Leo Reid buttoned the cinnamon drop buttons to his chocolate colored overcoat. It had started to snow outside. His hair, a shaggy suede orange, formed a cap on top of his head. It was for his hair that the small town of Oak Ville had given him the nickname The Ginger Breadman. His round glazed eyes had the color of blackberry jam, and his mouth was a discolored red from a full day of tasting fruit tarts that he had made. He looked around his bakery at the shelves upon shelves of treats; Christmas was coming soon, and the parents would be flooding in grabbing goodies for their children who were out of school. He enjoyed this time of the year despite the fact that his parents had never taken him out for sweets.
His cell phone rang and frightened him slightly after he had stood there for so long in the dark by himself. It was his mother. She was not his real mother; Leo had never been able to meet his real parents. An older couple that could not have any children of their own had adopted him. Often times when he was a boy, his adopted mother had told him that she had made him out of bread—all so that she could gobble him up. For some reason, this had been the image that had stuck with him the most, the greedy adoptive parents trying to gobble him all up. He didn’t make much money as a baker, but he had fallen into some money after he had discovered who his real parents were, and that they had left a savings account in his name. He had recently gone and emptied the account, all fifty thousand, and still had the cashiers check in his wallet. He was planning to use it for a few small things that he had never been able to afford, but mostly he was going to put it into his bakery.
He looked down at his cell phone, and muttered, “Try, try, as hard as you’d like, you can’t take my money, you don’t have the right.”
Leo was just turning off the lights when a knock came at his front door. He peered out around the corner, and standing there was the local dairy farmer. The problem with living in such a small town like Oak Ville was that news traveled fast. Ever since word had gotten out that he had some extra money to spend, people had been trying to get at it for themselves. The milk man had said that the two of them would form an impressive business venture. The car salesmen had tried to sell him more horsepower than he could ever handle. The farms where he got his stores had tried to raise the price on wheat to make more money. Even the guy who did his lawn tried to get his pay increased.
He slid back behind the wall and mumbled under his breath, “Try, try, as hard as you like, you can’t take my money, you don’t have the right.”
Once Utters, the town milk man had left, Leo finished closing his shop and headed to The River, the local bar. He was heading to an open chair we he noticed a pretty women sitting next to it. What a fox, he thought. He hesitated before moving down a few more empty chairs. She won’t get any money out of me. After a few drinks, the fox looked over at him.
“My name is Viv.”
“Ouch,” she replied. “I don’t bite.”
“I’m not gonna buy you a drink or anything of the sorts.” With that, he snorted.
“I didn’t want a drink. I would not think of disturbing you.” And to Leo, she genuinely looked hurt.
“Look ma’am, uh Viv, I wasn’t trying to be rude. I just wasn’t planning to waste a lot of money tonight and well, I thought you would be looking for a drink.”
“Well, you were wrong.”
Feeling quite ashamed, he quickly ordered Viv another of whatever she was having. After a few more drinks himself, he found Viv to be a very friendly woman. A nice jazz rendition of Christmas Time Is Here began to flow out of an old jukebox at The River. He politely asked Viv to dance, which by now, she had no reason to object. When a slow song came on, he found his hand wandering to the small crevasse of her lower back. She smiled at him, but after a few lingering moments, she moved his hand up to her back.
“I am afraid you will get swept away,” she whispered into his ear. He left his hand there but moved in closer and kissed her shoulder.
“Oh dear,” she whispered. “I’m afraid my shoulder is too low for you.” So, the Ginger Breadman moved his head up and kissed her on the nose. She threw her head back and began to laugh. Upon lowering her head back, the two began to kiss. To everyone in the bar, it looked as though Leo were being gobbled right up. When the dancing was done and Viv left the club, Leo was a bit more than upset at not getting her number. He went to the bartender to pay off his bill and go home before realizing that his wallet was gone.
Jonathan Wendt currently lives in Kingwood Texas with his wife Melissa. He is finishing work on his first novel of fairy tale re-tellings.