“You want them for this afternoon?”

“If it’s not too much trouble.”

“I’ll be a bit pushed for time.”

“I’d really appreciate it and so would our members. To be truthful, I sort of let slip to some of them yesterday afternoon that I would ask you to bake your famous peanut cookies for our afternoon tea today and their enthusiasm for that idea was pretty overwhelming.”

“Oh. How come you didn’t ’phone me yesterday?”

“Yes, sorry about that. I had an emergency with one of my horses and it kind of slipped my mind.”

“All right. I’ll get onto it. What time is afternoon tea?”

“3 o’clock.”

“Oh. Okay. I’ll do my best.”

“Oh, thank you so much for doing this.”

“Okay. ’Bye.”

Even if I say so myself my peanut cookies have acquired some acclaim in my local community. Unlike peanut brownies that are softer centered my peanut cookies are crisp and crunchy and pretty much everyone who has tried them has raved about them. And that includes the members of our local Country Women’s Association.

I checked the pantry for the ingredients I would need. I had cocoa, I had sugar, salt, eggs, self raising flour and butter. The only ingredient missing was peanuts. Damn! I really will be pushed for time, given that it was already 1.25 p.m.

I grabbed my sun glasses off the hall side table and dashed out to the car. I went to unlock the car. I couldn’t. I didn’t have the car keys. They must still be hanging on one of the wall hooks above the side table. I went to rush back inside but I had snipped the front door lock on my way out and the front door key was on the car key fob. B*gger!

I rushed along to the side gate, hoping I could gain entry into the house via an open window or ranch slider door. No windows were open along the side of the house but I was hopeful that I may have left the rear ranch slider doors unlocked. At the rear end side of the house I clambered over the three foot high fence that I had erected when my daughter was going on holiday and had brought her yappy dog for me to look after while she was away; the idea being to stop it from going along the side of the house and barking at everyone it could see through the gate who dared to walk along the sidewalk. That was over a year ago and the fence was still there.

It’s funny how three feet doesn’t look very high until you want to get over it. That effort left me with a bruised right hip and skin off my right elbow when my left foot caught the top of the fence and, less than gracefully, I landed in a heap on the ground on the other side. At least my misfortune was compensated for because the ranch slider doors at the rear of the house were unlocked and so I was able to get into the house and retrieve the car keys.

I drove to the local supermarket, parked, and then dashed in. Ignoring the protests from my right hip I speed-walked to fetch the peanuts. I did likewise to the self-serve checkout, scanning the peanuts and then almost making it to the exit before I realized that I hadn’t actually paid for them (!) I scurried back, the self-serve assistant having been drawn to my checkout because the voice of the automated lady there was repeatedly asking, “Do you wish to continue?”

“Sorry, I was in such a hurry that I forgot to pay,” I said, sore, red-faced and flustered.

“Oh!” the assistant said, laughing, “it can happen to the best of us.” She was obviously seeking to make me feel better. It didn’t work...

I paid with my debit card and then, peanuts in hand, hurried out to my car, unlocked it, opened the driver’s door and threw the packet of peanuts onto the front passenger seat. As Murphy’s Law requires, at that precise moment the packet split open, spilling peanuts down the back of the seat and also next to the center console for good measure.

There was no way that I was going to go back into the supermarket to get another packet of peanuts so I scooped up what I could and put them back into the packet, careful not to allow any extraneous material to be included. CWA members gagging on my cookies would not be a good look. I folded the packet and wedged it into the cup holder in the center console.

I started the engine and put the car into reverse, forgetting that I had parked next to a trolley bay with its steel piping border on the passenger side. As I commenced turning I suddenly remembered and slammed on the brakes...too late.

Bl**dy Murphy!

I exited the car to check the damage—a nice crease in the front of the passenger side. Great! The only slight mitigating factor was that it now matched the other side, except that one was NOT my fault but was caused by some anonymous individual who, evidently, did not feel the need to reveal their misdeed.

How glad am I that I don’t own an expensive Mercedes or BMW. Anyway, that aside, I hurried back home and managed to get said peanuts into the kitchen without losing any more of them en-route.

2.07 p.m. No time to waste. At least it helped that I had made my peanut cookies so often that the recipe was clear in my mind. I mixed the ingredients and then made golf-sized balls of the mixture, placing them onto two large oven trays that were then placed into the oven, preheated at 180°C. I set the timer for twenty minutes.

