To escape the rain, a vain young woman runs into a café. But this is no ordinary café, and she's about to have an extra-ordinary day...

Created: July 14,2020

Kat ran into the cafe, shaking the rain out of her dark curly hair. She had ran into the first open door she could find to avoid the unexpected rain. She looked around the cafe now, small and cozy, in a 1920s French style. It had tiles on the floor and plush red booths where a few couples were chatting over coffees topped with whipped cream.

She walked up to the bar and sat at one of the red stools. The baristo behind the counter, dressed in a clean white shirt with a black vest and bowtie, came over to her with a big smile on his face. "What can I get you?"

"Just something to pass the time. An americano I guess."

"No umbrella today?" the baristo asked as he manned the espresso machine.

"Ugh, no. There was no rain in the forecast, and I don't want to destroy my Gucci heels and Luis Vuitton bag. I don't know why we as a society decided to trust weather men," she sighed, slinging her expensive bag onto the counter. She took a look at the pastries behind it. There were the usuals, cookies and biscotti in glass jars, a neatly stacked tray of nanaimo bars, but in the centre of it all placed high on a pedestal was a single plain doughnut under a bell jar. "You guys are serious about your doughnuts."

"Well that one is special," he smiled as he placed the delicate floral mug filled with coffee in front of her.

"What's so special about it? Not going to lie, I never pick the plain doughnut."

"This one grants wishes."

Halfway through sipping her coffee, she snorted the black liquid through her nose as she tried to stop herself from laughing. "What?" she coughed.

"If the doughnut finds you worthy it will grant any wish you want."

"How does a doughnut find you worthy?" Kat couldn't wipe the goofy smile off her face, and only found it funnier that the baristo was being so casual about it. It was May. There was no way this was an April Fool's joke.

"Once the entire doughnut is placed in your mouth, you'll be asked five questions."

"Okay, okay, this is like a special promotion or something?" she looked around the cafe for posters. "Are you guys called the Magic Doughnut or something?"

"It's not a promotion, but it is special," he leaned in close, and she felt a prickle run down the back of her neck.

Her stomach growled. Staring at all these snacks was making her hungry, and a part of her wondered if maybe she was going to win a prize. She'd come back here if she won free coffee for a year.

"All right, I'll bite. How much for the doughnut?"

"It's free to try. The price you'll pay is if the doughnut finds you unworthy."

"Right, right. Okay, let's try to do this with a straight face.

The baristo carefully took the bell jar off the doughnut. Instantly the smell of vanilla wafted towards her. On a plate equally as fancy as her coffee cup, the baristo placed the doughnut in front of Kat. "It won't work unless you fit the entire thing in."

Kat felt ridiculous shoving an entire doughnut into her mouth, but it also made her smile. When was the last time she had let go and just had fun with something? It was good to play make believe once in a while.

"Awrigh', as' away!" she mumbled as she chewed the doughnut, trying to mush it into her cheeks to speak better.

"Beatles or the Rolling Stones?"

Kat narrowed her eyes in confusion. "Wike, uh 'usic?"

"Yes, like the music."

Kat rolled her eyes. She was more partial to Elvis. "Uh 'eatles."

"What's the most embarrassing thing you've done all year?"

"'is," Kat said, pointing to her mouth.

"When's the last time you made someone cry?"

Kat frowned, as well as one could frown with a chewed-up doughnut in her face. Her mother had cried the last time they had spoken on the phone. "I'm sorry I wasn't a better mother," she had blathered while Kat had been forced to listen to her familiar and boring rant. But since she didn't even think those were real tears, she just shrugged.

"I 'on't 'emember," she shrugged.

The baristo paused. Did he not believe her? Did it matter? This was just a silly game she hoped was part of some hidden camera show. She was hoping she'd win a real prize, and not some silly wish.

"Who was the last person you disappointed?"

Her mother again? No, her mother was disappointed in herself, not her daughter. The disappointment would have belonged to her father. "I just want you to be happy!" he had yelled the last time they'd seen each other, back when she was still in university. He had come for a surprise 'visit', just a lame excuse to spy on her. After finding her wasted and missing class he'd laid into her how she was throwing her life away. She knew he was annoyed because she wouldn't let him live vicariously through her.

"'y 'dog. I forgot 'o feed him 'is 'orning..." Kat said, realizing it was true. Her dog would be disappointed.

"Why do you deserve anything good in life?"

Kat was stumped. If this was a hidden camera show she didn't really get what the joke was. Were they seeing if this guy could piss off customers or something. She was glad it was the last question, because she had officially lost interest - and patience. Whatever her prize was, it better be damn good at this point.

"'ecause I'm awesome," she muttered, her sarcasm unclear through the doughnut. She swallowed. "Is that it?"

He nodded, a big smile on his face. "Make your wish."

"That's it?" Kat looked around uncertainly. It was a bit of an anti-climax.

"Depends on how you've been judged. Make your wish and see if it comes true," the baristo winked.

Kat sighed. "I wish I was rich."

There was a pop, like air rushing in to fill a space. Kat disappeared, and where her head had been a chocolate doughnut appeared. As it fell the baristo reached out and grabbed it. He looked at the chocolate doughnut dipped in chocolate sauce, and filled with chocolate cream. He nodded, impressed.

"Well that is certainly the richest doughnut I have ever seen," he turned and placed the doughnut in the bell jar. And there it would wait, until the next person.

Submitted: April 11, 2020

© Copyright 2023 Guenevere Lee. All rights reserved.

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