I got back to the hotel as quickly as I could. Once there, I ran across the lobby and frantically pushed the elevator buttons until the doors opened. Like a caged animal, I paced around inside the small metal box as it carried me upwards. When the doors slid open, I ran down the hall to our room and fumbled with the key until I managed to get the door open. Then I burst into the suite… and plowed right into Matilda, Heather, Sara, and Gertrude, who had come to the door to investigate.
Luckily, Sara acted quickly, using her telekinesis to slow our forward momentum and set us gently down on our feet by the couch.
“Thanks, I’m sorry, I’ve got to get to the kitchen,” I gasped, turning to bolt in that direction.
“Hold it, crazy eyes,” snapped Gertrude, whipping out a hand to capture my wrist. I was jerked to a halt, similar to how I would have been jerked had I been chained to a tree. I knew better than to fight Gertrude, so I forced myself to stop and wait.
Matilda took my wrist from Gertrude and placed her other hand on the side of my face. Almost instantly, I felt her soothing energy suffuse my body. It felt indescribably nice just to breathe easily. “You’re swimming in caffeine,” said Matilda, eyeing me reproachfully. “We’ll just take care of that.”
Gradually I became less jittery, but I remained alert. After a minute or so, I felt like a new man. It was then that I noticed the patch on the beloved quartet’s face was gone.
“Yes,” said Sara, reading my glance. “It fell off and evaporated a little after you left.”
“So where’s the fire?” asked Heather. We all groaned at the joke.
“Can we talk on the way to kitchen?” I asked. The beloved quartet nodded, and we walked in together. “The fire,” I explained, pulling out a piece of bread, “is that I think the God of Toast may be in far greater danger than we might have guessed.” So saying, I dropped the bread in the toaster and pushed down the lever.
When you are waiting for toast, a few minutes can become hours. But what if there were no toast at the end?
The toaster popped, and my fears were confirmed.
“It’s still bread!” cried Heather, pulling the bread from the slot. “It’s not even warm.”
“It’s the same at Mel’s,” I said. “And I have to assume it’s the same all over the world. The God of Toast is no longer able to exert his divine will.”
“And it’s got something to do with the fish in the sky,” said Sara.
“You know, maybe it will still toast, but it takes more heat now,” said Heather hopefully. Sandwiching the slice of bread between her palms, she held it out in front of her, level with the floor. Within seconds, her hands were radiating intense heat as she attempted to toast the bread.
“Anything?” asked Gertrude after a few moments.
“No, it’s still soft,” said Heather. “I’ll give it the ol’ twenty-three hundred.” By which she meant 2300 degrees Fahrenheit, which was her practical upper limit. She could go hotter, but it would hurt her.
Before she could get anywhere near that hot, however, the bread burst into flames and crumbled to ash. Heather shook her hands off over the sink and brushed away the ashes. “Sorry guys,” she said forlornly. “No toast.”