I gasp. Did the cake just commit suicide? I crane my neck to see what’s become of it, but it’s too dark to see.
Just then a spotlight illuminates the cake. Unbelievably, it’s still intact. What is that thing made of? It’s probably best that we didn’t try to eat it.
The light goes out and I look up just in time to catch Olly’s black-clad hand and flashlight retreat into the window. I stay for a few minutes, watching and waiting for him to come back, but he doesn’t.
I’m just settling in to bed when the pings begin again. I am determined to ignore him, and I do. Whatever he wants I can’t do. It’s easier not to know.
I don’t go to the window that night or the next.
I can’t stand it. I peek out from the corner of my curtains.
The Bundt is sitting on the sill, Band-Aids and bandages covering half its body. Olly is nowhere to be found.
The Bundt is sitting on a table next to the window. There’s a martini glass filled with green liquid, a pack of cigarettes, and a pill bottle with a skull and crossbones label. Another suicide attempt?
Still no Olly.
The Bundt is lying on a white sheet. An upside-down plastic water bottle is attached to what looks like a coat hanger and is hanging above the cake. A string hangs from the bottle to the Bundt like an IV. Olly appears wearing a white jacket and stethoscope. He’s frowning down at the Bundt and listening for a heartbeat. I want to laugh but I don’t let myself. Olly looks up and shakes his head solemnly. I close my curtains, suppressing a smile, and walk away.
I tell myself that I won’t look, but as soon as the first ping sounds I’m at the window. Olly is wearing a black bathrobe with an oversized silver cross around his neck. He’s performing last rites on the Bundt.
Finally I cannot help it. I laugh and laugh and laugh. He looks up and grins back. He takes a black marker from his pocket and writes on the window:
FIRST CONTACT, PART TWO
From: Madeline F. Whittier
Sent: June 4, 8:03 PM
Hello. I guess we should start with introductions? My name is Madeline Whittier, but you can tell that from my e-mail address. What’s yours?
- Madeline Whittier
P.S. You don’t have anything to apologize for.
P.P.S. What is that Bundt made of?
To: Madeline F. Whittier<[email protected]>
Subject: RE: Hello
Sent: June 4, 8:07 PM
you are a terrible spy madeline whittier if you haven’t already figured out my name. my sister and i tried to meet you last week, but your mom wasn’t having it. i really don’t know what the bundt is made of. rocks?
From: Madeline F. Whittier
Subject: RE: RE: Hello
Sent: June 4, 8:11 PM
Bundt Cake Recipe
3 cups all-purpose cement mix
1 1/4 cup fine grain sawdust
1 cup gravel (various sizes for added interest)
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup Elmer’s Glue
2 sticks unsalted butter
3 tsp paint thinner
4 large eggs (room temperature)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease Bundt pan
For the cake
1. In medium bowl, whisk together cement mix, salt, and gravel.
2. In large bowl whisk together butter, Elmer’s Glue, paint thinner, and eggs. Do not over mix.
3. Gradually whisk in dry ingredients in small batches.
4. Spoon batter into Bundt mold.
5. Bake until a tester inserted in cake refuses to come out. Cool in pan on rack.
For the glaze:
1. Whisk together sawdust and enough water to form a thick yet pourable glaze.
2. Set rack with cake over a piece of wax paper (for easy cleanup).
3. Drizzle cake with glaze and let solidify before serving.
- Madeline Whittier
P.S. I’m not a spy!
First Contact, Part Three
Wednesday, 8:15 P.M.
Olly: i was going to email you back, but saw you were online. your recipe cracked me up. has there ever been a spy in the whole history of spying that’s admitted to being a spy? i think not. i’m olly and it’s nice to meet you.
Olly: what’s the “f” stand for?
Madeline: Furukawa. My mom is 3rd generation Japanese American. I’m half Japanese.
Olly: what’s the other half?
Madeline: African American.
Olly: do you have a nickname madeline furukawa whittier or am i expected to call you madeline furukawa whittier?
Madeline: I don’t have a nickname. Everyone calls me Madeline. Sometimes my mom calls me honey or sweetie. Does that count?
Olly: no of course it doesn’t count. no one calls you m or maddy or mad or maddy-mad-mad-mad? i’ll pick one for you.
Olly: we’re gonna be friends
Thursday, 8:19 P.M.
Madeline: Since we’re going to be friends, I have questions: Where are you from? Why do you wear a cap all the time? Is your head oddly shaped? Why do you only ever wear black? Related question: Are you aware that clothing comes in other colors? I have suggestions if you need them. What do you do on the roof? What’s the tattoo on your right arm?
Olly: i have answers: we’re from all over, but mostly the east coast. i shaved my head before we moved here (big mistake). yes. i’m dead sexy in black. yes. none needed, thanks. nothing. barcode
Madeline: What have you got against capital letters and proper punctuation?
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