The Twix by Gabe McFadden
“Stop being gross. It’s not ladylike.”
“It’s not gross, dad. It’s still fully wrapped.” I held the Twix up to the light. It looked fine. “Plus, how many people get to say they’ve eaten a candy bar found inside a human?”
He set down his scalpel. “Violet, you consistently make me regret letting you watch me work. How can I maintain an air of professionalism if all my clients knew their friendly neighborhood mortician was letting his daughter eat out of the bodies?”
“How will he know? He’s dead. And cut open. By your hand, I might add.” I got down from my chair and walked closer, examining the pale, wrinkled man splayed across the stainless steel table.
“He has a family, Vi.” He rolled his eyes. “Now don’t stand so close. You know your mom hates it when your dresses smell like formaldehyde. She’s threatened to start taking the dry cleaning bills out of your allowance.”
The door opened and in walked Mira, texting as usual. “Hey Vi, your mom said you would be down here. I know the Morgue is the only place to get out of the heat but…” She finally looked up, noticing my dad for the first time. “Omg is that a pers--ew, ew.” She spun around. Eyes shut, facing the wall. “Why didn’t your mom tell me your dad was working?! How are you just looking at it like that? You are so weird.”
“Mira, it’s just a body.” I smiled. “And look what we found inside! Look! Actually turn around and look, it’s not gross, I promise.”
I heard my dad sigh. “Violet, please at least put gloves on.”
“Ew. Stop. Is that a funsize Twix bar?” Mira crinkled her nose. “Was that really inside that old guy? What are you gonna do with it?”
“Dad won’t let me eat it. He hates fun.” Maybe goading him would work.
“I don’t hate fun. I just don’t want people to think my darling daughter is weird. What young man wants to date the ‘creepy Twix girl?’”
“Trust me, Mr. Hatchell. She’ll be fine. Not many people know how creepy this one is. I think it’s because she is just so...pink.” Mira gestured in my general direction.
“Whatever. I like what I like. I’m not ‘creepy.’ I have a very morbid sense of curiosity. Plus, I like this dress--it’s Lacoste. And vintage.”
“You look like Tennis Star Barbie without a racket,” Mira said.
“Well you two are causing a racket and it’s distracting me from my work.” Dad looked up, hopeful that we would laugh at his lame attempt at humor. We didn’t.
“I’ll leave if you give me the Twix.” This was my leverage. “Plus I’ll not roll my eyes for one joke around my friends next week when they all come over for Study Group.”
“Make it three and you have a deal.” He said, peering at me over his glasses. “And make sure it’s fully sealed before you eat it.”
“Wait, Mr. H are you for real?” Mira turned around again, eyes determinedly avoiding the man on the table. “Is that safe?”
“Are you kidding? Of course. These little candies are sent across the ocean, driven in a truck, and set on a shelf for months probably. They are made to last well into that apocalypse you kids keep reading about. So long as it’s sealed it’s probably fine.”
“Ew. You are so weird.” Mira turned around again.
I grinned. I checked the shiny wrapper for holes. I couldn’t find any. Heart beating with excitement I popped the chocolate into my mouth. Except for a slight beefy smell it tasted just like any other Twix.
“Why are we friends?” Mira turned and sighed as she went up the stairs out of the morgue. “I really need to meet some new people.”
I yelled up at her retreating form, “What about this guy here?! You met him-- and he gave us candy! You’re already off to a great start!”