It's dark when ZEB gets home from yet another long day at work. The front door feels heavier than ever before. He drops his keys on a table in the foyer and indulges in the one long, exasperated sigh he allows himself at the end of each day. There's still more to do: free his feet from the socks and shoes in which they've been imprisoned for the better part of 24 hours, check email and listen to whatever messages may have accumulated on the machine, change into one of his many pairs of Ronald Reagan pajamas.
But he's hungry -- boy, is he hungry. He's been running on a cup of black coffee and a few bites of dry toast all day, and at this point he'd sit down across from a Clinton if it meant he'd get a good meal out of it. He lumbers into the kitchen, his mouth watering with anticipation. He'll make something substantial -- something with protein -- in a bit, but for now, just to blunt the pangs, the cookie jar will serve. He opens the lid and reaches in and -- nothing. Thin air. Would his family do this to him, the primary breadwinner? Would any of them be so cruel as to eat the last cookie while he was still out, still working his hands to the bone for them?
No. But who, then!?
He thinks. The expression on his face melts from puzzlement to suspicion, then tightens and twists into enraged recognition. His eyes, framed by twitching lids and cut through with swelling pulsing veins, come alive with the red glow of a dying star. He tilts his head back and bellows: