“Mellany! We got another one.” Jack called from the register.
After washing the dough off her hands Mellany took a breath of warm yeast air and pasted a smile on her face. She pushed through the door to the front room and faced her next customer.
The Bread House was a plush store with warm lights and golden touched decor. The windows were always cracked, weather permitting, and the smell of fresh bread and sweet confections floated through and down the street. Noses brought more customers than any add every could. Although there was a rumor that was spreading like butter on a hot biscuit. Mellany couldn’t decide if it would bring her riches or ruin in the end.
Jack nodded at a cliched white businessman as Mellany walked up. He was all clean edges and formality, except for his eyes. They were bruised colored and desperate. Mellany could already tell what this sleep-deprived man was going to ask for.
“How can I help you sir?” Mellany began the charade.
The man hesitated and worked his mouth then said, “I heard a rumor that you have some very special, um, baked goods.”
Mellany smiled wide. “All our baked goods are special. We hand-make them fresh every day with as localized ingredients as we can find.”
“I’m sure that’s the case,” he said, “and everything here is likely delicious, but…”
“It is.” Jack put in. “The scones are my favorite. Would you like to try anything off the tasting platter?” And he whipped out a tray with small cuts of our different pastries and held out a plastic fork.
Bless that boy. Mellany thought. And she couldn’t believe she almost didn’t hire him because of inexperience. Unfortunately, the businessman was not deterred.
The man didn’t even glance at the platter. He shook his head then leaned forward. “I’m talking about your really special goods. You know, the ones that uh, bring success?”
“Whatever do you mean?” Mellany asked. She resisted an eye roll and kept her eyes still.
The man clenched a fist but released it. “Look,” he said. “There are rumors all over the city and I know there’s no way you don’t understand what I am talking about.”
Mellany looked at Jack who looked at Mellany. They both returned to the customer who folded his arms.
“I’m not an idiot. I know it’s just a rumor, but when the evidence is overwhelmingly positive, and I do mean evidence, because I did some research and followed the rumors to their sources to verify how accurate they were, how can I not believe?”
Yes, evidence from word of mouth is always accurate and desperation has nothing to do with it. But Mellany didn’t bring that up, he was going to buy something after all.
He continued and began to count on his fingers. “The cashier Jennifer bought a loaf of your bread and got promoted to manager during her lunch break. The teacher from the high school brought your old-fashioned doughnuts to a date and got proposed to. I even found a homeless man who won the lottery with your kringle in his mouth!”
Mellany and Jack raised their eyebrows. They had heard these rumors and more but the lottery was a new one.
“I mean it was only a hundred dollar win, but still. Do I need to go on?”
“Well sir,” Mellany said, “I have heard some of these rumors but I cannot prove their truthfulness or promise you success if you buy and eat any of my baked goods. Whether this is happening by coincidence or by the strength of mind I cannot say. But if you are determined I have a fresh set of blueberry muffins in the oven which may do the trick for you.”
“Will they help me sell my presentation to my boss?” His eyes were pleading.
“Have you prepared for said presentation or are you just relying on us to bring you success?” Jack asked.
“Of course I prepared,” he said. “I’ve been preparing for this meeting for weeks! I just need… I require that I get chosen for this development. And if your muffins will help me, I will take them.”
“Well, if you’re prepared, they can only help you be more confident. How many would you like?”
“How many are in the oven?”
Mellany chuckled then headed back to the kitchen. She came back ten minutes later with a box of two dozen muffins which the man quickly paid for and immediately stuffed one in his mouth as he left. His eyes did indeed look more relaxed.
Jack turned to Mellany. “You think if I eat two dozen muffins, you’ll sell me this shop?”
Mellany finally got her eye roll in. “The only thing you’ll get from eating that many muffins is an upset stomach. And I’d make you clean up the mess.”
Jack let out one of his high-pitched laughs then turned as the bell on the door for another customer dinged. Mellany shook her head at the things people would believe but was even more astounded at how what they believed changed them. And who knew. Maybe her baked goods really did have a taste of luck in them. Mellany retreated back to the kitchen but snatched a cranberry bagel on her way out. For luck.