When I walked into the bakery, he immediately caught my eye. A tiny personage, made entirely of flour sugar eggs milk, little stick arms. He was only four inches tall, but that didn’t stop him from waiting on customers. He was running, jumping from counter to countertop, slicing bread and bagging cookies.
When I stared hard at him, his sugared appearance melted, and I could see that he was a small boy, flesh and blood of some kind, sitting on a golden velvet cushion, with a small jewel sewn below his feet.
He was slicing large slices of frosted bread when it happened. His hand slipped and the knife sliced through his thumb. Immediately the blood began to flow, welling up in a slow puddle on the counter. I took over as he seemed surprised, and wrapped a paper towel around his finger.
I called ahead to the hospital and let them know we were coming. Then I drove the personage to the hospital and walked in with him in my arms. During the drive, he murmured to me, questions about himself, and about the loaf he had left behind.
I found no one waiting for us, or even interested in my explanation of the accident. I carried the little cookie to a bed and lay him down. I realized I could not hear him breathing and I bent low over his thin flat body to listen. I felt very cold and realized that somehow the little man had died on the way to the hospital. I held the tiny stick that was his hand, and watched as his appearance changed, from cookie, to boy on a velvet cushion and back again.
As I turned away, I saw his grandmother, summoned by hospital officials. She was a tall stern grey-haired woman, with sturdy shoes and a calm manner. She and I exchanged a few words and then we walked out, leaving the tiny sugared body of her grandson lying on the hospital bed.