Before we proceed to the next thrilling installment let us pause for a moment and talk of bread, more particularly the bread of Amazonia.

Now when Amazonia announced that the wheat crop had more than quadrupled people high-fived each other and celebrated. They thought it was beyond fabulous that now everyone would have the chance to share their skills and visions as bakers. Oh sure, they realized that there would be a certain number of bakers whose bread you wouldn’t feed to a starving pig but, eh, how bad could it possibly be?

They hoped that the bakers of substandard bread might realize it wasn’t exactly tasty and improve or that friends and family might gently nudge the baker into improving their loaves or that when said friends and family ate the bread, keeled over onto the floor, clutched their stomachs and groaned, “I’m gonna die”, that those bakers would take the hint. And most probably that happened but no one heard about those bakers unless their friends and family were rushed into hospital or, you know, died.

What they didn’t anticipate was the number of mediocre and bad bakers that managed not to hear gentle hints or calmly stepped over the flailing bodies on the floor in their rush out the door into the world to sell their excellent bread. And what all those new bakers, good, bad, otherwise, didn’t realize was the lack of marketing for all their bread. They had to get creative.

Or annoying. If you ask the people of Romancelandia they will say they got annoying. Oh, they didn’t mind the bakers that approached restaurants, coffee shops, and markets asking if they would give their bread a chance. They didn’t mind little stalls popping up around town offering free samples, the gift bread basket cottage industry or other intriguing and innovative selling ideas. They met a lot of people they might not have met otherwise and had interesting conversations over bread and coffee. They gave advice when asked, helped even the bakers who weren’t so talented if they saw they were sincere and wanted to put in the hard work to improve. Sometimes they pushed a baker to consider making butter or jam if their baking skills were hopeless.

But those annoying bakers-they popped up everywhere. You couldn’t have a conversation in a shop, with your doctor, you couldn’t have an illicit meeting, or plot to overthrow the government without one of those damned misguided bakers jumping out from behind a potted plant and shoving a loaf under your nose. The citizens asked them to stop nicely, then tensely. They posted signs in doorways, then in every aisle, on the theatre marquee, there was one on every house. They took to wearing placards asking bakers to not accost them with bread. Scones started to look more attractive.

It also seemed that a lot of them weren’t all that good at baking and you couldn’t get them to understand that. They got huffy if you pointed out that  the loaf was black on the bottom or unbaked in the middle or glowed in the dark. They told you you didn’t understand their bread or you were a jealous (bread)hater. It seemed all of these lousy bakers (there, I said it plainly) had contracted the Dreaded Whines, too. They whined about not selling their bread, they whined about mean people not allowing them to sell their bread during funerals and church services, they whined about the Bread Bloggers who reviewed and discussed bread.

They clumped together in unattractive groups much like the doughy, unbaked centers of their loaves and whined. Small groups of desperate citizens formed to discuss the problem and the whiney bakers whined about that. Then they surrounded GoodBreads, the place where bakers went to display their breads and the eating public went to sample and discuss and review the breads. The whining got so loud and insistent that a few weak-minded individuals actually tossed bread at other bakers and bloggers.  The small groups of citizens and others banded together and the A(ctively)A(wful)B(akers), group was formed. There was a sharp upswing in the sales of muffins, crumpets, and the above mentioned scones.

The whiney bakers were upset about that and blamed the AABers for saying their breads were bad. The AABers replied crisply that their breads were bad and anyone with half a set of tastebuds would have no problem figuring this out so of course they were turning to other baked goods or only professionally baked breads.

And this is about where everything stood on that fateful spring day when the citizens of Romancelandia met the whiney bakers in front of Summerton’s Fine Chocolates.



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