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Flash Fiction: The Power of Pastry

Annie clutched the slice of wedding cake to her plump bosom. No matter how tempted she was, this slice wasn’t for eating. At least, not until tomorrow. She reached into her purse for the ziplock baggie that had held her lunch cookies, and slid the cake into it. Then she placed it resolutely into her purse—getting squashed wouldn’t hurt it any. Not for her purposes, anyway.

Besides, it was a great party, with plenty of other food. She partied until long after the lucky couple had left for their honeymoon, then went home to her lonely efficiency apartment.

She pulled out the cake and opened the bag. It wasn’t as squashed as she expected, and her stomach rumbled. Resolutely, she added one petal from the rose Maria had given her, out of the bride’s bouquet. Maria was slim and pretty; it was no surprise she’d caught it. But she was generous to her friends too, she gave everyone a flower, “for luck”.

Then Annie got out her grandmother’s Book, checked the directions again. She chanted the nonsense syllables, breathed into the bag, sealed it, and placed it under her pillow. Then she laid down, willing herself to dream, to see her own future husband.

Again and again her thoughts wandered, but Annie refused to get up for a snack, or to let herself daydream about cute musicians. She focused on that bit of cake, on herself in a wedding dress. Her thoughts became disjointed, but the images of the cake, the wedding dress, kept flitting through them.

Then she was pinned by a bright, oddly green light. She was in a field, in a plain white dress, with none of the glitter or lace she’d always imagined for her wedding. Above her was a—an origami Christmas ornament? At least, that’s what she thought at first. But the light was coming from it, and suddenly, she was flying through the air, her beautiful, ridiculous, uncomfortable pumps sliding off her feet and falling into the field below.

She rose up to the odd-looking object, seeing the origami folds open, showing an alien air-lock. She floated effortlessly inside, feeling safe and loved. A sprinkle of glowing lights hovered in front of her face, like a bridal veil. She smiled. She floated into the airlock, which closed behind her. Music started, but it was weird, chaotic, as if the orchestra couldn’t decide whether to play the Star Wars theme or a wedding march.

As she floated down the corridor into a high-tech robotic laboratory, Star Wars won, then segued into Vader’s theme. She floated onto the table, and a robot stepped up with a scissors and reached for her gown. “Hey! Stop. I’m supposed to be dreaming about my wedding, not some stupid alien abduction thing.”

“Wedding? What wedding?” She knew that voice.

“Todd? Is that you? What kind of best friend cuts up his friend’s wedding dress.”

“How else am I going to get to see you naked? Besides, this is just a dream. I probably won’t even remember it in the morning.”

The robot advanced again, and Annie sat up, swatted its hand away and grabbed the scissors. “You want to talk to me, you get out here in person!”

“I’m no good at talking in person. What’s this about a wedding? This isn’t your dress for Cat’s wedding. That one was blue, and shorter. Right?”

“I’m talking about my wedding!”

“You’re getting married?”

“Yes. Well no, not right now. But eventually, I hope.”

“So why are you in a wedding gown now?”

Annie blushed. “Well, there was this spell—this folktale, really—in Grandma’s Book. Anyway, it said if I slept on a piece of wedding cake I would dream about my future husband.”

“That’s just stupid superstition. Who did you dream about?”

“I’m dreaming about you. Unless you count the robot.”

“See? Like I said, superstition. Guys like me don’t get married. Girls don’t like us.”

“I like you.” Annie protested, loyally.

“Not that way.”

She wondered if that was true. “How do you know? You never asked.”

“Well, yeah, guys like me don’t ask. And we don’t have conversations like this either. You know, having analyzed the situation, I think you’re right. This is not my dream. There is no way this is my dream. In my dream, you’d be laying there quietly while the robot cut your clothes off. This—this is just bogus. Unless you want to get undressed for me without the robot?”

“You—you want to see me naked?” Annie was astonished, but then felt powerful. Sexy. It was a very weird feeling.

“Well, duh! What do you think I am? Chopped liver?”

“Oh. I mean, no.”

“So, are you going to get naked?”

She reached for the buttons on her bodice, but stopped. The robot and the spaceship were fading. “Maybe later.”


The dream dissolved, and Annie found herself laying in bed, wide awake, the dream clear and sharp in her memory, like the world seen through new glasses. She sat up.


