Contest #211 shortlist ⭐️

79 comments

Creative Nonfiction Holiday Inspirational


Donuts Do Not Die


The crotchety old guy settled back down in his over-sized crusty stuffed arm chair pushing the ottoman slightly to the side for now. He jarred another cigarette out of its pack and picked it out with his teeth, flipped his Bic to light it and clicked to a 24-four-hour news station on the large box TV balanced on top of the flickering gas fake fireplace used to heat the enclosed porch. The cold chill still rattled the three walls of windows he peered through watching for them.

He knew they were coming. The waning sun was sneaking below the horizon finally giving up any effort to warm the hazy atmosphere. Indian summer was long gone giving in to the soon to arrive winds of November. It was time.

He could detect their torches bobbing along in the distance from every direction. They were searching. Knowing the flickering lights from the fireplace and TV would be casting eerie blue images across his sullen features, he figured he might as well give in to the ghosts, and the skeletons, and the zombies. Never any good news on these days anyway.

Struggling up from his comfortable corner he lumbered to the switch by the front door and illuminated the interior then checked to see if the door was locked before settling back in for the inevitable. And he waited. He didn't have to wait long.

^**^

“This is it, Grandma! I think this is the one! We found it. Didn't we?” The miniature King Kong squealed.

“Well, I think so. It looks very much like what I remember. But it has been a lot of years since...”

“I am pretty sure, Mom brought us here a couple of years ago. The porch light is on. Let's go see. Okay?”

“But there is an old man on the porch. Someone else might live here now...

“Oh, oh. I know you. You're... Bruce. Aren't you?”

“Sure am. And you are Tammy. Right? We went to high school together, if I remember correctly.”

“Then we are at the right place. But maybe the wrong time. Is... your mother still...”

“Yes, yes. She is still alive. I live here now taking care of her.”

“She can't possibly still...”

“If you are thinking what I think you are thinking then yes. She has some help now days but you'll find her inside. I am only the gate keeper. Go on in the foyer and straight ahead. The doors are closed to keep the cold out and the warmth in. But she is watching for more victims. She is waiting to see you and your big gorilla. She will be delighted.”

“Knock on the door, Scooter. You know what to say.”

“Don't say my name, Grandma. I am the mighty King Kong!”

“Gotcha. You're on, King Kong.”

“Trick or Treat!”

“Come in, come in,” a frail, shaky octogenarian voice responded back.

They open the second door to see a crippled-up hag in a witch's hat and green and white striped long-stockings beckoning them to enter into her lair. She reaches her gnarly long figures for a napkin to wrap up a humongous golden ring of glazed pastry before handing it to the youngster.

“Here you are, you Little Monkey.” Her voice quavers.

“Could my grandma have one, too, please?” He ventures as he clutches the treasure to his chest over the plastic jack-o-lantern dangling from his arm. “She used to come here when she was my age.”

“Oh, no. I, I don't...” Tammy started.

“Sure you do, Deary. Here you go.”

“Why, thank you so much. I remember how good these are. I can't believe you are still making and passing out your delicious donuts after all these years.” Tammy oohed and ah-ed.

“My girls and even my Grandson help me out now days. But I have only missed one year, the year that grandson got married on Trick-or-Treat night, in what, near 50 years? As long as the Good Lord allows, I'll try to keep up the tradition.”

Tammy basked in the aroma of the delicacy and the welcoming smell of the whole house still emanating from the kitchen.

“Well, God bless you and thanks again, so much.” She directed her grandson back through the double-door foyer to the front porch to make room for the next in line.

“Thank you, Bruce. So wonderful to see 'The Donut Lady' is still producing her signature treat. I remember seeing that story in the newspaper years ago. If you don't mind me asking, how old is she by now?”

“Well into her eighties. Will be ninety next February in fact. Almost have to tie her down to keep her out of her kitchen. She tends to fall a lot lately so can't be out there alone anymore. But she can't be stopped from supervising the production. Ours still never come out as perfect as hers but we try.”

“Still looks wonderful and I can't wait to get home and enjoy this with a cup of coffee. Don't even have to share this saucer-sized wheel with anyone. I never expected to get one myself. Chewbaca, here, asked for one for me.”

“King Kong, Grandma! Chewbaca would need guns and you wouldn't let me carry one!”

“You make a ferocious King Kong, Little Guy. Don't be climbing any skyscrapers. Enjoy your prize.” He slightly tussled the long fur on the top of the creature's head then motioned them aside as four multi-colored Power Rangers converged on them weapons drawn.

“Trick or Treat!” They demanded in unison.

“Right through there but beware the witch!” He pointed them toward the inner door as a princess, a unicorn and two fairies exited with eyes as round as the treats they beheld.

“Excuse us, excuse us, please.”

Bruce held open the porch door to let them pass and as Tammy and her grandson started exiting as well he touched her arm, “Uh, Tammy. It was good to see you again. Perhaps I can buy you a regular sized donut and cup of coffee sometime soon over at Flinny's?”

“That would be nice. How about Tuesday at half pass eight?”

“Sounds delightful. See you then.” He smiled as he ushered in Donald Trump and Barack Obama. “Right this way, Gentlemen.”














August 17, 2023 16:06

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.

