Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Write in the MYSTERY genre (04/05/07)
- TITLE: Naked Cream Puffs
By Angela M. Baker-Bridge
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It was Homecoming Weekend, 1982. All year I’d looked forward to the three-day event. I loved reuniting with the Alumni. Some returned married, others with families, all returned more mature then when they’d been students. Mature included wrinkling, graying hair, balding, additional chins… all the things they swore hadn’t happened to me – obviously they were too vain to wear prescription glasses yet.
Besides staff responsibilities, I’d been busy at home. Some alumni would visit and everything had to be perfect, especially dessert. With legendary culinary skills, how could I serve anything less? I did however have one major obstacle – my husband’s insatiable sweet tooth! I was determined to prevent his usual sabotage of my presentation. No more lemon meringue pie without peaks, crumb cake sans crumbs, chocolate volcanoes cut-into, or strawberries picked from atop the cheesecake! Over the years fighting, begging, shaming, nothing had worked to change his mischievous antics. I accepted his childish challenge. Ingeniously I devised and carried out a plan all week to outwit him. It required the assistance of a non-sweet-eating sworn-to-secrecy conspirator. We’d show him!
With my jacket finally on, I hurried to my accomplice’s home. Nervously I fumbled with the key until the door unlocked. My heart pounded as though I’d been running. “This is crazy!” I giggled to myself. Sneaking around carrying out amateur capers was not me. Then why was I tiptoeing through my friend’s kitchen in the dark? Worrying if my husband realized I’d left? Praying guests hadn’t arrived?
Why? For sweet revenge!
Opening her refrigerator, I removed the first foil-covered tray and placed it on the nearby counter. The smell of the rich chocolate filled the air. “Oh won’t he be surprised that I baked 48 jumbo chocolate-glazed Cream Puffs without his knowledge!” My smile was so wide my face hurt. With the last tray in hand, I lifted the foil to peak at my magnificent delicacies.
“NO!” I gasped. The shockwave going through my body almost caused my trembling hand to drop the tray. Fury raged within me. “Where the heck are the tops?” Horrified, I counted over a dozen naked Cream Puffs.
My blood boiled. “I’ll kill him! He played me… asking when was I going to start baking for Homecoming… acting worried that I was waiting for the last minute and then would be exhausted. Oh he was concerned alright, about how to rub it in my face that he beat me at my own game!”
My mind raced as I relived our conversations. “Did I give him any clues? How did he get in here without anyone knowing?” Filled with questions, no time to find answers, I focused on a penalty for my husband’s crimes of deceit and theft.
Returning home, I saw my guests arriving. I used the door nearest the kitchen, hid the damaged pastries, arranged the others on a platter, composed myself and ventured out smiling. I glanced at my husband. He asked if everything was okay.
“Of course, what could be wrong, sweetheart?” I replied, smiling while thinking, “you scoundrel.”
“What’s for dessert?” he asked, walking over to hug me.
“Oh, he’s good,” I fumed.
“You know what I made,” I laughed while poking his belly.
“You baked? I never found anything,” he countered.
“Oh, I sneaked into the kitchen when no-one was around,” I replied watching his face for signs of guilt.
“Humm. Well, they look great as always, but there doesn’t seem to be as many as you usually make.”
That was it. I confronted him.
Swearing his innocence, he acted hurt that I’d rushed to judgment against him. “Well, if you’re not the thief, then who is?” My investigation began:
- Maintenance ... Alibi
- Babysitter ... Not that day
- Housekeeper ... Never opened refrigerator
- Conspirator’s husband ... Out-of-town
- Visitors ... None
- Witnesses ... None
No clues. No suspects. No resolution.
While visiting my conspirator days later, I mentioned the unsolved mystery. Looking sheepish, she confessed to the crime.
“What? But you don’t eat sweets!” I blurted-out.
“I just wanted to taste the chocolate glaze, and then I couldn’t stop.”
After a moment of silence, we burst out laughing until we ached.
I learned two lessons:
1) What seems to be safe, may not be
2) Without evidence, people shouldn’t be judged*
I'd rather let God solve my mysteries and judge my adversaries; I'll eat Cream Puffs.
*Matthew 7:1; "Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” NIV
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