General Fiction posted September 14, 2018

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Bragging rights are at risk.

Mayhem at the County Fair

by Sugarray77

"I didn't do it! How could I have done it? I wasn't even in this tent at the time." Judith wailed at the contest judge. It seemed someone had liberally salted the top icing of the cakes that were entered in the Blue Ribbon Cake Contest.

"Mr. Watkins, dear.... Hugh, how could you even suspect me of something like that. You know how much the cake contest means to me." Judith spoke with a deceptively slow drawl she always used to placate people. She truly didn't want them thinking she was the one that had ruined the cake or was it cakes?

"Hugh, how many cakes were salted?" she asked.

"We aren't sure yet, we know the first two that we judged have been tampered with." he said.

"Do you mean that mine may have been salted too? Oh, my Lord!" Judith squealed as she raced away to the Show table. After sampling her icing she had a stunned look on her face. She looked furious. Hers had been liberally salted as well. She had plotted and planned all year to make her famous cake and to have someone tamper with it was just too much.

"You see Hugh, mine is salted too. Why would I harm someone else's and mine too?" Judith quickly looked at her watch and then frantically looked around trying to place who could have done it.

Hugh was perplexed, but looked mollified.

Barry Jackson, the other cake judge, walked up and looked at Judith suspiciously. He was remembering that Judith had won 15 of the past 15 Jackson County Blue Ribbon Cake Contests and he really couldn't see why she would harm the cakes.

"Hi, Judith." Barry said. "If you didn't do it, who do you think did?"

Judith didn't answer, but asked the gentlemen, "Who accused me in the first place? I wasn't in the tent. After I placed my entry, I went to the ladies' room to wash my hands. Who was here?"

Both men shook their heads in bafflement. It seemed it was a mystery.

Barry said, "Laura Burton thought she saw someone leaving with a blue dress on. She mentioned you had a blue dress on today."

Judith smothered a cutting remark. "So, Laura, the one with the new Tropical German Chocolate Cake entry was trying to cause her disqualification. Hmmm," she thought. She had been worried about Laura's cake.

Judith asked, "What will you do about the contest if they are all salted?"

Hugh and Barry both looked uncomfortable.

Barry said, "Well, you know the rules state that there can be only one entry per person. We would have to judge them as they are, or disqualify all of the salty ones."

"Oh, no! Gentlemen surely there is a way to fix this." Judith was flustered and waving her hands about.

She asked, "Can I at least scrape the icing off of mine and dab on a little I had brought in case of emergencies?" She held her breath as she waited for the answer.

Hugh asked Barry, "Have we reached the time deadline?"

"No." Barry replied, "Remember, we always start early because there are so many entries. We still have fifteen minutes before the cutoff."

The men nodded at Judith and walked away.

Quickly she grabbed her Sugared Mocha Almond cake and raced to the staging area. In her supply bag she withdrew a long icing knife and deftly scraped off the top icing in long precise strokes that spoke of long practice. Removing an ample tub of Mocha icing, she smoothed it onto the upper layer and blended it onto the sides. Next, she took out a sifter and placed the special infused sugar in it. This was the ingredient that set her cake apart from all the others. The recipe had been handed down for three generations and as far as she knew, it had never been replicated. After sifting it onto the top layer, she sprinkled glazed almonds onto it and gently pressed them down. Voila, ready to go. She replaced the cake atop its entry form and quietly stepped back.

As Judith walked away she was thinking about the contest. She knew a moist cake wasn't hard to make, but that it was the frosting that always won the day. When she had tasted a sample of the frosting of Laura Burton's new recipe, the Tropical German Chocolate Cake, at the Ladies Auxilary meeting, she had become concerned for the first time in fifteen years. Winning the cake contest was a source of pride in the community and Judith wasn't willing to let go of it without a fight.

Later that day, after the final judging, the tent was packed for the announcement.

"Ladies and Gentlemen, may I have your attention?" Hugh Watkins spoke into the stage microphone.

"We are glad to be able to name a winner in this year's cake contest. I would like to add that we are very sorry to have found it necessary to disqualify so many of the entries. They simply were not palatable. As you know, before the contest, someone entered the tent and salted most of the cakes. I doubt we will ever know who did it, it was probably a teenage prank. Each contestant was given a chance to repair their cake, but only a few had brought extra icing. There were four entries left that could be judged."

He added, "It is our honor to award the first place blue ribbon in the Jackson County Fair Cake Contest to Judith Grayson."

"Congratulations Judith on another delicious entry this year. Your cake is luscious and always hard to beat." remarked Hugh as he placed the blue sash over Judith's head.

Judith smiled up at Hugh and said, "Thank you. I am thinking about taking a break next year and giving someone else a turn, but I really had hoped to go out on top."

I didn't do it!! contest entry
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