79 comments

Russell Mickler
17:10 Aug 25, 2023

Congrats, Mary! Shortlisted! R

Reply

Mary Bendickson
18:13 Aug 25, 2023

Yoo-hoo😯! So surprised. 🙏

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Sophia Gavasheli
17:09 Aug 25, 2023

Hey, Mary! This was a really cute story, and I love the donut tradition. We have someone in the neighborhood who passes out apple cider for the adults. 😆 I thought this was going to be a thriller/mystery at the beginning, with the suspense you set up, but it went in a different (and nicer direction). Critique wise, I was a bit confused who was who throughout the dialogue. Dialogue only stories are great, but I think this one would have benefitted from more dialogue tags and descriptions, especially since there are three people talking. An...

Reply

Mary Bendickson
18:12 Aug 25, 2023

Thank you so much.reading through again I can see I should have been clearer.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Howard Halsall
15:23 Aug 25, 2023

Hey Mary, What a great story. Lots of fun. Well done. Take care HH

Reply

Mary Bendickson
15:27 Aug 25, 2023

Thanks so much🙏.

Reply

Howard Halsall
16:23 Aug 25, 2023

Well deserved recognition :)

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
15:13 Aug 25, 2023

Congratulations on a well-deserved shortlist! :)

Reply

Mary Bendickson
15:19 Aug 25, 2023

Thank you. You are so on top of things I had not even looked at that yet so I thought you made a mistake! Yoo-hoo? Can hardly believe it's true! 😁☺️😯

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
08:33 Aug 25, 2023

Loved King Kong. Such a sweetie, your Mum baking donuts to share. A real cosy story.

Reply

Mary Bendickson
15:07 Aug 25, 2023

Thanks for liking an sweet comment. She made them since I was little. Stayed up all night and would sell them to her co-workers and at farmers market besides treats for Holloween.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
08:29 Aug 25, 2023

Loved King Kong. Not a shocking story this time. One about a donut lady.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Steffen Lettau
01:57 Aug 24, 2023

A wholesome holiday story, and it might make Hallmark jealous!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Martin Ross
23:27 Aug 23, 2023

Lovely story! Another great reminiscence that reads like a warm holiday tale!

Reply

Mary Bendickson
23:30 Aug 23, 2023

Thanks, Martin.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Nina H
10:41 Aug 23, 2023

So very sweet, Mary! I just love Halloween, and the joy and tradition in this story. She keeps the tradition going, even if she can’t do everything herself anymore. 🍩 And I loved the ending with two political-treaters. It’s possible, right?!?

Reply

Mary Bendickson
15:41 Aug 23, 2023

Right. Even funnier when know how much my brother hates one of those two. He was feeling so good after getting a date he welcomed them both.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Marty B
03:38 Aug 23, 2023

Good donuts will bring all the monsters in (politicians included!) I like the foreboding opening scene, I feared zombies, and it was close, tottering little King Kongs who cant walk well because of their costumes, and cant see because of their masks! I would have loved to Trick or Treat in your Moms neighborhood! A great way to remember her with a story ;)

Reply

Mary Bendickson
09:01 Aug 23, 2023

Thank you for honoring her.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
20:48 Aug 22, 2023

Very sweet story and, though I was slightly confused for a moment near the start, very enjoyable. I love a donut.

Reply

Mary Bendickson
21:01 Aug 22, 2023

Mom made the best. The start was meant to throw you off. People came looking for the right house but one had to go through the front porch to get the good stuff.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Jonathan Page
19:13 Aug 22, 2023

Very engaging story! Beginning had me guessing. You did a good job of opening the story with intrigue--"he knew they were coming"--but who? I wasn't thinking trick-or-treaters at first and the King Kong thing threw me for a bit. We all can remember that one house from our childhood where they had the best treats! Cool idea.

Reply

Mary Bendickson
19:19 Aug 22, 2023

🙏 Thanks. My brother would sit on the front porch as welcome committee because there were two more doors to go through where Mom was waiting to see the kiddos in their costumes. She liked to dress for the occasion herself.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Amanda Lieser
13:24 Aug 22, 2023

Hi Mary, Oh my goodness! It’s so lovely to see such a beautiful and wonderfully happy story. I loved the way you built up the creepiness of the holiday and the misconceptions about your character. It was a great creative decision that helped us feel the relief when it all worked out. Nice work!!

Reply

Mary Bendickson
14:15 Aug 22, 2023

Thanks for the insightful comment

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Olivia Lake
01:41 Aug 22, 2023

This is such a sweet story. I love the ambiguity in the beginning, but it was just Halloween! I still remember the neighbor who gave us homemade treats instead of store bought candy. I didn't appreciate how much time that must have taken her until I grew up. Congratulations on a well deserved shortlist!!

Reply

Show 0 replies
J. D. Lair
00:40 Aug 20, 2023

This was delightful Mary. :) Now, I want a fresh donut!

Reply

Mary Bendickson
15:42 Aug 21, 2023

Wish I could accommodate your craving. Thanks for liking and commenting. Behind on my reading this week Was in Nashville picking up my medal. Woohoo I won 🎉🎉🥳🥳

Reply

J. D. Lair
20:59 Aug 21, 2023

Awesome! So proud of you! 🤗

Reply

Show 0 replies
J. D. Lair
01:19 Aug 26, 2023

Congrats on the shortlist my friend! Quite a week for you. ☺️

Reply

Mary Bendickson
01:27 Aug 26, 2023

Yes it has been! Remodeling house is in order to fit my head through doors.😅

Reply

J. D. Lair
03:25 Aug 26, 2023

Haha you’ve earned it!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Show 2 replies
Show 1 reply

Bring your short stories to life

Fuse character, story, and conflict with tools in the Reedsy Book Editor. 100% free.