The hours were dwindling away and the arrival of the cake, his cake, wasn’t soon enough. Jimmy had been waiting months for the wedding day. Not because it was his wedding day, but because of the cake. Jimmy was nine years old and his position in the family was as it had always been, and it seemed to be at a standstill. He was the nephew of the bride, Gina, the son of Gina’s brother, Greg, the grandson of Greg’s parent’s Marilynn and Jon, the brother of his siblings, Tim, Sam and Brandon and the far distant, long-but-forgotten cousin of the majority of the guests on the list.
The bride, Gina, and her fiancé, Matt, had planned this day (this Utopian day) for the past year. This would be a wedding that was to account for every last detail of every last part of anything having to do with every last bit of sunshine and moonshine of that day…everything. The punctiliousness with which this event was conceived was almost unimaginable. Everything had been planned and dealt with: the color of suits, the style of dresses, the décor of every locale, inside and out, the tables, the ceiling, the lights, the dust, the birds, the hair, smiles, voices, and skin tones of every guest, even the sun and the moon were arguably at the mercy of this day. It was widely-known that more money, thought, time, patience and consideration had been showered upon this very event than any other in the centennial history of this small town of Parsha, Wisconson, population 29,045.
Jimmy didn’t (nor could he) care about any of that. There was only one item of business on his mind, and that was dessert. He didn’t know a whole lot about weddings, but he knew that, somewhere in there, somewhere during the course of this whole fancy-shmancy old-people-party, there was going to be a cake. And what he knew about this cake was that, when he thought about or heard mention of it, it gave him chicken skin, caused his body to experience butterflies and tingling sensations at random intervals throughout the day, and, more or less, sent him into a frenetic sugary haze which usually happily brought him closer to loss of consciousness. He didn’t really get the intricacies or overall purpose of old-people-parties, but, he knew that he didn’t have to. All he had to focus on was what made his face burst into smiles, his tongue dance and his tummy grumble, and that was this cake. He knew that when the cake finally showed up, it was going to be angelic – possibly the most scrumptious and sugary goodness his pallet had ever been in contact with.
The wedding had been in the works since May of the previous year, but that had no relevance, in the slightest, to Jimmy. Being the youngest in the family, Jimmy knew how to best position himself in order to get information that he would otherwise have missed. He remembered the evening that he had first heard of the cake. It was the evening of January 27th, two months until D-Day. It was almost midnight and he had been put to bed long before by his mother, Denise (Greg’s wife. Greg, if you’ll remember, is Gina’s brother). He had drunk a liberal dose of water with his dinner and up several times that evening to go to the bathroom. It was at 11:44 (he had looked at the digital Spider-Man clock that was sitting on his dresser drawer below the lamp next to his bed) when he first had to go. He opened his bedroom door quietly and, in an incognizant act of somnambulism, shuffled the short distance down the hallway to the open door and the calm dark room behind it. Jimmy was awake on his way back, but eager to climb back into the solace of his cotton sheets.
“…the cake yet?”
He stopped instantly. It could have been that it was late, he wasn’t fully awake, the toilet didn’t flush properly or, for whatever other reason, he was hearing things. Jimmy didn’t accept that. He had heard the word crisply, clearly and as though someone was looking him right in the face in a solitary sound-proof room of an abandoned library and shouted the word. Yes, he heard the word. The word was ‘cake’.
“Yes, we have actually; we ordered it today. We were practically on the phone for four and a half hours making sure that the company understood exactly what we wanted. Denise, wait ‘til you see this thing. It’s going to be amazing!”
Jimmy leaned in closer, making his right ear the closest part of his body to the conversation.
“Well,” he heard his mom’s voice, “I’m listening.” Gina began to describe it. The more he heard her talk, the more he wished his bedding was right where he was standing. He found himself propping himself up against the wall so as not to pass out from the sensuous beauty of the glorious object of her words. The only thing keeping him awake was the understanding that the protagonist of her story (this wondrous item of sapidity) was actually going to manifest in the future. He closed his eyes and, just for moment, made an attempt to construct it in his mind. He took what he knew about it and let his mind take it from there.