She tried the word on her tongue. She’d always thought he was cute. But he wasn’t interested in her. She’s always been taught that guys asked for sex if they were interested in a person, and sometimes even if they weren’t, if they were horny. And guys were always horny.

Though, she reflected, that didn’t seem at all like Todd.

She checked the calendar. They were getting together to watch scifi movies tomorrow—well, technically today. Alone—Marcus and Ent were off to some conference. She smiled, then bit her lip. If he wouldn’t ask her, she would have to ask.

Suddenly, she felt very nervous.

She resolved to bake brownies tomorrow, double-rich with extra dark chocolate bits. For courage.

I've been buried in NaNoWriMo, and wasn't worrying about #fridayflash, but here's it's time to be writing and gee, my subconscious starts me on a flash story. It's amazing what a bit of habit-making can do!

I hope you'll leave me a comment.


( 19 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 6th, 2009 06:09 am (UTC)

Did I ever mention that Colleen is the one who had to take the lead all through our "courtship"?
Nov. 6th, 2009 06:14 am (UTC)
I think you did. Where I could read it, even. (-:
Nov. 6th, 2009 11:49 am (UTC)
Those geeky types - they're the way to go :)
(although I didn't listen to my own advice in the end!)

I've heard about that superstition, and I'm UK-based and grew up in greece: I guess it gets around!
Nov. 6th, 2009 12:08 pm (UTC)
Sweet! I really enjoyed this, could picture everything as I followed along. I'm glad she's working up the nerve to make the first move. :)
Nov. 6th, 2009 01:41 pm (UTC)
Loved it. I slept on tons of cake slices when I was a kid, but I don't recall having any cool dreams like this--but I do remember eating the squished cake :)
Nov. 6th, 2009 06:56 pm (UTC)
Thanks. The one time I tried, I put the cake all the way under the pillow--on the floor. Even dreamed of just one guy, a stranger to me, though I never met him later.

But at least the cake was still fluffy and nice when I ate it!
Nov. 6th, 2009 05:15 pm (UTC)
It was truly delicious! I have never heard of this bit of lore. You are the pastry chef extraordinaire.
Nov. 6th, 2009 07:01 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

Since I know you're new here, I thought I'd mention there's a list of more flash stories (with links) at http://wyld-dandelyon.livejournal.com/64422.html

You have no obligation to go look, of course, but you're welcome to, all the same. (-:

And welcome to my journal as well.
Nov. 6th, 2009 07:28 pm (UTC)
A long time ago, I overly internalized the message that guys who were always pushing themselves on girls were jerks -- so now I'm Todd, hoping that a fairy tale I don't believe in will come true.
Nov. 6th, 2009 07:36 pm (UTC)
The wonderful thing about the human brain is that you can reprogram it. Slowly and with effort, true, and with mistakes along the way--but I've seen how far you got with music over the years. Once you figure out that something you internalized like that isn't functional, you do have the capability of learning something that is.

There's a huge difference between "always pushing yourself on girls" and selectively expressing interest in women!
Nov. 6th, 2009 10:37 pm (UTC)
Nice. I'd never heard this superstition either. I like the way it ended. You're good at surprise endings :)
Nov. 6th, 2009 11:35 pm (UTC)
Thank you.
Nov. 7th, 2009 11:14 pm (UTC)
Very well-written
Nice piece. I'd not heard of the cake tradition, only the flowers. Great description here.
Nov. 8th, 2009 02:43 pm (UTC)
You had me at the title
Loved this! I felt right at home, like you were telling me the story over coffee. Nice voice, nice build up. I KNOW these people. Great job.
I hope Todd doesn't faint when she kisses him.
Karen :0)
Nov. 9th, 2009 02:16 am (UTC)
I like the collision of superstition and stereotypes.

Nov. 10th, 2009 01:18 am (UTC)
I liked this. It made me laugh! :)
Nov. 10th, 2009 02:13 am (UTC)
Thanks for stopping by to read it!
Nov. 11th, 2009 10:12 pm (UTC)
Oh, I'd heard the cake thing before. Fun twist on it though!

Nov. 12th, 2009 12:01 am (UTC)
Glad you dropped by to read!
( 19 comments — Leave a comment )


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