The Lord of Cookies
The Lord of Cookies sits on his throne. The throne room of the Lord of Cookies is a great hall within the castle of the Lord of Cookies. The hall is dimly lit by one torch beside the throne. Neither the ceiling nor any but one wall can be seen from the throne. A long red carpet runs from under the throne into the darkness.
The throne is on a raised dais against one wall of the throne room. It is made out of rich, dark wood. The armrests have been carved to resemble two lions: a lion on the right and a lioness on the left.
The Lord of Cookies is not a king, or else he would be the King of Cookies. He is just a lord. He wears a three-piece black suit. It is the kind of clothing that a king would not wear but a lord might. The Lord of Cookies wears it with a red silk tie. It is a very expensive suit, accompanied by expensive leather shoes polished to a high black sheen. He wears this expensive suit to set him apart from his associates, such as the Knave—called a Knave even though she is female—to his right. The Guard, a young man, stands to his left.
The Lord of Cookies sits on his throne. His hands grip the armrests. His grey eyes stare straight ahead at nothing in particular. He has very curly grey-white hair which has been cut short to prevent it from growing into a ridiculous Afro and making him look like an idiot. The Lord of Cookies is not a handsome man. He is old and his skin is heavily cragged. His posture while sitting on the throne is drooped.
The Lord of Cookies employs three people: the Knave, the Guard and the Baker. The Baker makes the cookies, and the Lord of Cookies knows that the cookies the Baker makes are very good cookies, but the Baker is always out of sight, hidden in the kitchen. The Lord of Cookies is not exactly sure where in his castle the kitchen is.
The Lord of Cookies sits on his throne, not moving. Suddenly, he speaks.
The throne room echoes with the word. No one moves, not even the Lord of Cookies.
“I desire cookies.”
His voice has risen. No one moves for several moments.
“Bring me cookies, Knave!” he shouts.
The Knave moves to action. She has been standing at ease, like a soldier. She moves to attention and pivots toward Lord of Cookies. She speaks:
“What form or type of cookie would you like, my lord?”
The Knave has blonde hair that she has pulled into a tight bun. She wears an expensive white silk blouse with a black skirt. She wears leather high-heel shoes. She has a golden bracelet and two silver earrings. The earrings were a gift from her husband, the Guard.
The Lord of Cookies responds. “You may bring me any type of cookie with the exception of chocolate chip. I despise chocolate chip cookies. Do not bring me chocolate chip.”
The Knave waits beside the Lord of Cookies for a moment. “Is there any particular brand that you would like, my lord?”
The Lord of Cookies pauses for a moment. “Oreos™. I desire Oreos™. Bring me Oreos™, Knave.”
The Knave turns and leaves to retrieve the Oreos™ for the Lord of Cookies. She walks into the darkness of the throne room, toward the kitchen.
The Lord of Cookies sits on his throne to contemplate his choice of cookies. He is not sure that he should have chosen Oreos™, nor is he entirely sure of his dislike for chocolate chip cookies. He does not turn to his Guard, but he speaks to him.
“Guard,” he says.
The Guard is a good-looking young man. His rich brown hair has been cut a bit long but it has been stylishly combed. He wears a black two-piece suit with a blue tie. He has a gold lapel pin given to him as a gift by his wife, the Knave.
“What preference do you have for cookies?”
The Guard thinks for a moment. “I have no preference, my lord.”
“Then you like them all equally?”
“Yes, my lord.”
I should like them all equally, thinks the Lord of Cookies. I am the Lord of Cookies. I should like them all equally. I should have no preference. I should not detest any individual one. I should not detest any.
Why do I prefer Oreos™? wonders the Lord of Cookies. He does not favour them exclusively. He is also fond of Villa Puffs™, jam cookies and peanut butter. And he does not dislike chocolate chip cookies exclusively either. He also does not like shortbread cookies, oatmeal cookies or raisin cookies.
