by Stephen Schwegler

He looks to his left and sees a plate of toast, covered in butter. On his right, a plate of glazed doughnuts, glistening in the sunlight. Across from him sits a man with a gun.

“Pick a plate and eat it.”

“Just one?”

“Yes, one.”

“But they both look so good.”

“Just one, buddy. One.”

He looks back to his left: the crust was slightly burnt, but not enough for it to taste bad. He looks to his right: the doughnuts did seem a little dry, but the glaze would take care of that.

“Timesawasting, pal.”

“I can’t decide.”

“What do you mean you can’t decide? All you have to do is eat one plate. If you don’t, you get shot. It’s not that hard.”

“But I don’t know which one I want.”

“I would decide fast because I’m about to lose my patience.”

“Hmm… Hey, can I ask you something?”

“Sure, I guess.”

“Which one…”

“Would I eat? Sorry, not helping.”


“Hey, it’s not that hard. Just eat one. It’s not like one of them is poisoned. Eat one and I’ll let you go.”

“What kind of kidnapper are you?”


“Seriously. You kidnap me and all I have to do is eat something and I can go? That doesn’t make much sense.”

“What doesn’t make sense to me is why you won’t just pick one and eat it so you can go and I can move on with my life.”

“Oh, I’m sorry, I didn’t know I was holding you up. You know, you’re the one who kidnapped me.”

“Yeah, I’m aware of my mistake. I’ve come to terms with it, I suggest you do the same and pick a goshdarn plate.”

“What’s the rush?”

“I have other people to kidnap.”

“Ah, I see. Do they get the same choice?”

“No, the food will be different.”

“Like to switch it up do you?”

“Yeah, well… Hey! Just eat something!”

“Can I eat both?”

“No, just one.”

“How about just one slice of toast and one doughnut, leaving another one of each for your next hostage.”


“A little from column A, a little from column B.”

“Fine, whatever. Just eat it and go.”

He eats a doughnut and then follows it up with a piece of toast.

“Can I have something to drink?”

“Sorry, fresh out.”

“Got a dollar?”

“Yeah, hold on.”

The kidnapper gives him a dollar.

“Thanks. I saw a vending machine on the way in here. I could really go for a Mountain Dew.”

“Sold out.”

“Seriously? Son of a bitch!”

“Hey, watch your mouth. Just because I kidnap people doesn’t mean I’m down with cussing. Now get out of here.”

“Alright, fine. Bye.”


STEPHEN SCHWEGLER is eight feet tall and made of candy. His short story collection, Perhaps., is due this winter from Jersey Devil Press.

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