Time was of the essence and so I hurried to the bathroom, undressed, rubbed some pain relief cream onto my hip, ointment on my elbow, washed my hands, gargled with mouthwash and cleaned my teeth, combed my hair, went to my bedroom and got changed into my smart casuals and footwear, and then returned to the kitchen.

At 2.35 p.m. I took the trays out of the oven and transferred the cookies onto cooling racks. The venue for the CWA meeting was at our town community center just a few minutes travel time away, so as long as I finished packing the cookies into cookie tins by 2.50 p.m. I should be okay.

2.45 p.m. The cookies were still warm and not quite as crisp as I would have expected but, no doubt, they would be in another fifteen minutes. Murphy had obviously gone for a nap because I managed to get the cookies into cookie tins, take them to the car, place the tins on the floor behind the front seats, and drive to the community center without incident. Not only that, but I managed to extract the cookie tins from behind the front seats and take them into the community center without any dramas. It might sound a bit strange placing the tins on the floor behind the front seats but if I had to brake suddenly then they would be in the best place to avoid disaster. And I don’t trust Murphy...

Miriam, the CWA chairwoman, greeted me enthusiastically. “Oh, you’re a legend!” she gushed. “You’re just in time. Everyone’s going to be really chuffed. Thanks so much for doing this.”

“No problem,” I said, lying.

As happens from time to time the CWA will finish their meeting early and have a bit of a sing along with volunteers from the local Country and Western Club who would come and play their guitars and sing some old, and not so old, favorites. Today was one of those days. I walked in to hear them playing My Shoes Keep Walking Back to You. A golden oldie...not that my right hip was impressed.

Afternoon tea was served up and everyone took a break to have a cuppa and cookies. As I stood and waited for the usual plaudits something started nagging me—the mix had not gone quite as far as usual; usually there was enough for two full trays whereas today there was room left over. And I was about to discover why.

As CWA members and the country club musicians started eating my cookies the usual vocal accolades were markedly absent. Indeed, the frowns on the faces of some told me that all was not well. There was only one thing for it.

I grabbed one of my peanut cookies and bit into it. The texture was wrong; it lacked the usual crunchy oomph my peanut cookies are renowned for. Not only that, it was bland. Then it dawned on me—there was no sugar in it; sugar not only providing the necessary sweetness but also combining with the other ingredients to make my cookies so crisp and crunchy. How on earth did I manage to forget the sugar? The answer was pretty obvious.

I could blame Murphy’s Law that says that anything that can go wrong will go wrong, doing so at the most inopportune time, but I think the main reason came down to that old saying:

More speed less haste. Or, more haste less speed.

Honestly, if I had not been in such a mad rush I would have done the job just as quickly or even more quickly—without locking myself out of the house, without physically abusing myself climbing over the fence, without embarrassing myself at the self-serve checkout, without putting a crease in the front passenger side of my car, without peanuts hiding down the back and side of the front passenger seat, and, most importantly, with peanut cookies that would have lived up to my reputation.

Perhaps I can still blame Murphy...

April 13, 2023 13:22

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Mary Bendickson
23:10 Apr 27, 2023

Hi, Baby. You are at it again. Making me laugh. Now I have read all so far and hope you will keep doing fun.


Tim Frater
14:05 Apr 28, 2023

Hi, Mary. I suspect that my 'funny bone' will elbow its way into my stories in future. I would like to be able to say that it's in my genes to be humorous, but I don't recall either my parents or my grandparents being comical. On a slightly related issue I have an acquaintance named Mick who, at 76, looks years younger than I do. When I last saw him some months ago I told him that it was time he started ageing disgracefully. He responded, "I can't help it. It's in the genes." So I went out and purchased a pair of Levi Strausses and wore th...


Mary Bendickson
14:52 Apr 28, 2023

Noticed your up-dated photo. You aged fast! Looking good there. When I get together with my sibs we keep all in stitches. I am not the wittiest of all.


Tim Frater
10:16 Apr 29, 2023

11 months to 16 yrs, just like that...


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F.O. Morier
18:39 Apr 20, 2023

… you commented on one of my stories and I looked though writings - and commented, but going back to my e- mail Reedsy asked me to read and comment on this story I love your story and your sense of humor! A truly enjoyable and funny read!


Tim Frater
19:20 Apr 20, 2023

Thanks so much, F O Morier. Your comments are much appreciated.


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F.O. Morier
18:19 Apr 20, 2023

I love your sense of humor! Great read!


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