We were playing hopscotch on the sidewalk in front of my house, Sally and me, when a van painted with cupcakes and a slogan that said “Best Cupcakes in the World” slowed to a stop next to us. The window rolled down, and a man with dark hair and a broad mustache smiled and asked, “Hey girls, do you like cupcakes?”
Sally tugged at my sleeve and whispered “It’s Mario!”
“No it isn’t,” I hissed. “Mario’s in video games, not real life, dummy. Shush before you embarrass us.”
“We love cupcakes, Mario!” Sally answered, ignoring me.
“I’m not Mario,” the stranger chuckled. “But I am headed back to my bakery after my last delivery. Come with me and I’ll show you how to make the best cupcakes in the world!”
“No way!” I exclaimed at the same time Sally said, “OK!”
“Mama would never allow it,” I added.
“Ah, but she would,” Mario-not-Mario countered. He held out a note. “Go ahead, read it.”
I took the note, unfolded it, and read the typed words. Hey Boo, I have to work late tonight. Please feel free to enjoy the best cupcakes in the world. Do whatever the nice baker says. I’ll kiss you goodnight when I get home. Love, Mama.
“Wellllllll?” Sally asked, impatiently.
“Let’s go eat cupcakes,” I relented.
We got in the van, Sally and me. The baker was nice. When we arrived at his bakery, we could smell the best cupcakes in the world but he took us to the back door instead of the shop front and said we had to wait for cupcakes because he had customers. He put us in a room, a cold room, and told us to sit and close our eyes, so we closed our eyes just like Mama would have wanted.
The door jingles whenever a customer walks in. Every time they gush, “I’ll have a dozen! These are the best cupcakes in the world!” “What’s your secret?” they all ask.
The baker always smiles and replies “Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice.”