Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, in a land far, far away, there was a squirrel named Jack. Jack loved being a squirrel and when he grew up, he wanted to be a baker of great cakes. His mother didn’t totally understand why he had these dreams, but nonetheless if Jack wanted to bake cakes, a cake baker he would be.
Not long after his bakery opened, Jack was asked by the royal messenger if he could be commissioned to make a cake for Princess Barbara for her upcoming 11th birthday. It was a great Honor to be selected for such an event, for Jack knew if he could add this event to his list of experiences, the resulting word of his skills would spread. Jack had visions of being the baker of cakes for all the most prestigious events in the land; and as they were far, far away from everyone else, he could corner the market, grow rich beyond his wildest dreams and retire to the largest tree in the forest. He could buy all the acorns he wanted and and could have them shipped to his tree in the woods without caring what the Purolater charges would be.
The morning he was scheduled to start crafting this cake, he received word that the princess wanted a cupcake instead. One giant cupcake. This seemed simple enough to Jack. He set out retooling his design of the cupcake and soon the bakery was filled with the smell of buttery pecan. Jack knew that his friend Daniel, a local frog, would be there promptly at 1:30pm to help him load the cake onto the back of the royal wagon for the final transport to the kingdom’s party. This was in fact, a giant cupcake after all.
Once the final touches were put on the cupcake, Daniel hopped over to the back of the bakery to stand beside his friend and admire the final design. It was elaborate, it was fancy and Daniel had never seen anything like it. Jack snapped a few pictures to upload to his bakery’s Facebook and Instagram accounts and stood proud watching as Daniel and the royal wagon driver loaded the cupcake. After much chin scratching and whisker stroking they had it figured out how they were going to transport the creation. Jack stood there nervously twitching his whiskers and tail as there was a lot riding on this for him. He could hear his phoned pinging as already his followers were commenting on his page about how beautiful his cupcake turned out.
Finally, the wagon and its precious cargo were rolling out of town, making their way to the Kingdom for the Princess’s party. If only Jack knew what was going to happen on the way to the party…..
The wagon driver was a well known raccoon with a penchant for stretching the rules. To the upper management of the royal operation, Ricky appeared well put together. To those who knew the real Ricky, they knew him to be the kind of raccoon who liked to enjoy staying out past his bedtime and not always brushing his teeth very well. In fact, he was a favourite client of Ron, the local dentist. There was a lot of money to be made off Ricky if he was creative in how he billed the Royal Benefits plan; even more than off of Jim, the beaver living on the banks of the South Saskatchewan River. That morning Ricky slid from his warm den into work moaning about the fact he had such an ‘early’ pickup. Did I mention Ricky liked to sleep in? Any deliveries made before 4pm were considered early in his book.
Either way, Ricky had been up late the night before, playing a highly addictive game of Magic-The Gathering with Steve, Jaret and Tom. He has lost even using his favourite cards in that game and it had soured his mood. Not having a lot of sleep the night before, had Ricky pushing the limits of when he needed to get up so he could be on time for his ‘early’ pickup time. You can probably predict that he was pulling in to Jack’s bakery at 1:35, and with a 20 minute drive time to the party, and so by the time the cupcake was loaded it was already ten minutes to two!
Nevertheless, the three of them got the cupcake loaded into the wagon and he started down the side of the mountain. Once he was out of sight of the bakery and had brushed off Jack’s warnings to be careful, he cracked the whip on the rump of the team that was pulling the wagon to urge them to go faster. Even Ricky knew the dangers of arriving late to the party. That was how he got the job with the Royal Wagon driver. His cousin Louie, was late showing up for work earlier in the spring, and before you could even say “Snapping Turtles,” he had been replaced. It is rumoured Louie ended up moving down to the Everglades in Florida to run a fake crocodile purse operation with friends of his, but Ricky wasn’t entirely certain if that was the truth. The most recent pictures posted on Louie’s Facebook account look surprisingly similar to the mountains of Banff up in Canada, not the swampy waters of the South Eastern United States. It was entirely possible Ricky had seen sold a bill of goods and Louie was not being completely honest as to what was up.
