Latkes The latkes lay forgotten.

Schmulke Bara left them in the barn for the homeless man and just assumed they were eaten. They lay moldering in the rich barnyard stew of animal stink, hay and fecal matter. It was amazing the goats hadn’t found them or the chickens. Thick with oil and rich in flavor Schmulke’s latkes were not to be taken lightly. In fact there was nothing light about them. Her family often teased her about how oily they were. “If we ever run out of candles,” her husband would say, “we can always light one of your latkes, Schmulke.” It was Spring when Schmulke saw the pancakes again. By that time they had grown a curious covering of mold. No one ever saw a mold like that. It was a fluorescent yellow and glowed in the dark. She thought briefly of taking it to the rabbi to see if it was an evil spirit but in the end she just threw them away. Disgusted, she threw the ugly mess into the compost pile where the rare mold had a chance to mingle with the natural ferment of kitchen scraps and soiled hay. Fast forward a few weeks and the compost pile underwent a bizarre transformation. First a slight pulsing and then a strong regular heaving and finally it was a living breathing gelatinous mass or organic debris that swallowed wayward mice, gobbled up newly hatched chickens and supped on an occasional gosling. Finally, it rose up on rubbery legs and staggered

through the barnyard frightening the live stock it made its blind way to Schmulke’s door. There it waited until Schmulke opened the door and found it. “And just what might you be?” she asked the thing. In a throat never meant for speaking the thing scratched out a single word, “Latkes,” was all it said.