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A Piece of Cake

By William P Coleman

Kyle-handsome, khakis, penny-loafers, tasteful plaid shirt with buttons-looked through the wire grate separating him from Damien-smaller, nice body, prison uniform, gay.

Eager, Kyle said, "I baked you a cake."

Damien looked back at him, sullen. You don't expect a nineteen-year-old in prison to get cheerful just because a comparative stranger bakes him a cake. With no intonation-like Kyle's words were data he acknowledged but wouldn't process-Damien said, "You baked a cake."

Kyle, a college student, worked part-time as a paralegal for the law firm that had defended Damien. It wasn't clear to Damien why Kyle had been the one to regularly visit him, but he had.

"Yeah. I baked it for you, Damien." Kyle tried to act boyish.

Damien had always liked Kyle's silliness. He gave a small smile and finally laughed, momentarily happy. "That's nice."

Kyle noticed how beautiful Damien was. Then, his eyes big and innocent, he said, "Sure. For you."

That made Damien laugh a little more, looking away and then at Kyle again. "With your own size 16 hands. What will they think of next?"

"It came out good."

"Okay," Damien said gently.

Kyle watched him wait. His lips never seemed dried out. You'd think they would, being so full and pink, with so much surface exposed to the air. But they always looked nice to Kyle. Not puffy, but cushiony nice.

"So where is it?"

"It was for-for-because you've been in exactly a year today."

Damien got angry. "To celebrate me being in jail? Thanks!"

"No. I didn't mean it that way. I wanted to help you." Kyle made his voice quiet: "It had a-a you know-inside it."

Damien's voice went quiet too. "No. I don't know. What?" He got an alert look in his eye. Those were the times Kyle found him really hot-so intelligent and quick.

"You know."

"What?" he joked, "A cake with a file in it? That's been done. Try something new."

"Not a file. The g-word."

Damien looked frantically over at the guard and struggled to keep his voice down. "A gun? They'll find it in the goddam X-ray check."

Kyle burst out laughing. "I didn't think. I guess maybe I am dumb a lot."

Damien had to laugh too. "Don't worry, college boy. If I was so much smarter than you, I wouldn't be in prison."

Kyle shrugged.

"So where is this cake? You waiting to bring it next month? Or did you get caught with it and now you're incarcerated too?"

Kyle shrugged again. "I lost it. I'm sorry."

"You 'lost' it? You lost a cake with a gun in it?"

"It got stolen."

Damien made an effort to calm himself. "Okay. Just tell me in your own words. Any time you're ready."

"I baked the cake and put it in a box. My car wouldn't start so I took the subway but was in a rush, all frantic, cause then I wouldn't have time to get here. I got on the train and two guys were ahead of me and another behind. The doors were closing and the two in front turned quick to get out with their buddy. They bumped me hard-I figured so as to distract me so the one behind could pick my pocket. I grabbed for my wallet-and the guy in front grabbed the cake. They ran out just as the doors closed with me still inside."

Damien thought, then spoke: "That's more than Anthony ever did for me-baking me a cake."


"Where did a college boy like you get a-a you know?"


"You must like me a lot."

"Uh, yeah."

"Why didn't you ever say so?"

"Well, when we met, you were on trial and maybe going to prison, represented by the lawyers I work for and all-and it didn't seem a good time to mention it."


"Also, you were with Anthony."

"Like I needed Anthony! If he'd stuck by me, I wouldn't have been on trial."

"I'm sorry."

"Why are you sorry? You didn't do it." Damien thought for a minute. "So, for a year now you've just been-what? Waiting?"

"It's not so bad. I think about you. I look at your pictures."

Damien got suspicious again: "Where did you get pictures of me?"

"I swiped them from your file at the office. You've got numbers across your chest-but, still, it's you."

Kyle loved it when Damien looked him in the eyes the way he was doing now: concentrating, thinking hard about every word Kyle said.

Damien spoke quietly: "There wasn't any cake, was there?"


"You made it up. There was never any cake. You wanted me to think you love me."

Damien was angry. Kyle had known this would be the danger point in the conversation.

Damien finished, "To make me feel obligated."

He pushed back his chair, distancing himself from Kyle. For a moment Kyle worried the whole plan wouldn't work. He watched Damien carefully.

Then Damien looked surprised-and Kyle knew it was okay.

Damien's chair was still distant, but he smiled across to Kyle: "Wait. You expected me to figure you out."

Kyle looked back into his eyes. "Yes."

"You knew I'd know the cake was just a story-that you were setting me up-and why. You think I'm smart."


"You wanted me to prove it."

"You tend to be a little excitable-and you always have to figure things for yourself."

"You don't think of me as some average, brainless, dizzy queen who landed in the slammer cause I made a dumb choice of boyfriends."

"No. I don't."

Tenderly, "Thank you."

"Thank you for being you."

Damien thought again.

"So, what are you planning to do, Kyle?-Just exactly hang around your apartment baking cakes until I get paroled, and visit me every month?"


"Must get lonely "

"It's alright-now I know that you know and that it's okay. Now it'll be easy waiting for you."

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