A particularly nasty curve was coming up, but Ricky was pushing the horses to their limits in attempt to make up some time. As the team rounded the corner, the angle was sharp, the mountain was steep and Ricky had done a poor job of securing the front chain that was holding the gigantic cupcake in place. Before you could say, “Shiver me timbers!”, the moist bakery treat was launched through the air past Ricky and Daniel and beyond…..
Catching an edge on the bottom of the cupcake, it’s direction changed as it tumbled through the air and down to the valley below, picking up speed as it made it’s way to the bottom. Ever the optimist, Ricky tried to find the silver lining by telling Daniel that everything was still going according to plan as the cupcake rolled out of sight down the mountain below. “See, we are making up some time here this way! Now the horses can go faster and we won’t be late for the party!” Meanwhile, on the inside, Ricky was wondering where he has stored his long underwear. If this didn’t go well, he might be joining Louie in Banff before the day was over…
Shortly after reaching the bottom of the trail, Daniel spotted the giant cupcake. It was not as glorious as it had been only a few minutes before. Not by any stretch of the imagination. The giant dessert was perched half on top of a fallen tree, precariously wedged against some thorny bushes.
Daniel croaked in dismay at looking at the once beautiful cupcake turned horror show. There were small twigs and leaves with rocks and rabbit dropping all stuck in the icing of the giant cupcake. Gone were the handcrafted roses and fondant Disney characters. Gone were the ribbons and pearls. Gone were all the things of beauty that Jack was so proud of this morning. Where once a masterful piece of edible art was, now stood a dirty mess of smashed cake. Ricky stuck his finger into one of the only clean pieces of icing visible and then licked it. “Dee-ricious”, he said.
Daniel nearly hopped out of his skin, boiling mad and ready to spit nails. “Dee-ricious!?!?” “No one is going to want to eat this! Jack will be ruined now! The only thing that will keep him in nuts this winter is the fact he real time posted the pics of us leaving with his masterpiece. Everyone will know this is your fault.”
Ricky didn’t have much to lose at this point, so he convinced Daniel to help him load what was left of the cupcake back onto the wagon so they could make the final leg of the journey to the kingdom’s party hall.
With Daniel shaking his head, they tore across the field with Daniel’s big tongue snapping out here and there trying to at least clean the flies and mosquitos off the cake that had been embedded in its journey down the mountain side. It was after all, the least he could do for his friend Jack.
Making a grand entrance across the gate into the kingdom that had been opened for their arrival, Ricky hollered a “”Yippey-ky-yay” as he came to a screeching stop and in from of the crowd that had gathered. There was a deafening silence as everyone just stood, staring at the cake. “Yippee-ky-yay…?” Ricky said again, this time less confidently as he had done as they pulled in.
Princess Barbara stood there, just taking it all in. Looking up, then down, back, then forth. Her eyes widened with inverse proportion as her father’s narrowed. Ricky could hardly stand the silence. Before you could say “Canadian Maple Syrup”, Princess Barbara clapped her hands together with glee and went running towards Jack’s birthday cupcake shrieking, “I LOVE IT!!!”
The king’s face broke into a smile, if you could call it that, and Ricky knew he would be getting a call from HR before the ice cream was even being scooped. “It was nice knowing ya.” Ricky held out his hand to Daniel and scampered out of the way of the King as he gave the reins over. It was the last anyone has seen of Ricky since. However, anyone creeping on Louie’s FB page would see what appeared to be Ricky in the back ground of some of his pictures wearing plaid long johns and drinking a Timmie’s double double. There appeared to be more pictures like this during Roll Up the Rim to Win contests though than at other times.
Either way, Princess Barbara marvelled at the creative use of natural elements in the cupcake’s design, the way the sticks transitioned naturally into the leaves and then into the rabbit droppings. Years later Princess Barbara would be featured as a celebrity judge on “What’s Cooking” and she would regale the tales of this and many other birthday cakes Jack had made for her over the years.
Oddly enough, there was an opening as the Royal delivery wagon driver that Daniel easily secured. From there after he also moonlighted for Jack doing deliveries on the side.