The cursed cake
“Hi, Alasdair?” “Hi, yeah?” “We tried to deliver your cake this morning but we just couldn’t find 30 Bridge St…” I do not reside at 30 Bridge St. In fact, […]
“We tried to deliver your cake this morning but we just couldn’t find 30 Bridge St…”
I do not reside at 30 Bridge St. In fact, I do not even think there is such an address in St Andrews. This would certainly explain why Fisher and Donaldson struggled to locate it. I was assured by my girlfriend, who called from America to wish me a happy birthday, that she had clearly iterated the location of my residence to the woman on the phone and was miffed her gift was no longer a surprise. They told me that I ought to pick the cake up from the shop.
I made my way to Church Street with an anticipatory spring in my step. I love cake. I really love cake. As I walked towards that heavenly home of cake, with it’s pink awning and “by Appointment to the Queen” crest, I was on the point of declaring my universal love for all cakes: big and small, carrot and Jaffa. The lot. That is, until I saw my cake.
I could not love this cake. Emblazoned in bold, blood-red cursive was the legend, “Happy Birthday, Love From Nusky”. I tried to look at the perfect peaks of brilliant white cream and the strawberries covered in sugary shellac, but my eyes couldn’t shift their gaze from that unseemly ‘K’. The sender of that cake is called Nushy. I left the shop in the meek, British stupor that comes over the natives of this island when faced with the choice between confronting something awkward and running away from it. We subvert that dichotomy and choose the middle ground, the forlorn shuffle of defeat. I was, however, joined by my American flatmate who point-blank refused to accept that the logical jump from “mistakes happen” to “therefore, we should do nothing about them” was anything but specious.
I returned to the field of broken dreams. “Excuse me, but… but… this ‘K’ should be an ‘H’, can you please help?” To their credit, after a lengthy phone call to the Baking King of Fife or whoever decides these matters, they were more than willing to help. Provided I could make my way to Cupar within the next ten minutes, avec cake, they would attempt plastic surgery on my deformed sponge. The store in St Andrews is simply a Potemkin bakery. Compounded onto the cake disappointment was the realisation that the image of a plump, lovely woman leaping out of bed at half past five every morning to prepare afresh the day’s delectable comestibles was a lie. Grumpy people trudge to an industrial shed in Cupar and flagrantly misspell the inscriptions on peoples cakes. This hurt.
I was backed into a situation where I would have to take remedial action myself. What I thought had been scarlet lettering was, in the cold light of day, an arterial purplish and I failed to find any icing in Tesco to approximate. There was only one course of action open to me. I had to drive a knife though the heart of the ‘K’, obliterating it from recorded history and freeing me from its grasp.
There are pictures of me from that night. I’m beaming, knife in hand, knife in cake. I’m beaming as if that cake hadn’t inspired in me an existential calamity. As if it hadn’t sent me spiraling into a fit of nihilistic despondency and a crisis of consumer confidence. I know Nushy. I know she is articulate and well spoken. I know she can spell her name and that she knows where I live. I didn’t feel American enough to demand some sort of remuneration for the emotional distress that, what I am assuming was their mistake, caused me. All I hope is that next time a St Andrean applies for a house, orders a pint or requires something dry cleaned it goes without a hitch. Because, I just feel a bit let down, like a souffle pulled too soon from the oven*.
*Disclaimer – the cake was delicious.
Written by Alasdair Clarkson, standpoint writer