Cupcake Kissin’ 11 – Alex Ankarr

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Cupcake Kissin’ 11 – Alex Ankarr

‘Oh hell, oh hell, I am not wearing that,’ is not the first thing out of his mouth, come Day One. That’s after the week’s grace he allows himself in the new apartment, steeling himself, and just taking a well-deserved break from all the stresses of the job search that’s now abandoned.

And when he rocks up at the emporium that is his new home, livelihood and habitual hanging-out spot, he’s not… massively impressed. Sure, it’s professionally presented, which was, up until now, his main concern. Auntie Gertie had had a lot of what appeared to be, frankly, hobby businesses. He’d been worried that this might have been one of them, and obviously so. But no, the place sure looks professional. It also looks very… pink. Pink and chrome, and a little bit gaudy, and maybe a tiny bit… kitsch.

But he can live with that.

In fact, if it’s bringing him in two grand per week – and going on past history, and current predictions, that’s not an un-doable figure – then he can definitely but definitely live with it.

He gets himself in there, introduces himself to a staff who have been primed to expect him, by the interim management put in place by Mayhewlinson. On today’s roster, they number Sophia, a sassy, buxom, cute and ferociously efficient assistant manager, Marvin, a tall, thin, humorous and slightly irritable baker, and the service assistant Sandy. One and all, they eye him with faint unease and good humour. And when Sophia shows him around the place, runs through procedures, takes down notes on his understanding of his legal duties in fulfilling Aunt Gertie’s basic minimum requirements, and then sits opposite him where he’s lounging in his new office chair, the big boss guy… she goes to find him the uniform that he’ll require for his minimum eight rota’d hours behind the counter per week.

It’s not all pink. It is, actually, mostly white, very chef-y and baker-y and hygienic. It’s a little bit pink, here and there. It’s a little bit girly. There’s a hair-net involved.

There’s a little cupcake hair-slide he’s supposed to wear in his hair, where it peeks out of his hairnet.

***

Four days in, and Caspar swears he can’t take it any more. Not the hairpin, not the overalls, and certainly not the prescribed greeting – from which it is not acceptable, as is pointed out to him in his aunt’s extensive notes, to deviate in any respect – of, ‘Welcome to the Honey Gummy Gertrude Bakery, what can I get you, cupcake?’

(He’s not too happy with the uniform, certainly. But it’s the greeting that’s really getting to him.) And he’s only rota’d for eight hours per week, he marvels! That’s as per Auntie Gertie’s stipulations, of course. There are some staff who are on the rota for as much as twenty hours face-time over the counter some weeks. He wonders how they stand it. He wonders how they don’t snap, and leather the next customer in the face with one of the pink-iced monstrosities, coating the bastard who’s fool enough to come in for his sugar fix with a faceful of icing and sugar-balls.

‘How do you stand it?’ he asks Sandy, his co-worker du jour, as they take a breather leaning against the back of the counter during a brief quiet period in the morning. ‘Doesn’t it drive you crazy? Do you even like cupcakes?’

‘Don’t have to like ’em to sell ’em,’ she points out sunnily, spritzing the counter with anti-bacterial and giving her hairnet a good tug. ‘You do get kind of tired of them after a while, though, even free. They are good cupcakes, though. Your auntie was proud of ’em. I never see you eat one, boss.’

And Caspar screws up his face. ‘Never have cared for sweet stuff much. Now, if it was a pizza parlour…’

‘I hear you,’ Sandy agrees. ‘Oh, wait, here comes caramel-dark with a macchiato guy. ‘ She gives him a thoughtful look, and there’s something sly in it. ‘Always the same order, and we’re out of damn caramel-dark choc, I can’t believe it. I’ll just run in back if you keep him talking. Keep him sweet, he’s a real sugar-fiend, he might stab you if he thinks we’re not gonna provide him with his fix!’ she calls as she runs, white-stockinged legs flying under her frilly apron. (The identical one to what Caspar is cursed with, right now. It’s not a flattering look. He flatters himself that he’s a reasonably attractive young guy, but this pinny is not a look that any amount of pretty face or well-packed musculature can combat. Nor is the hairnet.)

© Copyright Alex Ankarr 2014

No unauthorised reproductions allowed. All rights reserved to the author. No inspirations for characters drawn from real-life individuals, no resemblance to real individuals intended.

Photo credit: Lyn Whitfield on Flickr, public domain.

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