Monday, June 7, 2010

The Curious Case of the Naked Cake

Allow me to share a true story*:

So, I found myself this morning, navigating Dallas traffic, looking for the law offices of ... well, actually the specific office where my good friend, Everett New, works. Having driven for several hours, I found a parking space, fed the meter and carried a large cake box to the 33rd floor to surprise my friend for his birthday. Sounds pretty innocent, right? Read on...

DISCLAIMER: For those of you who normally follow my blog expecting spiritual enlightenment and enrichment, you might want to bail right now. What follows is a story of sneaky mischief and practical joking bordering on crass. You might be offended. You have been warned.

Okay, so let me start at the beginning...
My mom took a trip to see family and friends back east and I'd agreed to drive to DFW International Airport to pick her up. Contemplating the trip, I thought about calling upon my good friend Everett and asking if I could drive in on Sunday, stay the night at his place in Dallas, and be able to sleep late, pick Mom up at 11 and head back to Abilene. I sent Everett a note on Facebook explaining, but ultimately decided to just get up early on Monday and do a round-trip. However, I was reminded by the ubiquitous sidebar on my Home screen that Everett's birthday was Monday. This afforded me a unique opportunity and a long dormant sneaky part of my persona woke up.

Many years ago (1998, in fact), I met Everett when I started working for Enterprise Rent-a-Car in Plainview, Texas. It was a small branch and there was lots of downtime and Everett and I quickly discovered that we could have been separated at birth, so alike we were in wit and humor. We got along famously and became fast friends. However, the twit had somehow managed to arrange to take a day off in November which happened to be my birthday. leaving me to run the office by myself for a day. To make it up to me, and to play a bit of a joke, he arranged to have a cake delivered to cheer me up. He'd called my wife, Amelia, who was working at a bakery nearby and she helped arrange this:

I was slightly embarrassed and highly amused. So, thinking back to that incident all those years ago, I hatched a plan to visit revenge on my friend. What are friends, for, eh?
So, enlisting Amelia's blessing and help, she advised me that on a Sunday afternoon, I would be hard pressed to find a bakery which would/could whip out a specialty cake. But I could *make* one! So I got a cake board and box from a hobby store and after a trip to the supermarket, I was set. I borrowed a large pan (12x19) from my mother in law and got some help from Matt Dodd, my companion in this crime, to mix up the cake. Here is what I ended up with:

With the basic part of the cake, I gathered supplies for decorating purposes. I knew, for instance, that I would need to cut the cake into the basic curvy torso shape. Then I would need some cupcakes for the... 3D effects needed to convey the design. Those would need some decoration for accuracy sake. So, here is what I came up with to try out various configurations: Now, I'm a pretty creative guy and I know that I should try and work on the design because despite my creativity, I'm not very good at the artsy stuff like frosting cakes and piping and stuff. So I decided to try out a few designs. I used some Cherry Twizzlers to outline the basic shape and let my mock up... um... model a few different ... um... sizes, if you will, of cupcake. Here are some shots of those designs and configurations:

This would be the slender, petit version:

The slightly more roBUST version, with Hershey's Kisses instead of gumdrops:

... and what to do with all that leftover batter but make some cupcakes that can stand up proudly and lend some variety:
Oh, and just in case you're a Star Trek fan and have a thing for one of those Vega 3 ladies:

Having made an artistic decision about how I wanted to proceed, I shot one more picture of all the supplies I'd used, for documentation purposes:

I knew that Everett would appreciate the little details, so I created a mock up of a Bakery order form/receipt and included it on top of the box:

Then I created a card that would heighten the anticipation for him when I arrived at his prestigious, prominent law offices:

I fell asleep on Sunday night with a smile on my face, thinking about Everett's expression when I showed up at his office the next morning with my "Naked Cake". I just knew that he'd love the joke. Earlier in the evening, I'd emailed his wife, Heather, to make sure he would be at work the next day. I would hate to have put in all that effort into the joke only to have it be a BUST. I'm not sure I'd be able to BARE it. *snicker*

So, I arrived at his office at about 10 am and the receptionist greeted me and paged him to the front area. Everett came walking in and his face broke into a smile to see me. He said, "Jeff! What a great surprise! I thought you weren't going to be able to see me while you were in town..." his voice trailed off when he saw the cake box. His eyes went wide and he said, "Oh, NO! I know what this is!"

I broke out with a big grin of my own as the realization and memory of the infamous cake of '98 ran through his head. Everett laughed as I explained to his co-workers who happened to be nearby. "Years ago, Everett gave me a great cake to celebrate my birthday and I thought I'd return the favor." I passed around the picture at the top of this post, of me holding the cake Everett had commissioned. With mixed anticipation and trepidation, he began to open the box I'd brought. "Jeff, if I know you, you didn't just match my cake, you stepped up. I'm almost afraid ..."

I stopped him and had him read the card:

I pointed out that this was not just a birthday cake, but a revenge cake and whereas his cake had employed a feeble attempt at covering up the naughty bits with pasties, tassels, and a bikini, I knew I would have to deliver him a NAKED cake!

Laughing nervously, Everett opened the box...

to discover that I am indeed a man of my word. A *Naked* cake.

I mentioned that I can't decorate worth a darn, didn't I?

After trying out the different designs, I decided to utilize both the heightened anticipation of dread and the deliberate pun of a "naked" cake to entertain my dear friend. I did deliver all the other supplies so he could decorate to his ... um... taste preferences:

I don't mean to make mountains out of molehills here, but I was pretty pleased with how sneaky and, ultimately clever (lazy, whatever) I'd been in pulling this off. Everett's reactions were everything I'd hoped they be and I expect that this will be a level of silliness on a birthday that he'll remember... maybe for 12 more years before he catches me off guard...

Happy Birthday, friend.

*elements of this blog post (particularly dialogue) may be paraphrased, embellished and otherwise fabricated to facilitate the unfolding of the story. -mgmt

1 comment:

Christina said...

This was *awesome!* :D