Choosing between lesser evils – 6/8

Andrew tapped his pen against the gleaming glass case. “Keep away from those.” Beneath his ball point tip sat a glistening pastry coated in crimson frosting.

“Why?” Violet bent over to match Andrew’s right angle, although she didn’t need to brace herself with a hand on her knee. Her hands instead were wrapped around the straps of her dangling purse to keep them away from the delectable display. Their noses hovered before the clean glass already numbed to the sugary haze filling the spotless bakery.

“I don’t know what she puts in there, but it’s spicy. They’ll leave your mouth on fire for the rest of the day.”

“The label says cayenne.”

“In a donut?”

“It’s a Danish actually.” The shop owner, wearing a flour and dust coated raspberry apron, leaned over the counter with a sugary grin and easy manner amidst the saccharine clouds. Her cheeks curved like swollen bonbons and her pale eyes twinkled as if dusted with silver sprinkles.

Violet straightened and pressed down the invisible wrinkles in her straight knee length skirt while looking down to the butterscotch tiles. Her trim black pumps shuffled away from the display case as if her proximity could transfer the calories instantly to her hips. She drew in a breath and set a strained smile onto her lean lips before looking up over the tempting display. “Thanks.”

“No problem.” The woman’s sunny pony tail bobbed as perkily as her voice. “Can I get you anything?”

“We’re still looking…” said Andrew, straightening and stroking his double chin. He folded his other arm across his chest, causing more folds in his coat, dress shirt and wide tie. His suit already strained around the bulk of his ample belly.

Chimes rang at the bakery’s door.

“Just let me know when you’re ready,” said the attentive owner. She turned with the same cheery grin to the entering customer and headed over with the squeak of her sneakers.

Violet watched the woman’s hair continue to bob as she start a similar round of questions with the snow-man shaped woman peering hungrily at a glistening plate of cream covered tarts. Violet wrapped her arms tighter around her narrow waist and shot Andrew an impatient glare.

“Just get those regular ones.”

“Oh, no, no, no, no. Irene nagged my ear off the last time I showed up with plain yellow donuts.”

“Yeah, but those don’t…light your mouth on fire or have so much sugar on them to send you to the moon.”

“But they’re so plain…”

Violet rolled her eyes. “More people will like them. It’s not like we’re getting these for us. Don’t you remember our customers?”

Andrew crossed both his arms and glared down at a tray of chocolate coated delicacies.

“But there are always leftovers. Might as well get something you want to eat you know?” He glanced up at Violet’s trim form then shook his head. “Guess you wouldn’t…”

Her mouth contorted into a slim pout and she shook out her wrist to glance at the thin silver band and opaque face of her watch. “We’re going to be late.”

“We’re on the clock.”

“We’re supposed be back before the first appointment. A breakfast treat doesn’t mean much if we aren’t back until this afternoon.”

“Alright…alright.” Andrew hunched his shoulders. He stuck both hands into his pocket as he leaned forward to make his final selections.

Violet looked back at the blonde owner. Her dough flecked hands were almost done tying a vibrant blue ribbon around a large white box. The rotund customer traded a wad of cash, waved off her change and the two exchanged broad grins.

“See you later,” said the owner as the plump woman waddled back through the door with the box held lovingly in her stubby hands. Another round of twinkling bells floated across the candy striped curtains and rippled across the glass trays and cases.

“We’re ready,” said Violet.

“So…” The owner picked up another flatted box and started forming it into a square as she neared. Violet looked away from her sweet grin. “You managed to make up your mind?”

“Yeah,” said Andrew, swinging his pen around to an array with frosted stripes. “I’ll take the tray.”


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