Bakery Blues

Being hardcore is well, hard. I have to party all night and sleep all day and never study to keep up my image. Do you think I want to be doing shots on the weekends? Please, I’d rather be watching the Barbie TV show with my four-year-old sister. But we all have images to keep up. Some more than others. And we all have a breaking point. Mine was earlier today.

It just smelled so good. As if they had baked happiness into those little cakes. I was coming back from my fifth party of the week, starving. Cheap beer in red solo cups doesn’t really count as food. That’s how they got me. The Cupcakery that is. One minute I was cruising down the road in my beat-up convertible, the next I was standing in front of the glass window eyeing a particularly gruesome pink cupcake.

It was perfect: red paper, vanilla cake, creamy pink frosting, and lemon curd guaranteed on the inside. I wanted it more than anything else, but we all have images to keep up. So, I did what any reasonable person would. I bought myself a friggin awesome disguise. Normally, I’d never be caught dead in that hideous, green sweater. It itched worse than the ones my mom knits. Even worse, it clashed with my new hair which was dyed blue with some cheap wash out stuff from the drugstore. It was a lot for a cupcake. But this was the cupcake. You kind of had to be there to get it.

I strolled into the Cupcakery looking like a loser who was way too obsessed with people like me. I flashed the cashier, a middle-aged woman with greasy brown hair and the face of a kindly grandmother twenty years younger, my usual charming smile. “Could I have the gourmet valentine cupcake.” I winked at her and casually leaned against the cash register. “It’s for someone special.”

The cashier stared at me for a moment before pointing to a little sign hanging in front of the display of cupcakes. “We have the right to refuse service to anyone.”

My jaw dropped. The cashier grinned and did a terrible imitation of my casual lean. “Sorry,” she said with a mockingly deep voice. “That special someone’s going to have to wait.”

“How dare you?” I jabbed my finger in her face for emphasis. “Do you know how many girls I’ve made out with because of that casual lean? Eight!” She burst into laughter. “That’s a lot for someone my age!” I sputtered. “You didn’t even do it right, you know? That is my lean!”

The cashier laughed even harder. Her face looked almost pretty if she hadn’t been laughing at me. She grabbed her sides and looked like she was about to pass out from the hilariousness of the situation. When she came to, she had tears rolling down her cheeks. “L-look, kid.” She gasped and wiped at her eyes. “I’m doing you a favor by denying you that cupcake. I mean, you’re practically bulging out of those skinny jeans.”

I glanced down at my ripped black designer skinny jeans. Had I put on weight? I glanced at the cashier and then back down at my jeans. Well, if anyone knew about weighing too much for your outfit, it was her. But I couldn’t have. I was in my prime. I once ate three family sized bags of Doritos and didn’t gain a thing. I looked back up at the cashier, who undoubtedly could see my whole train of thought. She shrugged at me. “Don’t worry, kid. It happens to the best of us. I used to be a size zero but come my seventeenth birthday, my metabolism just couldn’t keep up.”

A choking sound emitted from my throat. “Bu-but I turned seventeen a month ago.” I was beginning to feel faint. Images of myself, fat and alone, flashed through my mind. I was too popular to be lonely. I was too cool to be fat. I had an image to keep up!

The cashier nodded at me in mock sadness. “Looks like you already need to get some bigger jeans to fit your thighs.”

I couldn’t withhold a gasp. Who did this woman think she was? “No!” I yelled, slamming my hand down on the counter. “Give me the cupcake!”

The cashier sighed. “Well, I tried to warn you.” She pressed a few buttons on her register. “That’ll be $10.66.”

There was that choking sound again. I desperately emptied the pockets of my ripped black designer skinny jeans. They could only hold a tiny bit of cash. I dumped the bills on the counter. “I only have five dollars.”

The cashier sighed. And pushed the money back at me. “Well, I guess after all of that, you don’t have enough for that gourmet cupcake. Now move aside, I have other customers to attend to.”

I glanced behind me to see a huge line of people that in my hunger-induced daze, I hadn’t noticed. I was losing it. I was losing my cupcake. But I was hardcore. I don’t lose things.

Am I proud that I stole the cupcake from the Cupcakery? Yes. I think I did a pretty good job for it being my first major crime. Am I proud that the cashier managed to tackle me and sit on me long enough for the police to show up? Perhaps not. But look at me now, in the jail cell, casually leaning against the wall. I’m hardcore like that.


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