It was taller than all of the buildings in the city. The cake was a building. The layers were uncountable. It was shrouded in a milky white, silky icing. There were slides going from one level to the next and brightly colored windows made of sugarcane and vanilla crystals. When he looked up, the top of the cake towered into the clouds and disappeared, but the clouds seemed to be hugging the tower as tightly as they could. He could see the faces on the clouds high in the sky. Their shapeless mouths lovingly bit into the snow-white frosting on the exterior of the cake which was covered with strawberry slices and dollops of pink whipped cream. The sun had a face and smiled down upon the cake and all those below. Jimmy reached his hand out to feel the warmth of the day, but instead he felt small droplets in his palm. As his eyes focused, he noticed the droplets in his hand were different colors and they were long, thin and cylindrical. They were sprinkles. It was raining sprinkles! There were reds, greens, yellows, blues, whites and pinks. The sprinkles were coming down all around him.
He looked back down at the ground level and saw people walking in and out of the cake; the men wore white suits and neckties with a raspberry pattern. The women dressed in Spring dresses that were dotted with chocolate and peanut butter chips. Their shoes were shiny and black, but left chocolaty footprints on the cream-colored marshmallow path that led up to the ingress of the white towering torte. Jimmy felt himself moving toward the glow of the frosting-painted structure. It got higher as he got closer. He had spent so much time looking up that, before he knew it, he was at the front door – a revolving one, made of taffy and chocolate bars. Just as he moved to push his way in, the door spun around in a fury and out flew a gentleman in what appeared to be the standard uniform, an immaculately white suit with a necktie that was dotted with pineapple prints. The necktie even smelled like a pineapple. In one fluid motion, the man whirled out of the door in his white suit, came to a halt right in front of Jimmy and presented himself in a bow. “Good day to you, Jimmy.”
“Jimmy…Jimmy,” his mother’s voice hung lightly in the space between sleep and the waking world. “Jimmy? Wake up, Honey.” Jimmy made a long irritable grunt that, read correctly, begged his mother to go away and send him back to the cake tower. After a few other-than-successful whines, Jimmy reconciled to his mother carrying him back to bed. Although he was tired, his purpose was clear. When he awoke next, he would devise a plan. That cake was going to be his. It belonged to him and that’s how it would be. He just needed time to make that happen.
The next day at school, Jimmy did his work perfunctorily. Reading, Arithmetic, Writing and Vocabulary seemed to pass right by him. He followed the actions of others and did his best to keep attention away from himself. He didn’t hear much of what Mrs. Hass was saying. Most of it became muffled and incomprehensible by the time in arrived at the sides of his head. Nothing in the classroom seemed to stimulate him the same way they would most days. No one noticed him; no one payed any attention. It was just they way he wanted it. When the first recess bell rang, Jimmy was the first out the door. He ran straight for the tires and waited for his two best friends, Alvin and Jared, to meet him there.
Alvin, Jimmy and Jared had been friends since First Grade and their friendship had grown exponentially every year since then. Both Jared and Alvin lived on either side of Jimmy.
“It’s going to be monstrous,” Jimmy assured. He had spent almost the majority of the time they had together relating the description of the cake his Aunt Gina had provided the night before. Both Jared and Alvin were salivating listening to the flavors that were going into this masterpiece. That wasn’t enough, Jimmy decided. Once he finished with the monologue of his aunt, he quickly delved into his dream. He told of the sprinkles that rained down upon the endless vertical expanse of white fluffy edible goodness. He told of the men and women that were walking in and out of the cake who dressed in white and raspberries. On and on, the two companions listened as Jimmy’s words became paragraphs and pages of a sugar entrancement.
“So, all we need now is a plan,” said Alvin after hearing the last scrumptious word of Jimmy’s tale.
