Here’s a piece Bill W. wrote – he’s looking for feedback…
The Apple Strudel Caper
The street buckled and writhed under my feet as I walked along a canal in the early morning hours. Each cobblestone was a different color like the scales of a serpent and the canal water was black, yet I could see the faces of fallen angels or maybe mermaids within. I moved away from the edge of the canal as the pale faces watched me with bemused expressions or regarded me with disdain. Either way, I didn’t trust them.
The mushrooms were the only thing I had eaten in 2 or maybe 3 days. What day was it? I had no way to be sure. All I knew is that I was tripping and I felt like I was starving. Funny thing about Amsterdam and knowing the right people, you could damn well starve to death, but you wouldn’t die sober. I was broke, but my friends kept me full of beer, weed, and these damn mushrooms.
I walked along a familiar street with buildings that seemed to tower upward and lean forward as if threatening to topple. It was when I was passing one of my favorite bakeries that I stopped to take in the smell of fresh baked goods. It was around 4:00 in the morning and I could see pastries in the window, but the smell, the smell had to be my mind playing tricks on me. Through the glass of the front window I could detect the scent of fresh baked goods and it felt warm somehow. A quick glance up and down the street confirmed I was alone in the world. I don’t know what compelled me, but I decided that if the door to the bakery was open then it was a sign from whatever Gods were watching over me. I secretly hoped it was Loki, Thor, and Odin.
The door clicked and opened and I grinned slightly as I accepted this blessing of food from the Gods. The place was dark, but had some moonlight coming through the front window that created an aura around the display of pastries and bread that rested on the glass shelves. There it was, placed in the center and glorious in its essence; an untouched apple strudel in a pan. Yes, the Gods were good to me, but wait, I’m certain the smell of these baked goods are stronger than it should be. The smell that filled this place was the smell that only occurred when things were actually in the oven.
The voice behind me confirmed my suspicions that this was no chance of luck, but the door had been unlocked by the chefs who had arrived early in the morning to prepare for the day. Curse you Loki. The voice was loud and angry and jolted me into motion. I choose the only possible course of action available to me as dictated by the circumstances and grabbed the strudel. As I snatched my prize I was already heading back out the door in one fluid motion. Well, under the influence of the mushrooms it felt like one fluid motion. I don’t think I knocked anything over, anyway. The faces in the water were laughing now, but the street submitted to lie still and let me run as fast as I could with the sound of shouts and foot steps behind me. I took a left at the next intersection, the opposite way I needed to go, but that was ok. Better to lead them away from my ultimate destination.
I no longer heard the sounds of pursuit and had only walked a couple blocks when the police showed up. I saw the glow of their headlights approaching the corner ahead and at this hour of the morning I had to assume it was the law, so I ducked into a stairwell and crouched low as they turned the corner and drove past. Garbage cans, stairs, and alcoves became my friends and cover as I ducked and scurried along side streets and back alleys towards my home, a small attic loft affectionately called the Sky Hovel.
This was bad. I was a freak with a head full of dreadlocks colored with streaks of purple and black by an equally odd girlfriend. I stood out in a crowd and here I was one guy on empty streets carrying an apple strudel under one arm. Pretty easy to identify and no chance to blend in or claim innocence should I ditch the strudel, so I pressed on. Somewhere in the distance I swear I could hear the theme song to Mission Impossible. The series, not the crappy yet-to-be-made movies.
Rather than make a direct line to my home, I looped around as the police (now two patrols) drove in grid type patterns around me, scanning with spot lights as they slowly moved past. Evidently, they were as determined to recover the strudel as I was to keep it. They never saw me and I was soon at my street and a half a block away from my home. My door was tucked in an alcove and being half way down the street it may as well been a mile, because there was nowhere along the way to hide should the police come into view. I crouched and saw a cruiser move past on a street behind me, so I made my move. I sprinted the whole way, the strudel tucked securely under my arm like I was a half-back running for the end zone. I slipped into the darkness of the nook that contained my door with keys in hand. Click, open, slam and I was inside with my back against the door gulping big breaths of air in between chuckling and sighs of relief. I headed quietly up the four flights of stairs to my attic room and in a moment was sitting on my mattress with the strudel on my lap. I cut a large square section of the apple strudel and began to devour my trophy. Perhaps I had been wrong to curse Loki, for he got me home.