[This story is also available in the collection, It's Always the Apocalypse Somewhere]
I still don't know how it happened. I don't recall anything out of the ordinary during the preparation. Was it the flour? The fruit? Maybe something in the organic process at the orchard where the apples were grown? Something in the soil? Maybe even something in my oven?
All I know is, when I pulled my apple pie out of the oven and set it on the counter to cool, it began to talk.
"This is nice."
Thinking I was alone, I was a little startled. I spun around, but there was no one else in the kitchen with me.
"This is a real nice countertop."
Okay. Now, I was frightened. There was clearly no one else around but me. The words of the disembodied voice caused me to look over at the kitchen counter, where the freshly-baked pie sat cooling.
"You have a nice kitchen."
The voice again, and this time, it seemed I was looking right at the source. What the hell? Somebody had to be pranking me. There wasn't anything there which could account for the voice: no phone, no intercom, nothing. Just the apple pie I'd pulled from the oven only minutes earlier.
"Hello?" I said, experimentally. I moved a step closer to the counter.
"Hi there!" answered the voice. It seemed to be coming from . . . but no, that was impossible.
I inched closer—another step, another.
"Hello?" I said again.
"Hi!" replied the pie.
My apple pie. Freshly baked, still hot from the oven. Resting on my kitchen countertop. Was talking to me. Talking. To me.
"It sure is a great day!" said the apple pie.
When I'd recovered my senses somewhat—or perhaps, I'd completely lost them and this process was finally complete—I ventured another, "Hello?"
"Hi!" sang the pie.
"Okay," I said, stepping back and leaning heavily against the refrigerator. I could hear the contents rattling inside. "My pie is talking to me."
"Isn't being alive wonderful?" said the apple pie.
It was talking to me and . . . it was sort of irritating. But. It was talking to me. How could it be—
"Talking with you is really nice," my pie told me. "Say, I've just sort of woken up so to speak. I don't suppose you could bring me up to date on . . . you know, everything."
"Everything?" I inched forward, wondering how the pie was speaking. I mean, whether the thing was speaking with a mouth or not. Hoping it wasn't because I didn't think I could handle seeing a moving, functioning mouth on my fresh-baked apple pie.
"Well, you know," said the pie, "start with the important stuff. What kind of pie is President of the United States?"
"What kind of . . . pie?"
"Sure. I always vote apple, but it's not because I'm narrow-minded. I just agree with their platform, you know?"
"No." I shook my head, trying to examine the pie from a distance. I didn't want to get too close.
"I mean, take blueberry pies for example. It's really hard to not find their stance on education reform somewhat hypocritical, given the way they're happy to spend money on their war machines and big business without blinking an eye at the cost. Aren't our children important, too?"
"Why do you say it like that?" asked the apple pie. "My children. Do you have a problem with a single pie parent?"
"I don't have any children, by the way. But if I did, would that bother you?"
"Good, it shouldn't. I've met plenty of married pies who had no business being parents. Mostly blueberry pies and peach pies. I don't have anything against those types of pies, understand. It's just what I've noticed. They don't seem to make very good parents."
"Uh-huh." I took a step closer, eyed the knife lying on the counter with which I had planned to cut the pie. That was out of the question now, wasn't it? I mean, it was talking—
"Now pecan pies on the other hand," it was saying, "spoil their children if you want my honest opinion. A lot of people think they're sweet, but I'm not fooled. And don't even get me started on rhubarb pie. I mean who would want—"
I took a deep breath. "I said, 'shut up'."
"Oh, that's rich," said the pie. "That's bloody rich, isn't it? Hears an opinion that's a little different, that's maybe not sugar-coated, and instantly you want to shut me up. Well, I don't think so. This happens to be a free country, and I've got the right of freedom of speech. That means I can say whatever I want, whenever I want, and—"
I reached out and picked up the knife.
"Whoa. Whoa. Easy there, friend. Let's think about this, okay? You don't want to do this."
I brought the knife up, so that it gleamed in the light streaming in through the kitchen window. I held it over the pie.
"This is your answer to everything, isn't it? You think you're the strong one because you can kill me with that big thing, but that isn't true strength. True strength is sitting inside an oven for an hour at three-hundred and fifty degrees, buddy. True stength is watching pie after pie born into this world, only to be carved up and eaten alive by greedy, inhuman monsters such as yourself, who care only about profits, and self-satisfaction, and pleasure. You're a sick, perverted hedonist, that's what you are. A greedy, self-serving hedonist, and you'll get—"
I plunged the knife into the apple pie.
It screamed, a thing in agony.
Gritting my teeth, I forced myself to ignore it and keep going. I raised the knife again and again, cutting more. I didn't stop until I'd sliced the pie into eighths. Eight individual pieces, sitting there, warm and appetizing in the metal pie tray where they'd briefly come alive.
It had ceased crying out after the second or third cut. Now all was silent.
I wiggled the knife blade up underneath one of the slices, pulled the still-steaming portion free. I plopped it down onto a small plate and then carried it over to the table. I set the pie down, went to the freezer and withdrew the vanilla ice cream. I scooped two spoonfuls onto the plate beside the silent slice of apple pie.
"Don't have so much to say now, do you?" I said to it.
There was no response.
With my fork, I broke off a piece of the apple pie, collected some of the ice cream, and brought it to my mouth.
Tastes good, I thought.
Winning that argument.
This story was written in response to a writing prompt at r/WritingPrompts: