Thursday, February 27, 2014

Prompt: Rivalry, stumble, fire, bakery, mistake

“It was a mistake,” Seth groaned, holding his head in his hands as he slumped on the curb across the street from the blazing bakery. A small crowd of onlookers watched the firefighters valiantly struggle to contain the flames.

“A mistake,” Seth cried out again, as the roof collapsed with a roar, and the firefighters pulled back, pushing people farther away from their initial perimeter. He buried his face against his knees, hands covering his head as if he could hide from the noise, the heat, the smoke. Oh God, the smoke…

It was the last night of the Talk of the Town annual challenge, and Seth was determined to beat his archrival, Paul Wilson, master baker at the other renowned bakery in town, Sweet Society. They had studied together at the Cordin-Bleu Austin, and the faculty had fueled their instant rivalry, appointing them to lead opposite teams in challenge after challenge. Seth ignored the social politics and kept his eye on the prize: graduating top of the class from the premier culinary institute in Texas. With honors. But he shared the walk across the stage with Paul – the first time in the school’s history they had award the distinction to two so closely matched students.

Seth left Austin without a backward glance and returned to Houston, where he already knew the perfect location to build his dream, Café au Lait. Six months later, they won their first Talk of the Town award. The following month, Paul opened Sweet Society across town, and their rivalry continued, year after year, trading the top spot in Houston’s fickle sweets-laden heart – and stomach – and sticky fingers.

This year, Seth was determined to take top honors a second year in a row. With luck, they could parley that victory into sweet supremacy against the thorn in his side, Paul Wilson’s Sweet Society. He had been planning special creations to debut throughout the month, and the crowds had shown their appreciation in record numbers. But they had been equally appreciative of Paul’s efforts, and the now legendary competition was indeed the Talk of the Town.

Until Seth had a brilliant idea. He thought it was brilliant. Or maybe crazy. He was afraid to tell anyone else, in case they said it was crazy. The more he thought about it, the more he was convinced. It was brilliant. Finally, the night before the end of the competition, he called Paul…

Time writing
35 minutes

February word count

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