Cake boss

By Steve Galea

I am 60 years old, and I baked my first cake on Saturday. 

Don’t be sad. I had a good run.

Some people would argue that I did not actually bake a cake, since I utilized a box mix. And they may be right, but this is as close as I’m ever going to get to baking one. 

For my inaugural cake, I chose a lemon cake with vanilla icing. It was good. Having said that, I will probably never bake another cake. 

I just wanted to see if I could. 

From here on in, I will leave the cake baking to those who enjoy it or make a living at it. 

But I will also sleep better knowing that, should a horrific nuclear apocalypse overtake the earth and cause our civilization to descend into chaos and anarchy, I now possess one of the essential skills required to survive any upcoming global catastrophe. 

And I’m counting on it being one of those lost arts.

If so, I will be able to walk into any hostile, mutant-infested, post-apocalyptic colony, and should I can find, potable water, three eggs, a cake mix box whose expiry date is still approaching, as well as a can of store bought icing, a functioning hand mixer, a mixing bowl, cake pan and working oven, I will be able to win the acceptance and admiration of the suspicious and hostile mutants within, by offering them a moist, delicious piece of my world-famous vanilla-iced lemon cake.  

That’s because, unless my instincts are steering me way wide of the mark, I suspect a scrumptious piece of lemon cake will be worth its weight in potassium iodide serum in a nuclear-ravaged world. Just as it was at our dinner table on Saturday night.

I don’t care what’s got you down. My cake alone can fix it. 

Sure, you might have been born in the After Time with a third unblinking eye, due to the unsustainable radiation levels and genetic damage that has left with you with a heightened sense of taste. And yes, maybe the other kids constantly make fun of all your eyebrows and lack of a second head – but, just for a moment, when you try my delectable cake, you’ll forget all that – and even your third eye will light up!

My cake is to-die-for. There, I said it. 

I expect I’ll probably be called to stand before the Counsel of Mutant Elders to explain this “lemony magic,” or suffer the consequences of being buried from the neck down in the Desert of Countless Skulls. But I suspect they will be far more friendly after I cut them each a generous slice and tell them that, should they bury me, my ability to conjure culinary delights also dies with me – and note that this will lead the Great Uprising as the prophecy foretold.

Soon after, I imagine, I will be promoted to the revered position of Cake Boss of the Emperor’s Court. And eventually, through guile, military brilliance, ruthlessness, and what can only be described as an otherworldly lemon cake, I will be able unite the Wasteland Colonies into the greatest power since the Fiery Destruction was visited on the Before Times. 

Look, I’m not saying this is the only reason I learned to bake the perfect cake. Because that would be weird. I guess what I am saying is that sometimes it’s the little skills that create unexpected opportunities for you in life. 

And, you know, your heart needs to be open to that.