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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

How my family terrified a teenage cake shop worker

I'm about to throw you some percentages that I've possibly made up but I do not feel you have the resources to check.

Over 99 percent of brides feel like they would rather spend the day with their leg in a bear trap than plan their wedding. People ask you questions like "when do you want to do the bouquet toss" and "what if we invited this person no one's seen in 20 years and may likely be dead" and "don't you want your wedding to be pretty?" and "can I bring John Stamos as my plus one".

Fig. 1
"First, don’t you ‘Hey, Girl’ me, John Stamos. Second, no. Please leave your John Stamos at the door, Billy. You didn't get a plus one because we all thought you were dead."

Here's the other thing. Of the assumed 99 percent of those imaginary brides I did not interview in this fake study:
  • Two percent of them had their dresses break in a semi-threatening-Janet-Jackson-wardrobe malfunction way.
  • Three percent of them had to figure out whether or not to have the wedding because the groom's mother was in the hospital. 
  • Zero percent of them paid for a wedding cake that didn't show up.
Fig. 2 
I’m going to be honest. I was looking for a Janet-Jackson-wardrobe-malfunction photo. But this is what I found. And this is better. 

For the record, all of these things happened at my wedding. So when the marriage ended a couple years later, I really shouldn't have been surprised. And while I may write a separate blog about all of those things, this blog is about the time my family verbally assaulted and then subsequently terrified a cake shop worker because he would not let us talk to his boss, who was hiding in the back because I am so terrifying. And by "terrifying" I mean "not at all terrifying and sort of awkward.”

Fig. 3
Exhibit A. I am meet-my-favorite-author-and-be-too-terrified-to-stand-next-to-him-so-I-just-close-my-eyes-and-stick-my-boobs-in-his-face awkward.

So the day before my wedding, I stopped by the bakery to bring them our cake topper, a photo for the groom's cake and ribbons that were going to be wrapped around the petit fours I ordered. Petit fours, in case you didn't know, are fancy cupcakes and fancy cupcakes are awesome, so by the law of transitive property, petit fours are fancy-awesome. They're like sugary unicorn hearts. And I was very much looking forward to eating sugary unicorn hearts. The next day went something like this: 

  • I show up at the hotel to get ready. And the cake isn't there. 
  • I get dressed and get my makeup on. And the cake isn't there. 
  • My photographer starts taking our pictures. And the cake isn't there. 
  • The catering manager calls about the cake. Which the bakery says is on its way. So the cake isn't there. 
  • Guests start putting gifts on the cake table, because they think it's a gift table, because the cake isn't there. 
  • I walk down the aisle. And the cake isn't there. 
  • We say our vows. And the cake isn't there. 
  • The reception starts. And the cake isn't there. 
  • My mom has gotten involved in calling the bakery, who is now hanging up on us whenever we call. So is the wedding coordinator, the catering manager, the kitchen manager, a few relatives, the concierge and some homeless guy named Jimmy we found on the Seawall. 

To make a long story short, the wedding ended at 11. The bakery tried to bring the cake at 10:30. Our extremely subtle and eloquent catering manager told them to "get that the hell out of here. We already went out and got them another cake". Which they did. The amazing staff ran out to Kroger, bought a plain white cake, brought it back and dressed it up so that we had something to serve. Because the bakery I went through, that I had just visited the day before, thought I was kidding about the whole needing-a-wedding-cake-for-tomorrow-yes-I've-paid-for-it-already thing.

Let me explain a little about my personality that I may not have touched on before. I'm the person that tough talks someone after they have left the room, shut the door, gotten in their car, have driven away, gotten to their own home and are then safely inside. I’m the person who was basically assaulted by a blind guy on a date. I'm the person who invents fake coworkers when visiting a Taco Bell drive through so I don't have to tell the drive through guy that I don't want to give him my number. I'm relatively non-confrontational, is what I'm trying to say.

So when I had to go and talk to the bakery the following Monday, an army of very confrontational, very loving family and friends eventually joined me. Initially, my brother Jarrett and my friend Kellie went with me. Let me set the scene for you. We drive up to the bakery in Kellie’s SUV. It was Christmas time, and Kellie’s SUV had reindeer antlers and a reindeer nose on it. But in a threatening way. Because Kellie means business. Whether the business is Christmas, or trying to terrify a bakery worker. So in the parking lot is Kellie's reindeer car, an 80s model BMW, and a new Yukon. The 16-year-old kid I dropped my stuff off with the day before the wedding was cleaning the counter. When we walked in, he froze like he thought we were all dinosaurs whose vision was based on movement.

Fig. 4 
No matter what you've heard, I’m not a T-Rex.