He does not know what feature of Oreos™ attracts him the most. Neither does he know what feature of chocolate chip cookies repels him the most. He thinks about the shape and the form of the two cookies. The Oreo™ is smaller. The chocolate chip is larger. That distinction alone should shift the balance in favour of the chocolate chip.
How does one become Lord of Cookies when one does not like all cookies, the Lord of Cookies asks himself.
The Knave returns, bearing the Oreos™ on a plain white plate. They are neatly piled in a pyramid. The Lord of Cookies selects the one on top and contemplates its shape. It is small, the outer edges of the wafers carefully ridged like the edge of a quarter and the top stamped with as much precision.
He runs his fingers around the outside before twisting it apart. The cookie is stubborn and his old and brittle fingers cannot force it apart. The wafer then snaps instead of being pulled apart. It is now in two large pieces, cut in half like a sandwich. The Lord of Cookies eats them both.
There is nothing about the taste of the Oreo™ that is superior to a chocolate chip cookie. In many ways, a chocolate chip cookie is superior to the Oreo™ in taste: not as dense or so obviously synthetic. Yet the Lord of Cookies prefers Oreo™ cookies to chocolate chip cookies and he does not know why.
“What type of cookies do you prefer, Knave?”
“I have no preference, my lord.”
“Then you like them all equally.” It is not a question this time. It is a statement.
“Yes, my lord.”
The Lord of Cookies pauses for a moment. He considers what the Knave has said.
“Tell me,” he says. “How many types of cookies have you eaten?”
“I cannot exactly recall the number, my lord.”
“Have you ever eaten an Oreo™?”
“Have you ever eaten an Oreo™?”
“Not that I can recall, my lord.”
The Knave hesitantly reaches her hand up to the plate and takes hold of one of the Oreos™. She brings it to her mouth and bites. After a moment of slow grinding and chewing, she swallows.
“Tell me, what did you think?”
The Knave is silent for a moment.
“Did you like it?”
The Knave nods her head. “Yes, my lord.”
“Tell me,” he asks. “What did you like best about it?”
“What was it about the Oreo™ that made you appreciate it?”
The Knave is silent. She thinks about the question the Lord of Cookies has just asked. To her, it is a strange question. She does not know why he has just asked it. To answer questions is not her job. Neither is to eat the cookies. The Lord of Cookies eats the cookies. She serves the cookies. She does not eat them.
“I cannot exactly tell, my lord.”
The Lord of Cookies turns his head to look at her.
“Do you mean that you like the Oreo™, but you cannot say why?”
The Knave pauses for a moment. “Yes, my lord.”
The Lord of Cookies thinks. “Have you ever eaten a chocolate chip cookie?”
“Yes, my lord.”
“How would you compare the chocolate chip to the Oreo™?”
“I would not know how, my lord.”
“Would you say that either the chocolate chip or the Oreo™ was superior?”
The Knave thinks for a moment. She is overwhelmed by the questions. She answers: “I would say that the Oreo™ was superior, my lord.”
“But you could not say how.”
“No, my lord.”
The Lord of Cookies turns to the Guard. He considers the guard, in his two-piece suit, for a moment.
“Guard,” he says.
“How often do you eat cookies?”
“Very occasionally, my lord.”
“Have you ever eaten a chocolate chip cookie?”
“Yes, my lord.”
“Have you ever eaten an Oreo™ cookie?”
“No, my lord.”
“Eat one now.”
The guard walks over to the plate in the Knave’s hands and removes and Oreo™ cookie from the pyramid. He eats it.
“How would you compare the two: the chocolate chip and the Oreo™?”
The Guard thinks. “I would say that the Oreo™ is superior.”
“You previously said that you have no preference.”
“I had not yet had an Oreo™, my lord.”
“True. And now, you consider Oreos™ to be superior?”
“Yes, my lord.”
“Could you explain why?”
“No, my lord.”
“Could you identify the qualities—specific qualities—that you feel make the Oreo™ superior to any other cookie?”
“No, my lord.”
“Then why do you feel the Oreo™ to be superior?”
