(Where’s the muffin man, I ask you.)
Dolores Keye Smythe-McTaggart Rumpole Doolally (“Dot” to her friends) loved baking pies. Pies of all kinds. Once you’d had a bite of one of her pies, after you got over the initial shock, a shock a bit like being thrown out a bus or tumbling up some stairs, why, you never quite lost that craving for her deliriously delicious pies. No matter the flavor. “I’m a pecan man, through and through,” Dave “Jacuzzi” Johnson crowed one day, before taking a bite of her cherry pie. That man never took another bite of a pecan pie til the day he died; forlorn roaming through diner cherry pie never filled that aching void. Dot’s kitchen always smelled of something or other baking in the oven. Indeed, it seemed like that oven never got turned off. Good luck finding the knob to do that. It did get pretty hot in there and Dot drank copious amounts of iced tea and lemonade with the occasional mint julep when things were getting harried. Kids were always just wandering in and out all the time, hoping for a taste, grabbing a little dough on the way, maybe a pitted cherry or a cooked apple. Some even tried to steal cooked pies, but no one yet had succeeded. Kids would occasionally form gangs of conspirators to try and plan a heist, some plans getting quite convoluted for the 7-12 set. The older ones would just sort of linger and sigh, rolling their eyes, until Dot took pity on them, remembering her own time wandering through adolescent purgatory. Frankly, the adults weren’t much better, but Dot had less sympathy for them. “Man up, Frank!” she’d say, “You’ll get your slice when it’s ready.” No one knew what spurred Dot to bake so frumiously day after day, but she did and she seemed to take some pleasure in it. Funny thing, no one ever saw her take a bite.