There are some important lessons in life that I’ve learned. Like, a flashbang isn’t interchangeable with a party popper. A Clockwork Orange isn’t a children’s movie. Elevator maximum capacity 1000 lbs. means, elevator maximum capacity 1000 lbs.. But, the most important lesson is don’t take a job in a bakery.
When I was 15 the idea of working at a job with little supervision and little to actually do was real appealing. All I basically had to do there, was set the oven to the right temperature, put a already prepared tray in said oven, set a timer, and then take it out went the timer went off. There was a sheet of paper that had all the information that I needed on it, so the job was idiot proof. Of course the fact that I could eat as many cookies, doughnuts, cinnamon rolls, cupcakes, nut rolls, and other pastries that I wanted; was also a good incentive. Which is why I gained 170 pounds in a year, which made me the only 335-pound sophomore in the tri-city area. But, that’s not why I shouldn’t have worked there. I wonder if the bakery has any openings? No. Because what happened there might happen again.
The day started out as any other day at the bakery did. I praised the gods in the heavens for the fact, that the ovens and timers used dials. My obese digits would never have been able to press buttons in close proximity with one another. I remember before the incident happened, I had consumed 13 doughnuts of various varieties, 5 cupcakes, 15 lady locks, a chocolate cake, two dozen cookies of various varieties, and a cheese Danish. I was waiting for some lemon bars to get done baking when they forcibly entered. I would have done something to stop them right then and there but I didn’t feel like getting up. The leader of the group grabbed my XXXXL shirt by the collar and managed to stretch it out.
“Do you know who I am?”
The crusty old man gazed into my eyes. The gaze penetrated me, like it was looking past my blubbery exterior, into my very soul. Only seconds past, but I felt like he knew me better than anyone else has ever know me. That wasn’t really hard, given the fact that nobody wanted to know me. Probably, because I pointed out everyone’s flaws and stole dogs that were alone in yards, to train them for my canine football team. But, that doesn’t matter because this codger had pierced my cholesterol-clogged heart. I waited for him to kiss me, because despite his craggy face, his lips looked soft. Now, I wasn’t gay or confused about my sexually then. It’s just that I thought nobody would ever kiss me, so as the cliché goes: never look a gift horse in the mouth.
“There is no way that you don’t recognize the most feared criminal in all of Ambridge.”
I almost didn’t respond, because of my disappointment.
“Ambridge isn’t anywhere near New Kensington.”
“That doesn’t matter, you glob. My reign of terror is the stuff of legends. My name brings fear and respect from McKeesport to Zelienople.”
“You haven’t told me your name.”
“That’s because, you should know it.”
“You want me to recognize you, based on appearance. I clearly don’t. To try to get me to know who you are, you tell me about people fearing your name. That’s not going to make be visually recognize you. It seems like you decided to switch from facial recognition to name recognition. But, since all the information you are giving me is failing to make me know who you are, you should just tell me your name. Maybe, after hearing it, I will know who you are in fact are.”
“I shouldn’t have to tell you. You should just know.”
“I’m afraid, I don’t.”
“Hey Jason, tell this fat piece of work, who I am.”
“He’s The Mean One, the greatest criminal mind of all of Ambridge”, said the least stupid looking of the man ruining my shirt’s underlings.
“The Mean One? Now, that can’t be your real name. That sounds like a lame nickname.”
“That is my real name. Tell him, that’s my real name, Leon.”
“In his high school yearbook, he’s listed as: Mean One comma The”, said the most stupid looking of the man ruining my shirt’s underlings.
“Ok, your real name is what ever you want it to be. But, it still doesn’t ring a bell.”
“How can this fat bastard not know me? Not only am I a master criminal but I’m also a member of the shock and awe of the gridiron: the ’56 team.”
The old man jumped back and ripped his crumpled suit off, revealing an old high school football uniform with The Mean One written on it.
“The Ambridge High football team of 1956; the single greatest team to ever play the game. We didn’t just become state champions; we took on all comers and won. Professional football teams, college football teams, peewee football teams, prison football teams, Soviet agents, natural disasters, and gaggles of geese fell before us. They built a museum to honor us and all the players except me are there in their original poses.”
