Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Excerpt from The Bavarian Krisp Caper

Have you ever had one of those days? This story stems from a time I was in Boston, craving a donut, and not finding a parking space. To read the rest of it, click at Untreed Reads. If you're attending Malice Domestic in April, I would love it if you'd please consider this story for a possible Short Story nomination. Even if you don't consider it, I'll see you there!

By Kaye George

Life was looking a little better. At last.

Mandy hummed to herself as she watched her niece, Ella, run from one duckling statue to the next. Mandy clutched a bag that held two fragrant donuts, a chocolate frosted for Ella and a Bavarian Krisp for herself. She sipped her coffee and waited for the curly haired toddler to finish greeting and patting each small, sturdy bronze sculpture. Ella came running, a big grin on her little freckled face. She tugged at Mandy’s hand and they headed for the swan boat ride, the conclusion of their sunny afternoon outing at Boston Common.

Mandy had offered to watch Ella while her mother, Mandy’s sister, ran errands. She might as well. She loved watching her niece, but hated the fact that she’d been free to do so for too long now. Money was getting tight.

Mandy salivated, thinking about that donut. Bavarian Krisp was her favorite snack in the world. There was nothing better. Nothing. She was lucky to have a boyfriend who understood her passion for them. He’d gone out early and brought the doughy treasures to her before he went in to work this morning.

The thought of Carl brought a smile to her face. He knew how devastated she’d been since losing her job three months ago. Her teeth gritted whenever she thought about it. It was so unfair!

“That’s twice this week you’ve been late,” her pointy-headed boss had remarked.

Mandy tried to edge past him into her tiny cubicle. She was laden with her purse, her lunch sack, and her water bottle. When the idiot refused to budge, she tripped over his big feet and lost her grip on her lunch. It arced onto her desk. The ripe strawberries inside made a squishing sound and started to bleed red onto the report she’d left front and center last night. The urgent report, due this afternoon.

She felt steam rising inside her, threatening to blow her head apart.

“The bitch in the cubicle behind me is late every week,” said Mandy. “Why don’t you say anything to her? Is it the size of her sweaters?”

The frosty look from the pointy-headed man tamped down her steam. He called security to escort her out.

Her humiliation had been complete when the bitch snickered behind her hand as Mandy passed.

She wanted to stop for a donut that day—the office was next door to a Dandy Donuts shop—but she’d been laden with the contents of her desk in an awkward sized box and didn’t think she could manage it. She’d eaten one on the way in, of course, which was why she’d been late.

Mandy had applied for twenty-five jobs but had gotten exactly one response so far. Aninterview was set for tomorrow, but she wasn’t sure she was qualified for that position. It called for more accounting knowledge than she had.

Her mood had gone from bad to worse and she’d almost canceled her outing with Ella, but Carl said it would do her good, take her mind off things. He’d been right. The sun felt glorious and the air carried the faint aroma of early spring lilacs to compete with the smell of baked goods wafting up from the sack she held.

After they climbed into their seats for the boat ride, Mandy handed Ella her donut, then picked up her own with two fingers. Ella peered over the swan figures on the sides of the craft and crammed most of her donut into her tiny mouth. Mandy shut her eyes in anticipation; this first bite would be the best moment of her day.

“Aunt Mandy! Look!” Ella grabbed Mandy’s arm and pointed at a mother mallard swimming beside them, a row of babies paddling behind her. Mandy’s donut flew into the lagoon. Tears sprang to Mandy’s eyes as she watched it float away. Six squawking mallards swam to attack it.

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