Drama Inspirational


By Lavinia M. Hughes

    “Mom always liked you best, Nick! You’re such a goody-two-shoes. You’re so damned square, you’re practically Amish,” said Ray, Nick’s 20-year old elder brother.

    “Shut up, Ray-gun. Maybe if you’d get off your ass, she’d like you better,” retorted Nick.

    “I do plenty around here. Why, ever since Dad left for that floozy, I’ve taken out the rubbish every week,” said Ray.

    “Ooh, big deal. You took out the rubbish twice. Since you’re the one who loads it up every week with your junk food wrappers, you freakin should take it out!” said Nick.

    “It’s been longer than that!” said Ray, not really believing it himself. “You think you’re hot stuff because you’re the ‘chef’ at that greasy spoon they generously call a diner.”

    “I hope you didn’t break your girly arms takin out the trash those two times!” said Nick.

    “Will you two ass-clowns shut up? I’m tryin to get to the next level on Dark Souls,” said 16-year old Matthew, intently playing a video game.

    “Said the Crown Prince, sitting on his couch doing fuck all.” Said Ray.

    The three brothers, finally out of insults, settled down. The mood in the room was downcast. Their father had left their mother, Angela, for his mistress just a few weeks ago. They took it out on each other as the family became increasingly despondent while struggling financially. Even though they all worked, their pay was low.

    Angela bustled into their down-at-the-heels apartment with “Boys, I have groceries in the car. Can I get some help?”

    “Yeah, Ma, I’ll be right down,” said 18-year old Nick.

    “Thanks, honey,” she said.

    Nick followed her downstairs from their 2nd story apartment and started unloading groceries from her car.

    “Ma, how come it took you so long? Was the store crowded?”

    “I had car trouble. I had to call AAA and it took them a while to get there. They finally jumped it and got it started again. But they said I’d need a new battery, among other things.”

    “Geez, another big expense . . .”

    “I know, I know.”

    “Christ almighty, if it isn’t one thing, it’s another,” said Nick.

    “Oh honey, you sound like an old man.”

    “Some days I feel like one.”

    “How’d your application go?”

    “I don’t know, let’s take a look,” and Nick pulled out a letter from his pocket and read, “We are pleased to announce that you have been accepted to the Boston Institute of Baking School and have been awarded a full scholarship to our two-year program. Congratulations . . .

    She hugged him and said, “Oh, honey, that’s wonderful! I always knew you were going places. Always playing around in the kitchen; although I could probably do with fewer desserts” as she patted her well-padded tummy. “Now if we could just get your brothers to act like they live here, that’d be great.”

    “I know. They are lazy bastards.”

    “Nick! Language.”

    “I love them, but I just think they need a fire lit under them some days. Ray is doing okay at the metal fabrication place but with two years of experience, I think he deserves a raise but he doesn’t seem motivated to ask for one. And Matthew . . . I’m glad he’s getting regular hours at the Pizza Palace but he’s made no applications to any schools and hasn’t talked about joining the military. He graduates in two years and has made no plan. Does he think he’s gonna play video games for a living?

    “Well, he’s still young. I’m sure something will occur to him,” said Angela.

    “Are these all the groceries? It’s not much to last us a week,” asked Nick.

    “I didn’t have much in the checking account, so I just bought the basics,” said Angela.

    “Can’t Dad help out?”

    “He hasn’t yet. I’ve got an appointment with a divorce lawyer in a few weeks. I’ll ask for alimony, at least till Matt graduates high school. In the meantime, we’ll have to make do.” Angela put her head down and started to cry.

    Nick hugged her and said “Ma, it’s all gonna turn out fine eventually. I mean you have us three.”

    “I know. You boys eat like horses, but I love you all and we like pasta, right? Best budget stretcher I can think of right now. You know when Grandpa came over from Sicily that’s how he made do.”

    They put all the groceries away and Nick started making supper. As they sat down to eat, Ray, in between generous mouthfuls of pasta, said,

    “Ma, Aunt Lisa called. As usual, she laid on the guilt.” In a falsetto, Ray said, “‘When am I gonna see my baby sister Angela?’ You should go visit her, Ma.”

    “My car is not in good shape. I need a new battery. I had to have it jumped at the store,” said Angela.

    “Listen, I know a guy who owes me a favor. Why don’t you take the train to visit Aunt Lisa and I’ll get it done for you? When you come back, it’ll be all set,” said Ray.

    “You know, that might be just the remedy to take my mind off things. I have plenty of vacation time. I’ll take off the whole week; they can live without me at the office. The Blue Line’s new East Boston stop is only a few blocks away from her apartment. I’ll call her after supper,” said Angela.

    That weekend, Angela left on the first train, leaving the “boys” on their own. Nick and Matthew were watching the news in the living room while Ray was reading the local newspaper. He saw an announcement for a baking contest and read it out loud to his brothers:

    Break the Town record of 5 feet in circumference for baking the largest cookie and win a $10,000 prize! Entrants may register for the contest at the high school. Judging will take place in one week at the Annual Baking Festival.

Admission to the festival is $10 per person and includes sampling from our much beloved “Dessert Tasting Avenue” with baked items from over two dozen local bakeries. After the prize is awarded, all proceeds will go to the Feeding Our Community Charity.

    Ray said “Are you two goons thinking what I’m thinking?

    “You think?” asked Matthew, snorting.

    “I noticed you looked at me when you read that,” said Nick.

