Sugar and Spice

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.”

22 Responses to “Sugar and Spice”

  1. ashaJanuary 4, 2018 at 4:38 am #

    OHMYGOD, STACIE! That was so creepy!

    • StacieJanuary 4, 2018 at 4:37 pm #

      I don’t know why but I often go creepy with fiction. If only I could write like Stephen King now!

  2. MM SchreierJanuary 4, 2018 at 9:32 am #

    You set up the creep factor with the very first paragraph. And then holy cupcakes, you *brought it* at the end.

    The only thing that stood out to me, that you may want to think about was the use of “Boo” in the note. In my mind, that endearment is pretty specific. I wasn’t entirely sure if Mario-not-Mario knew the mother, hence knew that’s what she called her daughter(s)?

    Definitely a freaky take on the prompts. Loved it!

    • StacieJanuary 4, 2018 at 4:33 pm #

      That is a very good point, thank you! I should have said “Girls” instead.

  3. LisaJanuary 4, 2018 at 9:52 am #

    Wow. This creeped me right out. WHOA, Stacie. I’m skeered to ask where you got the idea for this… I would say the use of the word “cupcakes” three times in the first paragraph could use some editing. Like maybe there’s no need to describe the van as having cupcakes on the side given what follows. I’m proud of you for keeping your resolution to write, friend. <3

    • StacieJanuary 4, 2018 at 4:39 pm #

      Thank you! I think I just have a creepy imagination when it comes to fiction, which is funny because I read all types of fiction (except romance). I for sure could have used more editing time. I wrote this in about an hour and usually I take days (or more than a week even) with anything I post.

  4. RowanJanuary 4, 2018 at 10:24 am #

    I love the kid’s identification of the creep as “Mario” to give us a description from something commonly known rather than having to go in with skin, hair, eyes… but i would have liked to see a little more description of the girls themselves so this didn’t walk a line so close to “swarthy stranger kidnaps little white girls.”

    I also like where you went with the baking pun, but I agree that a more common kid nickname (even a strongly gendered feminine one like princess or precious, given the “sugar and spice” conceit) would have helped show the reader that the guy had completely invented the note.

    • StacieJanuary 4, 2018 at 4:43 pm #

      Great suggestions thank you!

  5. NateJanuary 4, 2018 at 11:41 am #

    You established everything I needed to know about the setting and the situation in that first paragraph with the tone. I really like that you made one of the girls a skeptic and then used a letter to convince her. The Sugar and Spice line came out of nowhere for me. Maybe those could be the girls’ nicknames for each other so it rang out at the end when the baker says it?

    • StacieJanuary 4, 2018 at 4:37 pm #

      Ahh, it’s from a very famous nursery rhyme called “What are Little Boys Made Of” so I was assuming everyone would get that but I see now that was a mistake:

      What are little boys made of?
      What are little boys made of?
      Snakes and snails
      And puppy-dogs’ tails
      That’s what little boys are made of

      What are little girls made of?
      What are little girls made of?
      Sugar and spice
      And everything nice
      That’s what little girls are made of

      • NateJanuary 4, 2018 at 5:20 pm #

        Right. I knew where it came from; I’d heard it before. For me, the phrase came out of nowhere. It didn’t have a tie to the plot of the story. Maybe the girls are reading the nursery rhyme at the beginning, or maybe the baker calls a line to them from his van (yick. Disgust shot up my spine just now typing that.)

        • StacieJanuary 5, 2018 at 8:45 am #

          Oh I see now. This is probably an example of me being in my head and assuming everyone else was too! I was thinking of sugar and spice as being relevant to baking cupcakes but when you hear that out of the blue at the end with “everything nice,” making the connection that “that’s what little girls are made of.” Thanks for pointing that out!

  6. Cyn KJanuary 4, 2018 at 1:51 pm #

    I was worried for the girls but I had no idea how worried I should be. Great tension. I thought Sally would go alone.

    • StacieJanuary 4, 2018 at 4:35 pm #

      I had to bring then both for the “we closed our eyes!”

  7. Michelle HJanuary 4, 2018 at 3:37 pm #

    Oh, I had a bad feeling about this one. It felt like one of those old fairytales, the ones that gave kids nightmares before being softened into sweet cartoons with talking mice and pumpkin carriages. It had an innocence that contrasted nicely with the creepiness.

    • StacieJanuary 5, 2018 at 8:51 am #

      Thank you, Michelle!

  8. JamieJanuary 4, 2018 at 4:43 pm #

    *Shudder* That was really creepy and effective – I was sure he was going to be a sex offender but I read the ending as them having to make the cupcakes for him (which is waaaay creepier in a Hansel-and-Gretel kinda way)

    • StacieJanuary 5, 2018 at 8:50 am #

      Oh I hadn’t thought of that. That would have worked!

  9. JolanJanuary 4, 2018 at 6:20 pm #

    That was excellent! But, I love creepy stories and this does have a Stephen King sort of feel to it. I think all of the points have been touched upon already. I locked into the sugar and spice thing immediately, but I remember singing it when I was little.

    • StacieJanuary 5, 2018 at 8:49 am #

      Thank you! If only I could write like Stephen King. He is the master!

  10. Laissez FaireJanuary 4, 2018 at 7:06 pm #

    Hello: Mario-not-Mario <– put that in my pocket

    I knew something wasn't right the moment the van pulled up and not just beacuse of the story I remember from my neighborhood where a couple of guys in a van were stalking children. I got a little "gingerbread house in the woods" Hansel and Gretal vibe, except the witch was Mario.-not-Mario. The only thing I was expecting was the little girls souls screaming from inside the cupcakes (ala The Worst Witch). 🙂 But that's just my sick brain talking because I didn't notice the POV shift at the very end.

    • StacieJanuary 5, 2018 at 8:48 am #

      Oh that would have been a creepy addition! I’ve never read the Worst Witch.

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