Because we were not dinosaurs whose vision was based on movement and I could see him, I said, “Hello. Remember me? I came in the day before my wedding with ribbon and money. And then no one brought my cake. Is your manager here?”
He said no. I asked if she had a cell number we could call. He said no. My brother said, “So. Say a meteor falls out of the sky. And that meteor hits your bakery, and then burns your bakery down. And people are running around screaming on fire. And there’s a meteor in the middle of the kitchen. You can’t call her?”

He confirmed that yes, in the case of meteor fire, he would have somehow been able to reach his manager. 

Fig. 5
It's cool. Morgan Freeman narrated it.

I asked him what he drove. He told me that he drove an 80s model BMW. I asked him what his manager drove. He confirmed that she drove a Yukon. 
Because I am only passive aggressive and not aggressive-aggressive, I told him that we needed to call the police, because her car was in the parking lot. Which meant she was either dead in the back or kidnapped, barring any kind of hitchhiking situation. 

I’m going to skip through the part where I told him that I knew she was in the back cowering behind some cookie tins. And about how I called my co-workers at the local newspaper in front of him and told them that we needed to write a story about a local bakery that steals money from clients. And how Kellie called a local judge she knew about how to pursue legal action while the cake shop worker kid nervously wiped the same spot on the counter over and over again. And how I called the police department to see if I could report the bakery for a crime. I’m going to skip those things and skip right to the best part. Which is the part when my mother and sister walked into the bakery.

First, remember how I said that, unless there is a very scary monster or murderer loose, my sister is fiercely loyal? And how she would rip out somebody’s eyeballs if they hurt my feelings? She got that from my mom. If you hurt my feelings, you'd better pray I don't tell my mom. Because she will rip off your junk. My mom used to tell us in elementary school that if someone cut in front of us in line, she wanted us to trip them. One time, when an elementary school counselor told my sister, who had never before taken tennis lessons or played a single game of tennis (she did own a racket though), that she was probably not going to be a professional tennis player when she grew up, it took every single ounce of restraint in my mother to not go up to the school and murder that B Scarface style. (But without all the cocaine and Cubans. She’s totally against that. Cocaine. Not Cubans. I’m not actually sure how she feels about Cubans.) She is only this way when it deals with someone hurting our feelings. Or telling us we can’t be professional tennis players. That’s apparently my mom’s bugaboo. What I’m getting at is my mom is 99.9 percent hilarious and 0.1 percent terrifying velociraptor with machine guns for arms and machetes for claws riding a great white shark with laser beams for eyes and chainsaws attached to his pectoral fins.

Fig. 6
Rough Estimation. Also, this is clearly my best work yet as an artist. 

They came into the bakery with murder eyes and the counter kid froze again. Like that thing you hear about when someone walks over your grave. Or when a shark-riding velociraptor walks into your bakery.

“Hi,” my mom said sweetly. “What’s your name?”

Then he did a really stupid thing. He said that he wasn't allowed to tell her.

“I’m sorry. What.”

“I can’t tell you my name.”

“Sweetie. You have no idea what you’re getting yourself into. What is your name.” (I know that, grammatically, there should be a question mark there. But she wasn't really asking him to give her his name.)

“I can’t tell you that.”

At this point, my mother started losing her patience.

“We know your manager is back there. And you know what? What she’s doing isn't fair. You’re just a kid. You’re not capable of handling this. You’re not old enough and you don’t know how to deal with us, sweetie.”

And then he made his fatal mistake.

“I DEAL WITH THIS ALL THE TIME!” he passionately proclaimed.

“What?” my sister asked.

“Wait.” I said.

“All the time?” Kellie asked. 

"Dude!" my brother said.

What my mom said, was “I’m going to give you one more chance to tell me your name.” But what it sounded like was, “If you do not give me your name, I am going to give you one million paper cuts, followed by one million Indian burns. And then I am going to rip off your junk.”

What the kid said was, “I can’t give you my name.” But what it sounded like was, “Oh sweet little baby Jesus, please let this end. Please don’t let that lady rip off my junk.”

And she sensed this weakness. She sensed it like a terrifying velociraptor with machine guns for arms and machetes for claws riding a great white shark with laser beams for eyes and chainsaws attached to his pectoral fins.

“Alright!” my mom said. “Someone take his picture!”

And precisely one millisecond later, my sister reached across the counter and put a camera in his confused, frightened face.

So there was this ‘click’ followed by the camera flash followed by total silence.
Except for the kid behind the counter. Who was very busy being frightened and peeing on himself. He screamed: “MYNAMEISTHOMAS!”. It was a lot like Fight Club. Except his name was not Robert Paulson.

Fig. 7
His name was Thomas the Counter Worker...

And that was the day my family and friends verbally assaulted a cake shop worker, acted like the paparazzi, and helped me get my $400 back for a cake that never showed up.