
—Mmm, said the darling husband biting into the lovingly prepared snack, —this is what I call luxurious living.
—Does it taste good? asked the darling wife, anxious to do everything she could for her darling hubby.
—Just right, exquisitely perfect, said her darling husband, wanting more than anything to please his darling wife and keep her happy.
She smiled for she knew what her hubby didn’t know. His hot buttered toast wasn’t buttered at all. It was spread with new Golden Gunk, the wonder spread from Chemical Foods. She’d seen it advertised on TV, so it must be good, and as it was on offer, she thought she’d try some.
—Isn’t it the best buttered toast you’ve ever tasted? she asked.
—I think it probably is, he replied.
—Good, because it’s not butter. It’s Golden Gunk. Look, it’s got citric acid, mono diglycerides, E160, that sounds good, trans fatty acids, E102, and look at this; it says, this spread is one molecule away from plastic and shares 27 ingredients with paint, you used to paint didn’t you, and it’s got vitamin A. You like vitamin A. What’s wrong, dear?”
Her smile fell as her husband turned sallow and beige.
—I can only eat butter, he gurgled. —I’m allergic to any spread except butter and, as his eyes melted into vegetable oil and trickled down his cheeks, his teeth turned to dough and his fingers crumbled, he snarled, —But you knew that didn’t you.
—Well, soon after we married you said, put only butter on my toast, but I didn’t realise it was such an important issue.
—My family had a curse put on it by an ancient margarine manufacturer who was taken to court by my great grandfather for stating the colouring was saffron when, in fact, as my ancestor discovered, it was curcumin. Ever since that time any member of my family who ingests margarine turns into a digestive biscuit and crumbles into crumbs.
—Oh dear, said his wife, —I didn’t realise it would be like that, and, as she saw her darling husband, crumble into crumbs on the carpet, she realised that, as she had opened the tub, she couldn’t return it for a refund.
Mariela Josefina Acosta Cozar de Coronado lives in London. She has been writing for four years. Her story The Smuggler was published by Atlas and Alice. This is her second publication.