I Should Have

Entry by: Jim bob

12th January 2018
I knew I should have made the chocolate cake instead. She did it again, yet again. Every year. Always the same result for Gloria Branning. The effervescent, Gloria with her sparkly jewels cladding her wrists and rolling from her neck. If only I’d used superior ingredients, that chocolate cake of mine, on show last week, would have won. In the early afternoon July warmth, it would have stood out; displayed on its silver coaster, its dark sheen gleaming against the soft rays of sunshine. But no. It wasn’t to be; Gloria Branning had done it with hers. I’m sure she’s bribing the judges. She has to be. How is it that each year she blooming wins? I can’t see otherwise, after all she’s laden with money, dripping with it, especially since her hubbie passed on. Retired general, very retired and very old- 87. The way he supped on those gins I’m surprised it wasn’t sooner. Yep I’m sure of it now. The competition with all its entrants from Mrs Kite from the Rectory house, down to young Miss Abbes in one of the cottages on Parsons way. And, I might add contributing very commendable entries Some surely better than Gloria’s,

I made it using Cadburys, thinking and knowing it to be damned good. But oh no. What a fruitcake I am for not realising she’d only gone and made a chocolate orange soufflé cake using Grand Marnier and the finest Swiss chocolate as the highlight ingredients. Can’t remember the brand now. Think it begins with ‘L’ Sneaky old thing she is.
‘I see you’ve made chocolate cake too, Laurie’, she’d said to me, with her glass of sweet sherry in a pink gloved hand. Her lips were ruby red, her smile fixed. I could have slapped the doody old cow, I really could.
‘What chocolate did you use then Laurie?’
‘Oh that would be giving away precious secrets Gloria,’ I’d replied.
Lots of women, and a few men- who’d mostly taken to the refreshments tent for pink gins- graced the cricket pavilion that afternoon., all the entries attractively displayed beneath a protective canopy.
‘Oh we are dear friends now, Laurie, spill the beans,’
So I did.
‘I used a combination of Belgian, and German chocolate.’
The other gloved hand went to her mouth.
‘Oh Laurie. German chocolate. I had no idea they produced the stuff,’ Then she giggled. It was more like a snort really, and I swear I saw a little snot fly from one of her nostrils. I really wanted to push her over.
‘They make the famous black forest gateau with these continental chocolates you know,’ I lied.
Her jewellery chimed from her guffaws and snorting from my remark. But she had me though. She had me the rich bitch, and I wanted to knock that giggle of hers right in to next week. One of these days I’ll have her, and that was the only real comfort I could console myself with on that afternoon last week. I knew I should have made the white and dark chocolate cake with orange coulis, or the vanilla and strawberry one with a Grand Marnier cream accompaniment. Even the Milk chocolate mousse gateau with tangerine and lemon glaze would have sufficed. But no, I remembered thinking. No point in torturing yourself about it anymore. At least her husband wasn’t here now; he was worse than her the way he used to support her every move. Mind you, I don’t think he’d dare do otherwise. That Mrs Branning had a harsh side to her, I’m sure. And one day, not too soon I think, I was going to cross it. Mind you a lot of the other entrants got up my snoot too. Fanning away across the perfectly mown lawns, parading their summer frocks as if it was them in competition, and not the cakes. My husband getting pissed in the tent along with the other cronies didn’t make me too happy either. Pretending to do this and be that in his white jacket and tie. Bunch of old fruitcakes, honestly.

Then, on announcing her the winner, my stomach turning, she pats me gently on the shoulder, bows to all and sundry, graciously accepts her prize- usually a holiday somewhere, but I wasn’t listening, she asks me if she can have a taste of mine. If I’d known she was going to, I’d have poisoned it, but in hindsight not the best idea; killing the judges wouldn’t have gone down too good.
‘Go ahead Gloria,’ I’d replied.
‘Oh no my diet, Laurie. Must watch the pounds you know. Well perhaps a small piece.’
But I didn’t know any such thing about watching the pounds. I’d been making and eating cakes all my life and hadn’t any interest in that kind of thing. Least I still had a good figure in my so called golden years. She cut a dainty piece from the already half eaten cake; the three judges each having takena portion, then a few jumped up so called assistants leaping on the ‘free cake ‘bandwagon too. Makes me sick.
‘Oh mm interesting,’ she said, unaware of a smear of chocolate left on her chin. I wasn’t going to tell her.
‘Meaning what, Gloria. I asked the doody old sow.
‘Meaning not bad. This German chocolate is a bit like ours isn’t it?’
‘Subtler I feel,’ I replied, reaching for a glass of lemonade from a waiter’s tray that appeared out of the blue.
‘You think?’
‘Course I think’ I snapped, resisting the sudden urge to throw my drink over her.
‘Now why don’t you try a piece from the winner’s entry’
‘You know I’d love to Gloria, but, like you, I’m watching those pounds.’ And I smirked. She was never going to say anything to suggest I didn’t need to lose weight, and that I was in fine condition for my age. No, that wouldn’t do for her. That would bite in to her character too much, the doody old thing. It really would.
‘Oh well, perhaps during the whist drive on Monday, I’ll be bringing it along to that. If there is any left by then that is.’
‘Oh I’m sure its sumptuous, Gloria, I really do and many congratulations again,’ I said disregarding her suggestion, instead killing her with kindness.

I’d known the old doody for so many years, and her friends. They were all a bit up themselves, you know. And my husband, he wasn’t but tried to be like them during his long old boring retirement. He never got fruity with me anymore either. That’s because of all those cocktails at the British Legion. That’s why, the old poop. I mean along with all this cake making, I fancy a bit of tickle and slap now and again. Even in these old years. But him, Rodger, my man for 54 years now. Not interested. He seems more keen on HER, I’m sure. Always asking after her.
‘Isn’t it good Gloria won the cake competition again’, he said to me that afternoon when we were driving back. Can you freaking believe it? Not a blooming ounce of support for his wife and her cake making inventiveness. No input, nor advice. Not that he has any to give but you know what I mean. He’s sometimes back very late as well. Sometimes I ask him why, but he says something about a card game going on and on late in to the night.

Its Gloria that really riles my regions though. Tomorrow I’m going to do a bit of prying and see if I can’t get some answers from those fruitcakes of Judges from the competition. My hubby has a lot of knowledge about these folks, so better keep him sweet. Mind you I’m the only one who does unless that freakin Gloria really is digging her nails in to him. No, I want to find out if she is bribing herself to win each year. Her fat fruitcake husband, was the wealthiest retiree this side of the county and had a lot of punch. Yeah, I’m going to get to the bottom of this. I’ll fill you all in when I do.