The Guard thinks for a long moment. “I do not know, my lord.”
The Lord of Cookies picks up another Oreo™ from the tray. He fondles it and rolls it in his hand. Again, he tries to twist it apart. This time, he succeeds. He gently pries off the cream spread with his tongue and consumes it. It is sugary and essentially flavourless. It tastes very much manufactured. He enjoys it.
What is it that makes the Oreo™ superior? The Lord of Cookies wonders as he eats the chocolate wafers which, in flavour, resembles chocolate in no way at all.
“So we are agreed,” asks the Lord of Cookies, “that the Oreo™ is the greatest of all cookies?”
He looks to the Knave, who nods. “Yes, my lord.”
He looks at the Guard, who nods. “Yes, my lord.”
The Lord of Cookies picks up another Oreo™ and stares at it. “We might ask the Baker what makes the Oreo™ superior.”
The Knave and the Guard remain still, not moving, save to breathe. A minute passes.
“Fetch the Baker, Knave!” The Lord of Cookies raises his voice suddenly. He pounds on the armrest of his throne. The Guard and the Knave jump. The Knave quickly turns and heads into the darkness of the throne room again.
The Lord of Cookies sits on his throne in the darkness, contemplating why the Oreo™ appears to be superior to all other cookies—why he should find it superior to the chocolate chip cookie in particular. He can find no reason.
The Knave returns. Her hands are empty. Presumably, she has returned the plate of Oreos™ to the Kitchen. She walks to stand in front of the Lord of Cookies.
“Where is the Baker,” asks the Lord of Cookies. He is visibly annoyed.
“He could not come, my lord,” the Knave says passionlessly.
“He is currently baking cookies, my lord.”
“Why did you leave the Oreos™?”
“The Baker asked me to, my lord.”
“Bring me another plate, then.”
“He said that he could not make any more cookies for you today, my lord.”
“What? Guard! Fetch the Baker and bring him here!”
The Lord of Cookies stands up, furious with rage. The Guard hastens to obey and turns and walks off into the darkness of the throne room, in the opposite direction from where the Knave emerged.
The Guard re-emerges. He walks to stand beside the Lord of Cookies, who is livid that the Guard is unaccompanied.
“Where is the Baker,” the Lord of Cookies demands.
“He said he could not come, my lord.”
The Lord of Cookies steps down from the platform on which his throne rests. He walks to the Guard and hits him fiercely in the face. The Guard does not strike back.
The Lord of Cookies then walks into the darkness. He is unsure of where the kitchen is, but he walks in the direction from where the Guard arrived.
He walks and continues to walk. The throne disappears behind him. He walks for minutes until he is unsure of his direction. He finds a wall and follows it. It leads to an archway. A corridor stretches into another darkness.
“Baker!” The shouts of the Lord of cookies echo down the passageway. There is no response.
“Baker!!” Again there is no response. The Lord of Cookies waits tentatively at the entrance to the passageway. He feels the stone masonry walls. They are cold. The air is silent around him.
The Lord of Cookies begins to walk down the passageway. His footsteps are tentative. The hallway is long and bare. There are no side passages. Finally, he comes to the end where there is a spiral staircase going down. The Lord of Cookies descends. He travels down until he comes to the bottom, where there is another hallway. This one contains many side passages and the Lord of Cookies soon becomes lost in a maze of corridors. He is lost in his own castle. To concept does not please him. This is his castle.
“Baker!” The Lord of Cookies shouts again. His shouts do not echo in the dark passageways.
He begins to walk faster, taking turn after turn. In his mind, he thinks that if he just keeps taking left turns, then he will find a way out. It is logical. He begins to run. Left turn. Left turn. Left turn. Left turn.
“BAKER!” There is no echo. There is no reply.
“BAKER!!!” The Lord of Cookies begins to lose his breath from running. He slows down and shouts again. “BAKER!!! BAKER!!!”
His voice gives out and the Lord of Cookies begins to pant for breath. His breaths are deep and his old lungs struggle with the exhaustion. He slowly sits down to regain his breath.
