Gingerbread implosion

Marlice A. Bryant
Truman neighborhood
Having been invited to a gingerbread house decorating party, I decided to put together a sweet little 6-by-6-inch house in the 20 minutes before running an errand.
The directions seemed simple: “Stand up walls and glue together with royal icing. Attach peaked roof and hold for one minute until icing sets.” No problem. I’d been baking and icing cakes and cookies for the past 40 years or so.
I set up shop on the living room love seat in order to keep watch on squirrels that kept raiding my suet cake in the redbud tree. But as I worked, a corner of siding broke off. I wasn’t worried. I just added a little more icing to fix it. It would be a snow-covered cottage after all — what’s a little more snow?
I stood up the sides, attached the roof and held it together. The sides didn’t meet at the corners like the picture on the box. I had 15 minutes. A headache started behind my eyes.
A squirrel leaped on the fresh suet cake! I had to move fast. The gingerbread house was getting more solid by the minute. I wiped my hands on a wet washcloth, opened the front door and screamed at the squirrel.
Fluffy, an adored long-haired cat who’d been watching the house construction with fascination, apparently got frightened at my loud voice. She careened off, leaving white hairs in the icing.v
I couldn’t get the offending fur off. Well, white hair and white icing — maybe this was what the “mortar” needed? We weren’t going to eat the darned thing anyway! I had 10 minutes left and the instructions said “hold for one minute until icing sets.”
But everything collapsed inward. It imploded in a brown and white muddle. All the pieces were covered with icing. The cottage was completely covered with snow. I could add frosting sugar for sparkle, just like real ice crystals, I supposed. I found new energy but had somehow acquired an eye twitch.
By 10:30 a.m. I was holding three intact walls, one broken wall and two roof pieces. They didn’t match up. There was a one inch gap in the roof. I planned to pretend this was a sunroof. Or maybe a chimney hole. I added more icing and watched as it dripped down the edges and puddled at the corners.
I moved the whole shebang to the kitchen counter and got ready to go. The cottage collapsed onto the floor. So I walked out and slammed the door.
Hours later, when I got home, the icing still hadn’t set. That cottage was doomed from the beginning. So I picked up a little “ginger kid” and ate him.

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