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Cupcake Kissin’ 60 – Alex Ankarr
And for his next trick, Mack begins a volley of cards, and letters, and missives in general. Not emails, and not e-cards, oh no. No, it is very charmingly old-fashioned, his outpouring of words and jokes and smarmy terrible lines, all the ways he’s wooing Caspar now in a literary fashion. (Caspar is cynical enough to wonder if he’s outsourcing the writing to third parties, because frankly, there are a lot of pages involved, and it’s a lot of writing for a guy with a theoretical full-time profession, an agent, a shooting schedule and a promotion schedule into the bargain. But no. He decides the jokes are too terrible for anyone else to take responsibility for them. If they were bought and paid for, then they would be better. This is, after all, the guy who’s bought him cuddly teddies and panthers, and given them names, and asks Caspar if he sets them on his bed to cuddle. (And is outraged to be informed that they live on the couch, and substitute for cushions if Sam or Sara steal his favourite spot.)
Mack hasn’t been invited to Caspar’s apartment yet. He is hinting, a lot, at this point. But no.
The letters and cards include poetry. The poetry is worse than the jokes, although Caspar wouldn’t have credited it without the evidence of his own eyes. A couple of exceptionally notable lines are, ‘let me clear the cloud of fear / and watch as I protect your rear‘. Caspar breaks a rule to make a non-business call to Mack, simply to pass on his appreciation of their terrible genius, tears bedewing his eyes. Mack audibly preens, and Caspar thinks he’s taken Caspar’s congratulations on his poetic genius a little too much to heart. He cuts the call short, but still gets a series of warmly affectionate texts – in rhyming couplets – before he goes to bed.
Maybe he shouldn’t be softening up, but he is. Maybe it’s because of just how endearingly terrible Mack is at courtship, in some ways. The cards he sends are often the mass-market ones with teddy bears and love-hearts on them, huge and satiny and plush and blatant, rather than something subtle and classy. Unfortunately, or not, as Caspar can’t quite decide, it’s getting towards February, and then it is February, and then it’s Valentine’s. And then Mack goes into full hearts and flowers, cards and candy and romance mode. The bakery staff enjoy it thoroughly, and so do Sam and Sara. Caspar thinks he gets enough of a sugar overload from cupcake snacks and break-times, for all he tries to exhibit some restraint. Add in a chocolate overdose, and he’s looking at Type II diabetes before he hits forty.
When Caspar calls him to beg him for mercy, to ask him to call off the chocolate avalanche, Mack is uncharacteristically quiet, subdued. It’s not like him, and it’s difficult even to get a response out of him, for some moments. ‘I don’t know what to do any more,’ he says, and it’s quiet enough that there’s no way Caspar can take it as any kind of a joke. It’s clear enough that he can’t pretend he didn’t hear it, either. ‘I’ll stop if it’s bothering you. It was meant to amuse you. You know, as well as get you to come around. Am I annoying you altogether? I’ll stop if it’s just an annoyance at this point.’
© 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.