    “Well, you’re the baker boy in the family. Yeah. What about it?” asked Ray.

    “ . . . You know if we all worked together, we could figure this out,” said Nick.

    “Oh, I hate that word,” said Matthew.

    “What word, work?” asked Ray, giving Matthew a dirty look.

    “Better get used to it, Matt. It’s not like we come from money. Poor Ma. Her car needs a lot more than just a battery. It really is a piece of shit,” said Nick. “And then this business with Dad . . . It’s so hard on her. She was in tears last night.”

    The boys observed, for them, a rare moment of silence.

    “If we won this contest, we could put the money down on a better car for her,” said Ray.

    Nick bellowed to his brothers “Then let’s do it! Let’s put our heads together and win. Okay, I’m the baker, no problem. But we need ingredients. It’s gonna take a lot of them. I’ll get out my cookbooks and do some calculations. I’m thinking a classic Toll House cookie would impress the judges.”

    “We could use the pizza ovens at the Pizza Palace. I know my boss wouldn’t mind. The ovens are 6 feet wide, with even heat. They’d be perfect, maybe not set as high a temperature for cookies as for pizza . . . but what would we use for a cookie sheet?” asked Matthew.

    “Metal fab, my friend. I can make a custom cookie sheet to fit in a pizza oven. Mattie, let’s visit your badly named Pizza Palace and take some measurements,” said Ray.

    They continued their cookie meeting, discussing ingredients, the size of the pizza oven, and the logistics of the project. For once the warring brothers were working together.

    They met at the Pizza Palace which, fortunately, had commercial baking tools because they offered homemade cookies on their menu. The brothers assembled the ingredients and put together the batter for a Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie, mixed it with huge paddles, and slapped it onto Ray’s custom metal cookie sheet, which was 6 feet in circumference. They preheat the oven to 375°F and, with two of them each holding a side, inserted it into the pizza oven. 

    Too bad they forgot to set the timer. As they commiserated on the back steps with beers while waiting for the 15 minutes to go by, they became happy drunks, laughing, joking, and slapping each other on the backs. Then they smelled smoke. They raced back into the kitchen and with giant mitts removed the now charred cookie disk from its private hell.

    It was late in the evening, long past closing, so they decided to try it in the early morning before the Pizza Palace officially opened. Once again, they mixed up a batch of batter, slapped a dough ball of batter onto the now arduously cleaned custom cookie sheet, and put it in the oven. Fifteen minutes later, they took it out. The edges were cooked, but the inside was obviously raw batter.

    “We were supposed to flatten it before baking!” shouted Nick, more to himself because he knew better.

    They still had time to try once more before giving it up. They mixed the ingredients, which had cost quite a bit at this point, with all the butter, flour, two types of sugar, high-quality chocolate chips, and said a prayer over it as they carefully greased the cookie sheet, placed the batter on it, then tamped it down evenly to make a disk. They put it in the oven and timed it for 15 minutes. This time, they stood in front of the oven expectantly. Ding! They muscled it out of the oven and placed it gingerly on the counter. It was a thing of beauty and smelled so good. It was just the right color and consistency. They’d done it and just in time to enter it in the contest. 

    Now, how would they move it? They just stared at it reverently.

    “I know a guy with a forklift,” said Ray. “We can move it that way.” Ray went off to call his pal and a few minutes later, they heard the sound of a forklift outside at the loading dock. The brothers covered the cookie with waxed paper and the three of them brought it to the loading dock doors, which were wide open for the transfer of the precious cookie. They placed the cookie, still in its cookie sheet, on the forks. The forklift—attracting a good deal of attention as he drove a giant cookie down the street—delivered it to the nearby high school cafeteria doors, where entrants were instructed to bring their submissions for the contest.

    The Baking Festival began and a temporary sense of superiority set in as the brothers saw the other entries. They punched each other playfully in the arms as they said under their breath “Ours is the best! Look at those pathetic things.” The other cookies were large but obviously either raw, burnt, or a weird color. One even had a giant bite taken out of it.

    The cookie judge, flanked by a person dressed as Sesame Street’s Cookie Monster, announced the winner. Despite their infighting and skepticism, the brothers had won.

# END #

AUTHOR’S NOTE: The author lived one town away from the original Toll House, the birthplace of the Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie in Whitman, Massachusetts.  Whitman is where passengers paid their toll, changed horses, and ate a good meal before resuming their trip. Ruth Graves Wakefield was the owner (along with her husband) and chef at the inn. She invented the Toll House Chocolate Chip Cookie in 1938. The author dined at the elegant Toll House restaurant back in the 1970s. This cookie will always have a special place in her heart.

December 11, 2020 16:27

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14:31 Dec 18, 2020

At the beginning of the story, the brothers fought and argued, but, in the end, they managed to win. I love the contrast in this story!


Lavinia Hughes
20:37 Dec 18, 2020

They put aside their sibling rivalry so they could help their mom. Love always wins! Thank you for reading my story. :-)


00:55 Dec 20, 2020

Of course!


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00:55 Dec 20, 2020

Of course!


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23:12 Mar 25, 2021

Your characters grew from the beginning to end! Excellent story :)


Lavinia Hughes
17:17 Mar 26, 2021

Thanks so much!


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Lavinia Hughes
17:17 Mar 26, 2021

Thanks so much!


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Lavinia Hughes
17:18 Mar 26, 2021

Thanks so much!


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