YOU short story: The school bake-off

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Illustration: Michael de Lucchi
Illustration: Michael de Lucchi

“But Mom. . .” my eight-year old son, Matthew, wailed again. “You need to enter! Dad’s doing the archery and I’m riding the go-karts. You can bake a pie.”

I shuddered at the thought and tried desperately to recall the list of fair events I’d read about in the school newsletter the previous week. “What about the dog show?” I said, suddenly remembering the canine show. “Why don’t I enter Missy?” Matt screwed up his face. “She’d never win. We need to win so I can get points for my class. We get pizza and ice cream if we get the most class points.” I turned away and grimaced. My life was flashing before my eyes for pizza and ice cream.

“You just have to bake a pie from scratch,” he said, echoing his teacher’s words. I shuddered again. Instantly transported to a day, 25 years ago, during a home economics practical in matric when I’d managed to serve up one spectacular flop. I remember Mrs De Beer’s unimpressed stare as my mint-crisp-caramel tart pooled on the plate, complete with cookie-crumb and chocolate-chip flotsam floating ominously around the edges.

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