Once Upon A Time...
in a town not too far from here, there was an Angry Baker. Well, to be precise, there was an angry boy well before there was an angry baker. But let me assure you, there was a very good reason for this boy to be so angry, and the reason was this: no matter how much the boy would toss and turn or turn and toss, he just could not fall asleep. 12 am, 1 am, 2 am, the hours would tick on by, but alas, not one ounce of sleep, not even a single drop, would fall upon the Angry Boy’s heavy eyes.
It is sad, no? But time is short and we have none of it to spend on a sob story. Come, let us skip ahead..
Many sleepless nights passed, and the Angry Boy, who was now the Angry Teenager, decided to go for a midnight stroll to make the night hours melt away just a little faster. Aside from the hanging street lights and the dragging steps of the teenager, all was dark, quiet, and still. Nothing to see, nothing to hear and nothing to sme-...wait just one moment. An aroma, a beautiful aroma, so very faint, barely perceptible, nothing more than a hint, yet so very real, surrounded the air of the Angry Teenager. Like a hound dog, the Angry Teenager was on the chase to find the source of the sweet smelling scent.
I know, I know, who has time for fairy tales these days? I understand. Let’s fast forward...
The Angry Teenager tracked down the aroma to a tiny house. At this point, the smells were so richly spellbinding, the teenager could not help but open the door to take a look inside.
“Close the door behind you. You’re gonna let in all the cold air,” came a grumbly voice.
“Um, sorry, are you talking to me?” said the Angry Teenager.
“Well there’s no one else but you, kid. Please, shut the door.”
The Angry Teenager closed the door and took a look around. For a brief moment, the Teenager thought he finally fell asleep, for the inside of the house was dreamlike. There were cookies all around stacked on top of each other reaching to the ceiling. There were countless splendiferous cinnabuns lining the countertops, and there were cupcakes spinning around and around at a tremendous speed, for they were placed on the cooling spinner. So enchanted by the magic of this room, the Angry Teenager didn’t hear the buzzing sound coming from the oven.
“Ahh, my chocolate peanut butter cookies,” said the grumbly voiced man who was apparently creating all this goodness. And though he was clearly well on in years, this man, the Baker, gracefully glided over to the oven and slipped out a tray of freshly baked cookies.
“Hey kid, tell me what you think?”
The Baker picked up one of the cookies and tossed it like a frisbee to the Teenager. He took a bite. O, the warmth, the sweetness, and what was that last thing? Ah, yes, a touch of wistfulness - it all surged through the Teenager’s body in perfect harmony. Never had he tasted a cookie like the one melting in his mouth.
“So what do you think? Needs more peanut butter?”
“Oh no,” said the Teenager. It’s, it’s, it’s....DELICIOUS!”
“Well, thank you, kid. It is most appreciated.” With that, the Baker gave a dramatic bow as if responding to a thunderous applause.
An hour went by and not a word was spoken. The Teenager just stood there observing the Baker as he tended to his sumptuous creations. Like on ice, he would slide and glide from the chocolate chips to the chocolate frosting, from the raisins to the cinnamon; it was a beautiful midnight dance.
“Excuse me,” said the Teenager, finally, breaking the silence. “Who is all this food for? I mean, the cookies alone, there must be thousands of them.”
Without even looking up from frosting his cupcakes, the Baker replied,
“You don’t know much, do you, kid. You think you’re the only nightwalker in this town?”
The Angry Teenager stood there silently. The Baker rolled his eyes and continued.
“‘Nightwalkers’ - You know, those who can’t sleep at night. Well, there are many of us. And how do you think they eat when all the food joints are closed? Me, kid. I provide the goodness. We Nightwalkers need to take care of each other. And there ain’t nothing like a warm Oatmeal Raisin Cookie with a cup of fresh milk to get you through a long night. Am I right or am I right? Anyway, I gotta get back to work. See that pile of Double Chocolate Cookies? I gotta deliver them in 25 minutes.”
“I can help with that,” said the Angry Teenager, with a distinct quiver in his voice.
“What’s that, kid?”
“I can help with deliveries. I mean, you seem pretty busy. Let me help you. You can bake and I can deliver.”
“I like the idea, kid, I really do. The baking, the frosting, the delivering; it’s a lot for a man and I’m getting old. Having some help wouldn’t be the worst thing. But, kid, I don’t got much to pay you with. Whatever I make, I put back into my bakery. It ain’t cheap making all this goodness.
“How about cookies,” said the Angry Teenager. “You can pay me with cookies.”
The Baker froze. This was the first time the Angry Teenager saw the Baker be completely still. “Hmmm, now that’s interesting. Cookies for a delivery boy, huh?”
The Baker exhaled, “ Kid, I’ve been flying solo for a long time. It ain’t easy to give some of this up, even delivering. But maybe it’s time.” A soft smile appeared upon the Baker’s face. “Cookies for deliveries. Kid, you got yourself a deal.”
Starting from that night, the Angry Teenager went from delivery boy, to apprentice, to pastry chef. And then one day, after many years, the Baker passed away. He left his small home to the Angry Teenager - well, to be precise, he was now known as the Angry Baker - to continue providing enchanted goodness to the Nightwalkers.
So there you have it. A quick sketch of how I came to be.