The Cake Collector

My weekend job… Jesus. For 21 years I worked as the house manager/event coordinator at an old mansion in the suburbs of DC. Weddings, memorials, bar mitzvahs, birthdays, everything. Every event was so similar in theme and approach, I just called it the “wedding job.” Even if it was a fucking christening, it felt like a wedding. The same caterers served the same food, the same small group of DJs charged $1000 to play a mix tape for five hours, the same photographers snapped the same sort of pictures, and I ended the night in the wee hours of the morning up to my ankles in vomit and plunging out toilets.

I’ve been writing this book about my fucked up family, my twisted, strange life, and all the points in between…but the editors said that the long digression where I talked about the wedding job was just too bizarre, too insane, and too disgusting to include. Maybe another book, they said. Well…maybe. But I need fodder for this blog which no one reads, so here we go… The story of the wedding cake collector…

Let’s call her Melissa. She started working the event manager gig around 2005 or so and no one could figure out how she even got the job. She was grossly overweight and wore baggy jeans and always the same stained pullover shirt to the events. She didn’t wear a bra, she shouted everything, and she had no filter whatsoever. I was given the task to train her and, though the job thrived on and even encouraged theft and corruption on every level, I played it straight. I took my position seriously and taught her all the tricks in the book. The wedding job may have been dead simple and even boring most of the time, but there were a few moving parts…and general pride in a job well done. I respected the old mansion much more than I respected the entitled fucks who rented it out for weddings and pissed all over the walls. Their money kept the mansion and a beautiful 40 acre wooded lot alive for all of us to enjoy.

Melissa took instruction okay and, after a few events, she was cut off on her own. The complaints started right away – she was abrasive and rude, she was loud, she was dressed inappropriately (we were on the floor with guests, so we were supposed to dress as if we were going to a wedding). My idiot boss didn’t really act on these complaints until things started to get weird. A year into Melissa’s tenure, she started showing up with bags full of Tupperware. She’d march into the kitchen and demand that the caterers fill the Tupperware with food, then haul it all out to her car. She’d do this before the guests were served and plating had even begun, shouting at people to get out of the way as she dragged bags and bags of food out. She eventually graduated to the point where she used the AV cart – stacked high on both shelves with full Tupperware containers.

She invited me to her house one evening and, being the guy that I am, I agreed. We drank wine and sat on her back deck and complained about the service industry for hours and then she turned to me and said, in her ultra-loud voice, “Why don’t you come back to the bedroom!”

I shrugged. Whatever. “Okay,” I replied.

I followed her through the house to the end of a long hallway where she triumphantly threw open a door and peeled her sweaty, stained shirt off. Her breasts were each the size of a medium sized dog, the nipples pointing defiantly towards the floor. She beckoned me into her room.

I froze the instant I crossed the threshold. Her bedroom was a fair sized room – a master capable of holding several dressers, a TV, a four-post California King, and even a good sized couch. Every surface, except for the bed and a path to it, was filled with saran-wrapped cake tops. The top of a wedding cake, traditionally, is saved by the bride and groom for reasons I never really paid attention to. I think you were supposed to eat it or something on your first year anniversary. I despised wedding cakes – inedible, expensive lumps of yuck encased in that stupid icing that my caterer friends joked was used to preserve Pharaohs.

It was impossible to count how many cake tops Melissa had in her room. No way could she have collected them all just from her gigs.

Guessing what I was thinking, she shrugged and laughed awkwardly. Her pendulous breasts moved rhythmically and my eyes were drawn by the horror of them.

“I collect cake tops,” she said.

“But…” I looked back around, “How’d you get so many?”

“The caterers always keep them in the freezer down the basement stairs. I take them from every event.”

“Every…event? You mean, like…?”

“I’ve been driving over to the mansion for years now and taking them.”

“But…”

“Why?” She laughed again and pulled her right breast away from her belly with a wet sucking sound. “I don’t know. I volunteered for that birdseed thing one summer and went to the basement to cool off and figured I’d look through the fridge and…” Her face lit up and she stumbled over cake tops to a far corner of the room, digging for several moments before she pulled out a pink and black frosted cake top. “I found this! My first one! I couldn’t stop after that.”

I’d like to say we made love amongst the cake tops, but something about the cluttered collection ruined my depravity circuits. I begged off of sex, made hasty excuses, and was driving home within ten minutes, a haunted feeling heavy in my heart.

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