Sunday, November 19, 2006

Imperfection, Chapter 2

There was this complete and total awkward silence. And before i tell you anything else, I should tell you about the Baums. They were, I knew from hearing them talk to my mom, the type of Southern people who did everthing in a very...twangy way. Like how they ended all of their sentances with "if you don't mind" or "yes ma'am/sir" and called each other "Mrs." and "Mr." Also, they werent very accustomed to seeing chaos of any sort, as, according to Mr. Baum, chaos tends to "upset the little lady" (can you hear me screaming?)

The man (Mr. Fred Baum, if you don't mind) stared. The woman (Miss Caroline Amber, if you don't mind) gasped. The boy (whoever he was) looked close to laughing.

"Ah...oh dear," Miss Amber-if-you-don't-mind said. "What on EARTH is going on in here?"

"Oh, it was just..." a huge glob of creme filling glopped onto the floor. Great. That just helps SO much. "...see, I was making these donuts, well, creme-filled, actually, which are different from donuts cuz they have no holes so they're more like pastries, and I can handle some other pastry-ISH things, and donuts, but creme-filled are different because..." You've been here before. I realized that i was blabbering. "Anyways, there was a hole and I wanted to figure it out and then it just sort of...kaboom," I finished lamely.

"Oh, dear me." Great. "Miss Amber" (why does her name sound so ridiculous to me?) was showing all the signs of a freakout dead ahead. "Does that happen often, if you don't mind? Becaus the cake needs to be perfect. If the cake isnt perfect, I don't know WHAT I'll do." And here came the tears. Instead of feeling bad for her like a normal person would, I started screaming at her in my head, as I'm apt to do during cases like this.

Good greif. It's just a stupid donut. "Don't worry, Miss Amber..."

Oh, now you're going to go all manly-manly and put your hand on her shoulder, huh? "...my mother is making your cake, not me..."

I bet you think I'd put poison in it. Well, i wouldnt. Where could i get poison around here? "...and she has never blown up a baked good in her entire career."

This seemed to calm them down. And now that you mention that cake... "Um, is there a problem, by the way? With the cake, I mean." Please do not say you want to change it. For your own good and mine. I don't think my mom could handle that right now without strangling herself, you, or me, and we do not need homicides or suicides right now.

"Oh, no," she assured me. "The cake is just perfect, yes ma'am. Perfect." But...

"But..." There it was. "We just wanted to check up on things, you know, to make sure. If you don't mind." I had a pretty concrete feeling that my mom was SO going to mind. I could already imagine what she would be telling me and my dad at the dinner table. "She says she comes to check up on the cake! Does SHE have twenty-five years of experience? No. Does she have even a little tiny clue what would be wrong if there WAS something wrong? And the cake isnt even baked yet! She's going to go and have a panic attack!" The mom in my head was getting annoying, so I shut her up, gave the Baums a totally fake smile, and called for my mom. "Mom! The Baums are here!" If you werent related, you couldnt hear the sarcasm in my voice. You also wouldnt be able to see how my mom turned off the blender, banged her head against it a couple of times, then put on an equally fake smile and came out of the back to greet them. You couldnt see that because, well, you wouldnt be allowed behind the counter.

That was when i noticed that guy standing there behind them. And that i still had the remnants of a creme-filled donut on my hands. "I'll be with you in a second."

After washing all of the donut off of my hands, face and hair, I came back out. He was still, surprisingly, there. And he didnt look even a tad pissed off. Most human beings, I have noticed, have very little tolerance for waiting for anything. I don't know why, because I'm used to it. Waiting for things to bake, waiting for them to find all their spare change, waiting for my shift to be over. But the general population seems to have a problem with it. Exibit A: McDonalds.

"I'll take you over here." I waved him over to the second register that had been my parent's anniversary present. "What can I help you with?"

"Uhh...hi."

"Hi." What???

"I'm Henry."

"Hi, I'm Catie. Would you like to buy something?"

"So I'm in town for a wedding," Henry said like I hadnt said a word.

Who isnt? "Oh, really? Whose?"

"Theirs," he nodded towards the other side of the store, where my mom was smiling up and the Baums (she's kind of short) and ominously twisting her apron around in a manner which suggested that she would rather it be their necks.

"Oh, that's nice." Frankly, I was bored already. This guy had this air about him like he thought he was the greatest thing to happen since, well, anything. He had popular clothes, popular shoes, and even Popular Hair (big, long and blonde).

"So I was thinking," he said with a smile that looked more like a smirk, "maybe you wanted to get a hot dog after the wedding, or even later today. Maybe hang out."

"I'm a vegitarian." Which is true, but i said it in a very cold way. Now that i knew what he wanted, I wasnt going to bother with my Customer Manners. Because these wedding guests, they look at the happy ending and the Couples being all perfect, and they get depressed. They want to find someone to be vomitously adorable with. The girls just sit around and sigh. The guys, however, look for someone to "hang out" with.

And while "hanging out" means "talking and possibly getting some strawberry icing" to most normal people, "hanging out" to wedding-goers means "shoving their tounge in your mouth until the reception is over and not calling the next day."

Now he looked annoyed that I hadnt picked up on his subtleness. "See, the hot dog wasn't really the point--"

"Are you going to buy something?" I asked, drawing myself up to my not-so-impressive 5 foot 5.

"C'mon, all I was asking is if you wanted to--"

"If you're not going to buy something, you have to leave," I cut in.

"Fine. That." He pointed to the chocolate rabbit that was about as old as me and only for decoration. But I wasn't going to tell him that. "So, what do you say?"

"Your total comes to $11.50," I said, shoving the poor bunny into the bag.

"That much for a stupid chocolate Easter Bunny?" Then he realized that this wasnt the best way to get me to "hang out" with him. "I mean...sure." He handed me a 20.

"Your change is $8.50," I said, ripping off the receipt.

"Hey, if you didnt want to hang out, you should have said soemthing."

"Fine. I don't want to hang out."

"But--"

"Have a nice day," I said in a way that meant the exact opposite.

"Fine!" He grunted like a spoiled three-year-old.

Then he walked out.

We didnt end up meeting in a bizzare twist of fate.

He didnt turn out to be sweet and shy under the popular exterior.

We never had one of those Big Moments that you always see in the movies.

I never saw him again.

3 comments:

emma said...

hey ali this is emma b. i interviewed dickinger today for sweeney todd article and am going to interview joseph after break. also am going to try to get quotes from pit orchestra. :-D i love having an article! so much fun!

Molly Wobbles said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Molly Wobbles said...

don't interpret what I said to the worst extent possible!!!! I just meant that you'll tell sam and I don't want him to know cause I know you'll tell him without meaning to. You IGNORE ME when I'm talking to you.