the state of things
The One With The Cupcakes
by Douglas Lindsay - 11:34 on 02 November 2009
It was a chill Hallowe'en afternoon. One of Two was going to her pal's for a sleepover and had done the requisite dressing-up preparation. Two of Two had been invited to a party, which required not only costume but the bringing along of a dish of creepy food. Two of Two had been well warned by The Parent Currently Known As Mum (TPCKAM) that he could not, under any circumstances, decide at the last minute that he was going to the party, because food preparation was involved. Notice had to be given. TPCKAM, however, made the rookie error of not producing a written and signed contract stating exactly how much notice would be required.
Two of Two continued to insist that he wouldn't be going to the party, (principally because the invitation had come from A Girl.) At approximately seventy-nine minutes prior to the moment when we would be leaving the house to deliver One of Two to her sleepover, the following conversation took place:
One of Two: Can I borrow your vampire cloak in case I need it at the sleepover?
[It was never clear exactly why One of Two might have needed a vampire cloak in order to sit up until four in the morning, watching Dr Who and eating custard.]
Two of Two: No.
One of Two: But you don't need it.
Two of Two: Yes, I do.
One of Two: No you don't, you're not going to a party.
Two of Two: Yes, I am. [Pause] Mum! I'm going to the party!
TPCKAM looked for the contract, and then remembered that she hadn't had one drawn up.
I don't know what I was doing at the time - I suspect it was Nothing - but TPCAKM seemed happy enough in her general annoyance at him to deal with the issue. She came up with the idea of buying pre-made cup cakes and then decorating them with creepy icing and biscuits for headstones. Meanwhile Two of Two made things slightly easier by deciding to go as a vampire footballer, as you do.
Fast forward seventy-nine minutes. I was continuing to do nothing, while TPCKAM was on fire. She had done the cupcakes, and they were already prepped and ready to go in a cake box; she had decorated the kids' faces with green/grey make-up and sorted out any other minor costumes difficulties that had arisen; and she'd also made a creepy jelly which was now in the fridge, setting beautifully as we headed out to deliver One of Two to her thing.
We stopped off at the sleepover house for coffee. Two of Two stayed in the car as a result of the double whammy of there being Girls in the house and him being dressed as a zombie footballer. Half an hour later we headed back out to the car, the plan being to go home, collect the creepy food, deliver Two of Two to his party, before TPCKAM and I would head off to the pub, as used by Simon Pegg in Hot Fuzz, for a pint of cider.
TPCKAM was reasonably sanguine, but still had a bit of an edge about her, was still narking at Two of Two for his late change of mind. Nevertheless, chatting amiably in the car, she mentioned that we had to get home, collect the cakes, see if the jelly had set and turn it over if it had.
Two of Two, feeling slightly abashed, sat in the back, thinking that he ought to try to do something helpful. He caught the words "turn it over".
We re-entered the house, already late for the party and in a bit of a time crunch. Strangely though, everything seemed to be going in slow motion, as we headed towards disaster, for all the world like we were in a Brian De Palma film.
Two of Two, determined to make amends, headed straight for the kitchen. He picked up the box of beautifully prepared cupcakes, and followed the only instructions that he'd heard. He turned them over.
As Carmina Burana sounded out around the house, the beautifully created cupcakes spilled upside down in slow motion, crashing to a messy grave on the underside of the lid of the cake box.
Two of Two had helped like only a nine year-old wee boy can.
TPCKAM let cry a mournful wail full of frustration, desperation and despair.
I continued to do nothing, as it had worked so well up until that point.
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