[image description: A smilin’ blue-eyed feller in a dark cowboy hat and a black shirt with white embroideries. Behind him, stacks of biscuits. In front, a banner naming his domain. Text reads, “120, Jeff, Small God of Biscuits.”]
Words mean things. This is unquestionable, incontrovertible, uncontroversial. Words mean things, or what’s the point in having words? They may mean different things in different languages, but when people are speaking the same language, they should be able to comfortably assume they’re understanding one another. That the words they use, identical and clear, should mean the same things.
And then comes Jeff.
Jeff seems at first glance to be a more pleasant fellow than his British cousin. He has such a lovely smile, after all, and he’s always so generous with the puff pastry and the butter. Such a pleasant fellow. Not like that Geoff, of the frosty silences and the refusal to share if you put a word out of line, oh, heavens, no! Not a bit of that. This is Jeff we’re talking about here, and Jeff is a good all-American god, happy to enrich the table and the tummy…
As long as you never mention desserts, never speak of scones. The phrase “dessert biscuit” is as anathema at Jeff’s table as the word “cookie” is at Geoff’s. How dare you profane the dance of buttermilk and flour, the sweet interplay of heat and moisture? These are not games for pastry chefs, not feasts for children! There should be no sweetness here, and indeed, there is no sweetness in Jeff’s heart. Unlike his cousin, who comes off cold and has a heart of chocolate chip, Jeff comes off warm and has a heart like a hockey puck once the first blush of heat fades, leaving him hardened beyond all reason.
Together, they can both open and conclude the feast. Together, they provide a delicious balance, and a wholeness to be dearly aspired to. But apart, they are incomplete, two pieces of a broken god, and it will take more than whipped butter to bring them back together.
It will take an Easy Bake miracle.
Artist Lee Moyer (13th Age, Cursed Court) and author Seanan McGuire (Middlegame, Every Heart a Doorway) have joined forces to bring you icons and stories of the small deities who manage our modern world, from the God of Social Distancing to the God of Finding a Parking Space.
Join in each week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for a guide to the many tiny divinities: