|UNHOLY CANNOLI by Ahron Balatti|
Tony was not surprised to learn that the cannoli was telekinetic. More amused than anything else. Food with psychic powers was something new. He figured this was just the thing to turn around his bad luck. He was planning on getting a new T.V., or maybe a gym membership, but Tony knew that wouldn’t be needed. Not once he realized the cannoli was supernatural.
Tony’s recent life had been considerably bad. Both his parents had died of cancer with six months of each other. His doctor told him he was going blind. His wife had been cheating on him, and took everything during the divorce. His house, his kids, even his baking company. All hers. He had been reduced to living in a terrible little apartment. He owned nearly nothing. His only real hobby was baking. He needed a sign, something to really slap him silly.
Tony became aware of the cannoli’s powers within a couple of days of baking it. He had eaten all the other cannoli in the batch he made. He kept the cannoli in a brown paper bag. Whenever he opened the bag and looked at the telekinetic cannoli, he felt a terrible sense of dread. When he tried to overcome the dread, the cannoli would project visions into his mind. The cannoli showed Tony blood and flesh mixed together. He would lose his appetite.
Tony became convinced of the cannoli’s powers when it levitated out of the brown paper bag. The walls began to bleed. Fire and skeletons danced around his apartment. Chanting in a long forgotten language could be heard.
Not surprised. Just amused.
“Huh. I must’ve really fucked up that recipe.”
Things were okay for a little while. Tony would come home, usually to some terrible ritual being conducted by be hellish monsters. Tony would ignore it, maybe watch a little T.V. or eat some leftovers.
Once, Tony had tried to talk to them.
“Hey, should I call you guys demons or ghouls or what? What’s the preferred nomenclature?”
The hell monsters screamed at Tony until his ears bled.
“Alright, I just won’t acknowledge you.” Tony went and laid in his room until the chanting was done. When he came back out, all his furniture had been arranged into a pentagram.
He didn’t mind really the demonic cannoli, it gave his life a little structure. Couldn’t be out too late, or else the cannoli might rip his heart out through his ear. Don’t make too much noise, or the cannoli would rip his heart out through his ear. No pets, or the cannoli would shove his ear through his heart.
He figured at least. That’s what the cannoli showed him when he looked directly at it.
It gave him a little hope, too. A devil means there might be a God, and a God gives a greater meaning to the way the world works. Maybe there was something to that Bible he had never bothered to read.
If he thought about the Bible too much, the cannoli would attack him with a butter knife
Everything went pretty smooth until Tony woke up one day with a message on his wall. The message was written in blood.
It read “YOU MUST GIVE ME YOUR CHILDREN.”
Tony decided to ignore it. Maybe the cannoli meant the message for someone else. Maybe one of those terrible hell beasts that kept showing up. Either way, Tony wasn’t about to just give the cannoli his children.
He woke up the next morning with a different blood message on his wall.
“YOUR CHILDREN, OR YOUR SOUL. YOUR CHOICE.”
Tony figured he probably couldn’t ignore the issue. Or maybe he could…. He looked at the wall. The blood caught fire. Clearly the issue wasn’t going to work itself out.
Father Rosetto sat in his confessional booth, asleep. He was always asleep. No one confessed to anything interesting anyway, and God forgave anything. He felt like a middle man that wasn’t exactly necessary. His snoring was how Tony found him in the church. Tony scared him by opening the door to the confessional. Sloth was a cardinal sin, after all.
They sat on the pews. Tony tried to explain his sort of predicament.
“So you see, I accidently baked this pastry that I’m worried may be the Antichrist.”
Father Rosetto wasn’t surprised. More curious than anything.
“What sort of pastry?”
Father Rosetto, an Italian himself, hadn’t had a good cannoli in years.
“Sinfully good, I bet.”
“It has unleashed hellish beings and rituals into my apartment.”
Father Rosetto realized his joke was probably in bad taste.
“And how long has this been going on for?”
Tony counted the days since the inception of the pastry. He was surprised how long it had really been.
“About six months.”
“That’s a pretty long time with a demonic cannoli.”
Tony nodded. “It was going alright there, for a while.”
“It wants either my soul or my children.”
Father Rosetto and Tony opened the door to Tony’s apartment. It was a real circus in there. The damned were hanging for the ceiling. Demons ate arms and legs and torsos. The cannoli levitated in the middle of the room, glowing red. The screaming was deafening. Tony closed the door.
“What do you think?” Tony asked the priest.
“I can see your issue. It’s a bit much.”
Tony was glad the priest understood. He had been worried the priest would think he was overreacting once he finally got a look.
“What exactly do you recommend, Father?”
“Probably leaving, and never baking again.”
Tony was disappointed. “There’s nothing you can do?”
Father Rosetto opened the door again. The demons were ripping apart a live elephant.
“That’s a bit out of my pay range, friend.”
Tony sat in his parent’s house. They had lived in the middle of nowhere. Fields for miles. They had not been there in quite some time. They would not return. Tony thought they might be happy somewhere. Happier than him, at least.
No one called for Tony. No one really even thought about Tony at all. Tony’s mind drifted to happier days of family, and good baking. His mother taught him how to bake. Tony laid awake in bed, thinking of how life had turned to hell before the cannoli had even arrived.
And when Tony awoke to fire and hell and his every single waking moment become ghoulish, he wasn’t so bothered. He wasn’t even surprised. More amused than anything else. Tony’s soul might have been damned to damnation, but it was something to do, at least. He wouldn’t have to get a new T.V., or a gym membership. Tortured for all eternity by an Italian pastry, but at least there was a little meaning to it all.
Tony didn’t even really mind meeting Satan, who was a terrible Lovecraftian mix of blood and guts and flesh. A sort of flesh pile. A literal insult to life and spirit. Hordes of demons and hell creatures surrounded Tony and The Devil. Tony was wrapped in chains.
“Those old paintings really did you some favours,” Tony said.
Somehow, the flesh pile had the ability to speak. Satan’s voice, Tony noticed, was similar to a cat trying to cough up fur balls.
“How does punishment for all eternity sound to you?” Satan squealed. The demons and things went mad. They were really for the idea of eternal damnation.
Tony was lukewarm on the topic. “Fine, I guess.”
Satan took delight in Tony’s response. It waved the strange fleshy limbs that hung from its body wildly and twisted from side to side. The audience went even crazier.
Tony was just glad they were having fun. He liked the attention.
“You are a fool, you know. One never escapes from here. Abandon all hope, all ye who enter here.”
Celebration and jubilation. Horns blew an unholy note of cacophony.
Tony just stood there, like a happy bumblebee in a field of demonic flowers. He was having fun. It was a real hoot in there.
Satan began to levitate, leaving a pool of blood and pus.
“You will be our lamb!” The celebration reached its highpoint. It was absolute madness in hell. “You will be the Devil manifest!”
That actually did surprise Tony. He was getting used to the whole “burn forever” thing.
The Devil was delighted. “The cannoli was a test, a way to see if you had any natural repulsion for evil. Since you do not, you are perfect!”
“Will I be able to bake again?”
“But of course!”
“Okay, I have no issues then.”
It was a good day in hell. It was a good day for Tony. Hell would soon consume the earth, and Tony would get to go back to what he loved most.