Carmen Toulouse-Allspice II

Prompt: The Stat Connection
Go to your Stats page and check your top 3-5 posts. Why do you think they’ve been successful? Find the connection between them, and write about it.

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Not only did I get a new trial, but my lawyer and best friend, Carmen, got me out on bail— yes, on the very day of my execution.

As I walked from my death row cell into the sunlight, I paused to feel the free air warm my cheek. “Carmen,” I said. “Thank you. I owe you one.”

“And you will repay me,” she said.

I was in the same grey, mid-length, sleeveless, collarless dress, much like that worn by the women of the Brazilian Pirahã tribe, that the prison had gifted me. Carmen led me to my home, where I put on a fresh white linen gown, and joined the guests she had gathered in the kitchen.

“Here it is,” Carmen said. “The Hazelnut Cake.”

Nancy, Trevor, Ruth, Paul, and the twins were gathered around the old pine table, staring at a cake, or what was left of it. There was a small wedge of a deep golden cake, on a blue china plate, with a small fork beside it. On the counter was another cake, identical in appearance, and Carmen carefully sliced a small piece and placed it on a white china plate, with another fork.

“I need to know,” Carmen said. “The bake-off is tomorrow, and while my cake is very nice, it is not the same as The Hazelnut Cake, and I can’t pinpoint what the difference in flavour is. If I don’t discover it by tomorrow, Cheryl-Ann and her strawberry rhubarb pie will win again. I can’t let that happen.”

“I need a drink,” I said. “Grapefruit juice with sparkling water.”

Carmen nodded at the twins, who jumped up and went to the refrigerator.

When the drink arrived, I breathed deeply its scent but didn’t drink it, as it would render me unconscious. I set it on the table beside me, and gazed at the two plates before me.

“It’s not as fresh as mine,” Carmen said of the smaller slice on the blue plate. “So take that into account when you taste it.”

They looked almost identical. Rich and tawny in colour, with a simple butter icing, light and creamy. I took a small bite of The Hazelnut Cake. So delicate was the flavour that it tickled and enticed my senses as I let it melt in my mouth. Then I took a bite of Carmen’s hazelnut cake. It was moist, and almost as entrancing as the original.

“Something is missing,” I said.

Ruth and Nancy had been talking about snapdragons, but their conversation ceased.

“What is it?” asked Carmen.

I slowly brought a forkful of the original cake to my lips. I savoured, and swallowed. “Ginger.” I said.

Ginger is the underground rhizome of the ginger plant with a firm, striated texture. It has a warm, spicy flavour, especially when fresh. The flesh of the ginger rhizome can be yellow, white or red in colour, depending upon the variety. It is covered with a brownish skin that may either be thick or thin, depending upon whether the plant was harvested when it was mature or young.

The twins clapped their hands excitedly at this revelation, until Paul lightly smacked one of them across the back of the head, at which point they both burst into tears. Ruth made them a pot of tea, which cheered them up; and Carmen, grinning and shaking her head, muttering “ginger!”, sliced her inferior cake into portions, and passed them around happily.

“Did you really murder all those people?” Nancy asked me. Hazelnut cake crumbs danced down the front of her blouse.

While I answered, Carmen Toulouse-Allspice, my best friend and lawyer, covered her ears and sang, “La la la.”

“Oh,” said Nancy. And she said not another word to me, for the rest of her life.

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