A Piece of Cake | Teen Ink

A Piece of Cake MAG

May 17, 2019
By AndrewMcIlvaine BRONZE, Darien, Connecticut
AndrewMcIlvaine BRONZE, Darien, Connecticut
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

It was an August or July afternoon – I can’t remember exactly. I was biking down Seawall Road, and it was hot outside. I’m talking fry-an-omlette-on-the-sidewalk hot.  Miserable temperature. I was coasting past the hardware store, the small market, and that joint “Miss Delilah’s Dessert Parlor” that’s always empty, and I thought to myself, why not check that shop out? I’d never been there before. Worse comes to worst, I’d get a good story about some smelly old bat that makes a sh** pecan pie. I propped my bike against the picket fence out front and pushed open the door. It had one of those cheesy bell contraptions that banged against the glass pane whenever someone entered. I hate those things.

The room smelled like lemon Lysol. Like too much lemon Lysol. Some ancient-looking radio behind the counter was playing that “Jolene” song by Dolly Parton where the ugly chick can’t keep a boyfriend, you know, “Jolene … please don’t take him just because you can.” From behind the counter, some rat of a dog skittered out, barking its tail off. The thing nearly scared me out of my skin.

The dog’s owner, Miss Delilah herself, came rushing into her parlor in a frenzy to shut that thing up. Thank God for her that the restaurant was air conditioned, because if it wasn’t, I’d have been back on my bike at that very moment. The rotund old lady straightened herself up and put her glasses into a pocket. She was wearing one of those purple smock things that had embroidered flowers down near the bottom and pockets all up the front.

“Welcome to Miss Delilah’s Dessert Parlor! What can we get you today?” It was hilariously rehearsed. She smiled at me, one of those old woman smiles with crooked teeth, and I wondered who “we” referred to as we were the only two people in the room. I asked if she had any pecan pie, and she chuckled. “That one is my favorite,” she said, but she had sold all of her pies. “You should return soon to try it, though. It really is quite delicious.”

I mean, of course. I give this woman a chance and she doesn’t even have a damn pecan pie. On the counter sat some platters of cookies and brownies and a few cakes. I think one was supposed to be carrot cake, another must have been chocolate as it looked like a cow pie. I pointed to the third cake, coconut, and asked for a piece. She beamed at me as if I had given her establishment five stars on Yelp and lifted the glass cover. She had wiry gray hair and crinkles around her eyes and mouth. I saw a gold ring hanging on twine around her neck. She caught me staring and smiled, making me squirm. I hate it when old people do that kind of thing – they try to connect with young people in awkward ways when they’ve gotta know that the two of them won’t ever meet again, and they’ll just die some horribly sad old-person death like falling down the stairs, or drowning in a bowl of chicken soup. It’s pathetic. She handed me a slice of her cake. She also handed me a fork and smiled yet again. I asked for some water, and she shuffled through the back door, muttering something about bringing back a jug. I sat down at a small table near the window, and that dog growled again.

I tried a bite of the homemade cake, and I actually gagged. It felt, and tasted, like I was chewing stale bread smeared with lard. I needed to get rid of that cake before the woman came back. There was no trash can, no paper napkins, but here’s the catch – that dog still sat near the counter. I practically flung the cake onto the floor, and spat whatever I had in my mouth in front of the mutt. The dog just stared at me – not at the cake – but at me, and growled. It was like he wanted me to be humiliated.

“Eat it. Eat the damn cake you stupid animal!” But it was no use. The door behind the counter opened and I saw the purple of her smock before I saw anything else. Miss Delilah’s face fell, her wrinkles settling without expression. The door swung shut behind her but she stayed where she stood. She held a water pitcher in one hand and the other hand just hung loosely at her side. I didn’t look in her eyes, I didn’t want to, but I know she stared, just stared at me as I straightened up, cleared my throat, and left her shop. I just left the pile of cake on her linoleum. I needed to. What else could I have done? The door shut behind me with the bell chime, and I mounted my bike. I swear to God, she just watched me as I rode away. I know her dog wasn’t barking, because I could hear my blood pounding in my ears, or maybe I just couldn’t hear the bark. I just don’t know.

But who cares, right?

The author's comments:

I was just having fun when I wrote this!

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