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Cupcake Kissin’ 15 – Alex Ankarr
And Sandy leans against the back wall and eyes him knowingly, like someone who’s seen it all before. ‘Devastating, isn’t he?’ she says cheerfully. ‘Honey Gummy’s, home to the stars, huh? Brightens the day up, having a celebrity sprinkle a little bit of stardust around this place – worth coming into work just for that, almost!’
What she gets off of Caspar is a slightly vacant look, to this, though. And she crinkles her brow at him, a little bit, and then sighs in despair as comprehension settles on her pretty face. ‘Really? Really, Caspar? I mean, I know you’re a bit of an academic old buffer – considering you’re twenty-five, Caspar, twenty-five, not fifty-five! But honestly, buddy. Will you please try to make an effort to keep up with pop culture? For me? Please?’
Caspar has had quite a few of these conversations with Sandy, already. She doesn’t seem to have the first idea about a proper respect for one’s employer, not at all. At least, not for an employer she’s been tutoring in the arcane intricacies of icing and baking and filling and all the what-not and fol-de-rol that seems to be the lot of the life of a cupcake baker. On several occasions she has already expressed loud and vociferous disbelief that he’s never heard of this singer, or that actor or dancer, or that show or cartoon or film. Caspar doesn’t think it’s that big a deal, but then since he’s never heard of any of them, they’re not going to be any big deal to him, are they?
Caspar doesn’t watch a lot of TV. It’s not that he’s a snob about it. It’s more that he just hasn’t had much discretionary time, and that not for quite a few years now. He’s worked his way through his undergrad, worked his way through his doctorate, put in untold hours as a teaching assistant, even had extra volunteer jobs and worked on the student council, in the union and as a LGBT rep for his college. (He’s a good guy. He’s not ostentatious about it, but he’s a good guy.) Long story short, he’s kind of oblivious about popular culture. Translated, that means he hasn’t got a clue.
And Mack, it turns out, is kind of a big deal. And translate that, and it turns out that, in Sandy’s words, ‘Oh God! This is the biggest deal ever! He is huge! I can’t believe he flirted with you so much! Even looking like that!’ And in response to Caspar’s mystified look – while he’s also serving a particularly demanding customer, and wishing that Sandy would stop the hell dancing around and attend to her duties – she gives the hugest sigh there’s ever been. ‘Mack Langot, Caspar! Please don’t tell me you’ve never heard of Mack Langot, because I’m just not going to believe you!’
Caspar, up until now, or at least up until Sandy’s excitable, frenzied explanation, has never heard of Mack Langot. He doesn’t have the foggiest, not the very least iota of an idea. But Sandy has put that to rights, all right. Mack, it seems, is a star of the hottest soap opera in all the land, filmed here in Los Angeles, and currently filming its third season. He plays Vince, a charming bounty hunter who’s embedded himself in a rich suburb with a false identity in order to catch a white-collar criminal who’s hiding out there. It’s his opportunity to entrap and collar the skeevy fellow he’s after.
And Mack is, as Sandy puts it, huge. A massive star, right here in the city of angels – where he probably belongs, after all. And Honey Gummy Gertrude’s, it seems, has, for the past few months, been his absolute favourite bakery. Even to the point where, should his personal assistant be too overloaded to pick up his favourite, habitual order for him, he sometimes stops in and picks it up himself. Although, it turns out, he’s been filming overseas for the past few weeks. And hence, neither he nor his personal assistant have been stopping off at the bakery for dark-choc caramel and macchiato, not for a while.
It is quite fun, actually, owning a place that’s evidently a popular stopping off point for famous folk. Especially supernaturally hot famous folk. Caspar thinks it might almost be worth being tied to a food service management/service role for the next couple of years – and having to wear a hairnet, and a lot of pink.
Especially if Mack decides to drop by again. Soon.
It’s not as if he really expects that to happen, though, or not seriously. After all, according to Sandy, it’s usually Mack’s assistant who picks up his order, and that not every day. (And what other establishment does he patronise, on the days he’s not getting his caffeine and sugar fix from Honey Gummy’s, Caspar wonders, just a little bit put out. He finds, perhaps slightly ridiculously, that he’s becoming jealous of the reputation of Honey Gummy’s, suddenly every inch the proud proprietor.
And for a couple of days, that’s certainly the case. There’s no sign of Mack or his emissary, not a one, and in fact, although it was certainly a bit of entertainment, a fillip to experience his appearance in the shop, Caspar is too busy – flat-out busy – to really think of it that much.
He does think about it a little bit, though. The guy is hellish attractive. And when Caspar has the TV on in his apartment, on his quiet Friday night in – because he’s bushed, and he needs a break, and although Sandy and some of the other staff have invited him along to a bar night, he’s not really ready to launch into a social life here in L.A. yet – he notices a trailer for something called Secret Heart. And the trailer pings something in his brain, because if he’s got it right then that’s the name of Mack’s show, something that Sandy has been needling him to check out ever since Mack’s brief appearance in the bakery. Because according to her, it’s an absolute requirement for anyone with any pretensions to engagement with popular culture, to check out at least the occasional episode. To at least stream the first series, absolute minimum.
© 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.