After a while he stands again and begins to walk slowly through the maze. Left turn. Left turn. Then there is a door.
It is a large wooden door at the end of the corridor. There is no handle or hinges. It swings outward into whatever lies beyond it.
The Lord of Cookies walks up to it. He listens at it. He can hear no sound.
He taps his knuckles against the door. The sound they make is faint. “Baker,” he calls. There is no response.
He presses his body on the door. It is heavy and moves only slightly. The Lord of Cookies is weak and cannot force the door easily. He presses hard, and eventually the door gives way enough to let him through.
The room beyond is dark, but the Lord of Cookies can see a light source at the far end. It is an oven, with an overhead light. On top of the range rests two sheets of cookies, one of Oreos™ and one of chocolate chip. The Lord of Cookies recognizes the Oreos™ as the ones he was eating earlier. The chocolate chip cookies have not been touched.
The Lord of Cookies knows he has found the kitchen. It is obvious. But he does not know where the Baker is.
“Baker?” The tentative question is not answered. The Lord of Cookies steps up to the oven and notices that there are cookies baking inside of it. They are chocolate chip. He can see the dough beginning to rise and the chips beginning to melt.
Beside the oven, there is a table in the kitchen where the baker mixes the dough. The top of the table is clear except for a single sheet of paper. The Lord of Cookies walks over to the table and examines the paper.
1 cup flour
¼ cup brown sugar
¾ cup white sugar
½ cup vegetable shortening
1 large egg or 2 small eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 handful of chocolate chips
Mix flour, sugars and salt. Add shortening, egg and vanilla. Mix thoroughly. Dough should be slightly crumbly. Add chocolate chips. Scoop into small globs on baking sheet. Bake at 450º F for 15-20 min or until golden brown. Let cool for 5 min.
It is a recipe for chocolate chip cookies. The Lord of Cookies cannot see a recipe for Oreos™.
The Lord of Cookies does not hear the Baker sneak up on him. He did not notice the Baker hiding behind the door as he entered. He does not feel the rush of air as the knife used by the baker to cut chunks of shortening from the large block is thrown. He does not feel the dirty, lard-covered blade hit the back of his neck. The Lord of Cookies only knows that at one minute he is alive and the next he is not.
The Baker watches his knife strike the neck of the Lord of Cookies. He watches the body of the Lord of Cookies go limp and collapse under the table.
The Baker walks over to the oven and pries a single chocolate chip cookie off the sheet and eats it. He feels the still melted chocolate spread over his tongue. To him, it tastes good.
Suddenly he hears a noise and the door to the kitchen flies open. The Guard and the Knave charge in.
The Knave and the Guard sum up the situation quickly. The Lord of Cookies is dead, killed by the Baker. They, as part of the court of the Lord of Cookies, are surely next. The Baker is a fat, tall man. He has thick though hardly muscular arms and a menacing posture. The Guard wonders if they will be able to take him down, even together.
The Baker leaps for the body of the Lord of Cookies to grab the knife embedded in the corpse’s neck. The Guard jumps in his way and is shoved to the ground. The Knave runs and grabs the knife. The Baker charges her. The Knave stabs the knife into the chest of the Baker, then again, then again. The Baker collapses to the ground.
The Knave and the Guard stand in silence for a moment, surveying the two dead bodies. The Knave wipes her hands on her blouse. The blood stains the expensive white silk.
“This makes you the new Lord of Cookies,” says the Knave to her husband.
“Yes,” says the new Lord of Cookies. He stands for a moment and ponders. “Bake me some more cookies.”
The Knave stands for a moment, then she asks: “What kind of cookies?”
The new Lord of Cookies thinks. “Any kind.”
The Knave turns and picks up the recipe from the table. She looks around for the pantry. She has to step around the two bodies to reach it. The new Lord of Cookies returns to the throne room and awaits his cookies. He feels unprotected without a guard. He will have to hire a new one.