“That’s why I’m telling you about my dream, Doofus.” Jimmy stated strongly. “If the three of us come up with something solid, we can have all of this cake all for ourselves. The bell’s gonna ring soon, so let’s just meet up next recess and again tonight.” They made a stack of hands in front of them as a vow of agreement. The bell rang seconds later. The day passed more slowly than it did normally. The boys were all eagerly awaiting nightfall and the chance to meet up again to discuss their plans to nab the greatest cake ever.
The school day ended and Alvin was the first get picked up. Jimmy and Jared were ushered home minutes later. While in the car, on the way home, Jimmy began to think of ideas for the meeting tonight. He reached in to his backpack and pulled out a think piece of paper. He needed to encode this page so others didn’t know what it was. He wrote the letters ‘C’ ‘A’ ‘K’ and ‘E’ in each corner of the blank page. Each letter was written backwards and upside down.
“How was your day today, Honey?”, his mom asked. It was always the same question. It always received the same answer. “Good, Mom.” The drive was smooth and ideas were slowly but surely coming to him. As soon as the car pulled into the driveway, Jimmy heaved his book bag over his shoulder and gave the daily cry of thanks, “Thanks, Mom!” as he sprinted to the front door, ran upstairs and into his room. He was safe.
Jimmy wasn’t seen again until dinner. Chicken tenders and Uncle Ben’s rice were the only two combinations on the menu. It usually was something that he would have quite a say in, but tonight it wasn’t the most important thing around. Tonight there would be other issues that occupied his time. After gulping down his water and rushing through his meal, Jimmy thanked his mother and rushed back upstairs. Only two more hours and the meeting could start. The meeting would start on time. Jimmy packed his backpack with his sheet of ideas on nabbing the cake, an extra notepad, some markers, the last hunk of the cheese block, two boxes of Lemonheads and his green flashlight. The bag zipped up swiftly and, when the time was right, he slid his arms through the straps and headed off to meet the others.
The meeting place that night was the same as it had always been – Jared’s house. It seemed to be the only piece of property that had enough space for hiding out of the view of adults. Jared’s father worked at a bank, he had for years, and had therefore amassed enough wherewithal to secure the family a decent backyard. To some, well, to many, four acres of land was beyond what constituted a “decent” backyard, but to Jared’s father it was appropriate, and to Jared, it was a sanctum. The land was filled with piles of wood, thickets and rows upon rows of large oak trees. There was one tree that, in some way (no one remembered how) had been established as the “Tree of Counsel.” It was an oak tree that was seven and a half feet in diameter. On the back side of the tree (the side that faced away from the house) there was a small opening at the base; it was small enough to be unrecognized by the unsuspecting, yet big enough to allow passage of the small and pliant frames of the these three devious boys. The inside was hollow; it was just the way that Jared had found it one day while playing Super Heroes by himself shortly after the family had moved in. He didn’t understand how it happened (his mind guessed that it was anything from a lightning strike to a bunch of specialized army ants to a teleportation spot for aliens), but it was, indeed, as empty on the inside as his newly acquired room – the perfect place for a hideout.
The boys squeezed through and sat in their usual spots, Jared getting the best spot since it was his yard, his tree and “he found it first.” Zippers were unzipped and the first items that emerged from the bags were flashlights and snacks. The lights were placed in the center of their circle and the glow of all three bulbs illuminated their tree cave. There was a mutual feeling that the ambiance of progress was upon them and that things were going to be accomplished. Alvin shot Jared a look of disbelief when Jared pulled out an entire turkey and swiss-cheese sandwich from his bag. Jared noticed the look and felt that justification was in order, “What? I had dinner three hours ago. You want me to starve?” Alvin just shook his head and took from his bag a small bag of gummi bears and a notepad.
“The arrival of our cake is only a few months away; we need a plan so that it’s all ours,” Jimmy opened.