“They’re in the museum in their original poses? Did the city council kill, stuff, and put them on display?”
“No, you moron. To show the world their greatness, the players put themselves on display in the football poses that correspond to the positions they played. Thumbs McGee was the quarterback.”
He stood tall, put his right arm back like he was getting ready to throw a football, and had his left arm outstretched.
“Hips Miller held the ball for punts and the kick off.”
He got down like he was readying a football for kick off.
“Quick Bradley was a halfback.”
He turned and put his arms out like he was catching a football thrown from behind him.
“Bones Cracken always made spectacular catches.”
He jumped into the air and put his arms out in front of him. He crashed into the floor and his underlings rushed towards him, to help him up. He pushed them away but the most stupid looking of the two still tried to help him up. He was blasted in the face.
“I was just trying to help you”, said the most stupid looking of the two, through tears.
“I don’t need help. I’m a real man, unlike you and your brother. Now that I got tubby here fearing for his life, I’ll go get what we came for. You two numbskulls watch him.”
The old man disappeared into the next room. The two underlings, whom I assume are his progeny, sat down in front of me. Their job was easy, since it would be hard not to see me.
“I’ll tell a story to pass the time”, said the least stupid looking of the two.
“Not another one of your bullshit stories”, said the most stupid looking of the two.
“Shut up, Leon! You better not interrupt my story or I’ll bust your face up. So, back in ‘79 I was at the Tic Toc Bar in Ambridge having a drink with my buddies. These guys from Aliquippa come in and act like they own the joint. They start being their typical jerk Aliquippa selves and have to start something. Me and the boys decide to kick their asses, so we jump them in the bar. Soon the whole place is brawling and it spills out into the streets. People start coming from both sides of the bridge and join in. So, now you have Ambridge kicking Aliquippa’s collective ass. We beat them back onto the bridge and then the damned cops show up. The pussy Aliquippa cops try to break the fracas up. The Ambridge cops start pounding on them for good measure. The bridge is getting covered in blood, I mean it’s pouring over the sides. When we were done beating them up we dragged their unconscious bodies across the center of the bridge and left them there. There was one of those Pennsylvanian historical plaques on the outside of the Tic Toc commemorating the event but those Aliquippa punks stole it’, said the least stupid looking, but probably the most stupid, of the two.
“I like the addition of the blood spilling off the bridge this time”, said the most stupid looking of the two.
“I just forgot the last time. Plus, how would your dumb ass know anyway? You weren’t there, Leon”, said the least stupid looking of the two.
“I know that you made it all up. I also know that you’re a jerk”, said the most stupid looking of the two.
“How am I a jerk”, asked the least stupid looking of the two.
“There was that time we were out partying and you got home first. As soon as you opened the door, The Mean One punched you in the face. Instead of warning me, you let him punch me in the face when I finally got home”, said the most stupid looking of the two.
“If I had to get a fist sandwich with a side order of cracked teeth, you had to get one too”, said the least stupid looking, but most mean, of the two.
“I don’t mean to be rude, but why are you here? I mean, New Ken is an awful long way from your run down burgh. So, you must have, what I assume, is a good reason for being in this bakery, today.”
“Did you just mock, the great city of Ambridge”, asked the least stupid looking of the two.
“Well, it is pretty crappy. I’ve never been there but I’ve heard bad things about there.”
“They were all lies. And those lies were probably spread by Aliquippa punks”, said the least stupid looking of the two.
“Could you just tell me why you’re here?”
“Only The Mean One knows”, said the least stupid looking of the two.
“Fair enough. Now, would you be a dear and cram a cinnamon roll into my mouth?”
Before he could answer, the old man came back with a bundle that I’ve never seen before in the bakery. He grabbed both of his underlings’ by their ears and dragged them out of the building.
To this day, I do not know what they took. All I do know is that despite the yummy pastries, I will never work at a bakery again.