“I don’t know, Jimbo. We’re only in 4th Grade. What can we actually do to take a cake from a party of adults?” Alvin said. “Yeah, besides, isn’t the party for your family only? How are we going to even get close?” Jared added. Jimmy looked at both of them as they spoke to show that he was considering what they were saying. “Look,” he said, “I have a plan.” And he proceeded. Notes were taken, drawings were done in the dirt that lay on the inside of the hollow tree and, as the hours passed and the three spoke, there was a noticeable structure beginning to take place. When the three came out of hiding and back into the world, there was a hint of light that traversed the once pitch black of night they remembered when they had arrived. The stars were fading and the black night was becoming blue. Morning was on the doorstep. They needed to get back to their rooms for at least a few hours of sleep before it entered.
The morning of the wedding was a cool one, but it was the sunshine that sparked Jimmy to arise with an alacrity that was far from customary. The ceremony itself was held at the Fire in the Sky Methodist Church, just outside the city limits on South Mill Drive. It was one that, though Jimmy would yawn through, he would be glad to attend. As far as Gina was concerned, Jimmy was to be on his most angelic behavior and not to make too much movement. For the abiding to such regulations, Gina had granted her little brother his sole request of allowing both of his accomplices, Jared and Alvin, to be present at the wedding. It wasn’t one of the facets of her dream wedding, but if it would keep Jimmy from being the obnoxious brother that he would no doubt be otherwise.
The day was a long one. They only had to wait a number of hours and then the festivities would start. It seemed like an eternity at first, but as the morning progressed, their minds began to drift from the concerns of the hour hands on the wall to the object of their mind’s eye.
Before they had a true moment to collectively discuss the event that would occur forthwith, there were shouts of joy and laughter along with applause and airborne confetti – the bride and groom were now official. The cake would come next and the boys couldn’t wait.
The cake was waiting for them when they arrived. Alan and Jared stood behind Jimmy after he came to a complete halt after a few paces in the doorway. They stared up and their jaws were no longer a part of their faces. It was as though they lost feeling in their fingers and toes. Jared dropped to his knees and began to weep at the sight of it. Jimmy grinned at what lay before him – the towering white pile of everything that made him happily queasy in his cake dreams. It was a tall white tower of ivory sugar (draped with red cherry pearls, chocolate truffles and a miscellany of other multicolored goodies. It was just a matter of hours, and it would be theirs.
The cake was placed in the corner of the banquet hall, out of sight unless visually sought after. It was just as he had seen it in his mind. The beginning of the evening for feeding the guests. Gina and Matt had decided on a buffet-style trough at the entrance where plates, glasses and the necessary cutlery would be on hand in front of a smorgasbord of sweet and savory appetizers and entrees. When the signal was given, the guests arose and made their way, by table number to the buffet selection table. Jimmy and his cake-filchers didn’t move; they were saving. They sat and held hands under the table, eyes closed, as the commotion rose from the geusileptic aisle of mouthwatering cuts of beef, seasoned meats, cheeses, soft spiced breads and salads heavy with dressing and salmon.
“Trust me, boys,” said the triumvirate’s fearless leader, “it will all be worth it in just a little longer.”
Dancing came next, as did the libations. Jimmy put his head on an imaginary swivel and took notice of the guests. Wine was at every table. People were laughing at times and, at others, appearing to remain in interested conversation so as not to be bothered to dance. Jared and Alan couldn’t take the sitting and waiting, so they ran to the dance floor and let loose; this way they could take their mind off of waiting for the job to be done and let others (mostly the newlyweds) know that they were having a good time.
The dinner and the dancing passed by as quickly as it had begun. “Ladies and Gentlemen, may I have your attention,” eyes turned and spotted the location of the microphone at center stage. A younger man in a tuxedo wearing sunglasses and a red bow tie had temporary control of the room. “My name is Michael Davis and it has been my pleasure to be your Master of Ceremonies for this lovely union of Gina and Matt.” A warm applause helped the man space his wording. “And now comes one of the most enjoyable parts of the evening, the cutting of the cake!” As the applause begain, the man continued. “Let us direct our eyes to the back of the room for the wedding cake of Gina and…..” The cake was gone.
“Quick! We turn right at the end of the hall!” shouted Jared. Jimmy and Alan were pushing the tray table that had held the cake down the hall as fast as they could without allowing the tort to tip. Jared was in out in front holding a piece of paper in his looking at it meticulously. It was a map of the building. He had been studying the aisles, hallways, exits and entrances two weeks before the main event and had located what, he thought, to be an inconspicuous soundproof room on the 5th floor.
The three had sweat running down their foreheads and hands. It wasn’t just their suits that were causing the heat either. It was something that had to do with the fact that the only custom cake of Jimmy’s newlywed sister that had been not only costly but in the works for months was on it’s way to a private room where he and his closest friends were heavily intent on taking advantage of it. The elevator doors opened and the trip up seemed long. The elevator stopped at the fourth floor and a short elderly lady dressed in dark green carrying a Boston terrier entered.
“What a beautiful cake,” she acknowledged. “Thank you,” said Jimmy. “That’s not all for you boys, is it?” The woman asked in jest. “Actually, we’re working on that right now,” Alan smiled and answered. The fifth floor doors opened and they deftly maneuvered the cake out onto the floor and transported it swiftly down another long carpeted corridor. “Here it is,” said Jared. Jared shoved on the door and it opened, dropping a small piece of wood onto the floor. Jared and Alan had stopped by earlier that morning (Jared’s father gave them a ride under the pretense that they were working on a school project. He sat in the car and gave them just enough time) to accomplish the task.
The door closed behind them and they were in total darkness. There was heavy breathing. They had made it – all of their planning, scheming and hard work had brought them right here. “Lights please, Alan.” There was a sound of a hand running along wallpaper before a click was heard and a towering gem of the most wonderful feat of confectionary engineering stood before them. “Forks,” Jared said as he held out the proper utensils for his comrades.
Just as Jimmy was reaching for his fork, the cake began to wobble and shake on its own. “What’s going on?” asked Alan. “I’m not…” Just then, two hands shot out of the top of the cake. Forks and jaws dropped in synchronic rhythm and the three cake thieves leaped back slamming themselves into the respective walls at their backs. The hands followed to arms to shoulders and to a head of a young blonde woman. She ripped out of the cake wearing nothing but a smile and boxer shorts with hearts all over them. “SURPRISE! Congratula…!!” She yelled. Then, just as it had appeared, her smile turned to confusion. She noticed that she was nowhere near a banquet hall, much less a wedding. Then she looked down at the three boys staring up at her from below, their eyes yet to acknowledge her face, but instead taking in all of her naked body in whatever they prayed to possess of a photographic memory. Each of these boys was young enough to be her little brother. “Oh shit,” she thought. “I’m flashing my brother.”
With a scream and a jump, the girl, who was covered in cake, dashed for the door, covering herself with her arms, and sprinted out of their sight.
A full minute passed without each of the boys saying a single word. They all looked at what had become of their cake. It was demolished, sprayed upon all corners of the room and patterned into the carpet. Jared and Alan slowly turned to look at Jimmy. If anyone was going to break this silence, it would be him.
Jimmy’s smile was one that they had never seen before. Then, he spoke. “A naked girl just came out of my cake…” He said allowed. He repeated more slowly as he looked at them, “A..naked..girl..just came out…of my cake..”
They caught on and repeated as one, “A naked girl…just came out..of my cake.” Louder. “A Naked Girl Just..came out..Of my Cake.”
“A NAKED GIRL JUST CAME OUT OF MY CAKE!”
“A NAKED GIRL JUST CAME OUT OF MY CAKE!”
They yelled as the forks flew madly scooping up cake detritus and stuffing their mouths as they chanted. The plan was better than perfect.