Box of Leftover Muffins
A cloud of flour rose into the air as it was shaken from the confines of its rustic brown bag. Not only was the powdery substance floating in the air, but most of it had settled outside of the glass bowl. A tan paw grabbed at the bowl, set it partially under the counter and swept the mess into the bowl. There was a sharp crack and the yellow yolk of a cold egg plopped right into the middle of the flour, creating another cloud to rise into the air above it. The egg was followed by soft, equally yellow, stick of butter and a few splashes of smooth and creamy milk.
The tan paw seized a wire whisk and began to beat everything together. Round and round the utensil went until the ingredients had transformed themselves into a goopy brown mess. As the three-fingered paw reached for the wooden spoon propped against the wall, it knocked over a half empty box of raisins.
A thought came into the Xweetok’s head and she quickly snatched up the purple box and dumped in the shriveled bits into the batter, using the wooden spoon to fully incorporate the chewy purple nuggets. Once that was done, the Xweetok divided the batter into the twelve pockets of the muffin tin. The process was messy, and the mixture was not divided equally; in fact, some of the batter had not landed into the metal pockets at all, but around the edges. A small pout formed on the Xweetok’s lips and she carefully scooped at the batter and placed it in the under-filled parts of the muffin tin. The Xweetok swung open the door to the oven, slid the metal pan into the center oven the hot box and then slowly closed the door, taking one last peek as she did so.
The minutes ticked slowly by on the kitchen wall clock. It seemed that the timer would never go off and the impatient little Xweetok would glance though the oven window every few minutes to see how her precious creation was doing. The first glace: nothing, the second glance: nothing, the third glace: was that a bubble? Yes, it was a bubble! The excitement of the rising muffins soon subsided once it was obvious that it would not do anything else. Still, time elapsed slowly and the Xweetok waited, hovering, by the oven, methodically tapped her fingers against the counter top.
There was a sharp ding and the Xweetok’s ears perked straight up. She quickly got back down to eye level with the muffins and pressed her cold black nose against the glass. She could feel the warmth from the oven and she could smell the aroma of her baked goods. The Xweetok grabbed an oven mitt and yanked open the silver door. The scent the muffins gave off was even more powerful now that they were out in the open. The little Xweetok placed the hot muffin tin on a nearby table and pulled up a chair. She sat down with a plop and placed her chin on top of her folded arms; she did not intend to leave her spot until the muffins had been fully cooled.
After ten agonizing minutes, the Xweetok lightly poked at the rounded tops of the muffins; they were lightly warm still, but cool enough to touch. She quickly grabbed a few pink boxes that she had found earlier that day and stashed the cooled muffins into the cardboard boxes, snuggly fitting four into each. She then proceeded to stack the boxes on top of one another and loosely wrapped a thick piece of twine around the muffin tower.
All was silent, except for the flutter of the Xweetok’s wings as she made the journey from her cozy condo at the edge of Faerieland to the inner city where her friend lived. The citizens of Faerieland were celebrating the end of the sixth annual Altador Cup and there was a big gathering of pets who would bring various types of food, drinks, and games. The trip was a long one, and three quarters of the way there, the Xweetok's arms were growing weary, but she pressed on. She was determined to have a good time at the party and wanted to know what her friends thought of her marvelous baking skills.
A soft, melodious tune escaped the house in front of the Xweetok and she pressed the doorbell. She was greeted and asked to come in. There were already quite a few pets and many had formed their own groups and clusters, mingling with one another. At the far end of the rectangular room, there sat the buffet table, already piled high with sweet and savory dishes. The Xweetok made her way across the room and glanced at the food in front of her. There were various types of meats and sauces that were placed conveniently next to several pre-sliced bread loaves and rolls. Multiple types of cubed cheeses were stacked upon one another, creating the illusion of one giant cheese block. The middle of the table was devoted to plastic cups and fizzy and non-fizzy drinks of the like.
The Xweetok quickly went past both sections without so much as a glance and looked at the piles and stacks of sweet foods. Anything with sugar was at this dominating end of the table. The cakes ranged from the size of a berry to ones that were three feet tall. Candies of all types, from gummy and fruity to hard and minty, were strewn between every platter. There were puddings: bread puddings, wiggly puddings, thick puddings, all in every flavor imaginable. The Xweetok was taken aback by all of the food on the table; she lost confidence on where she should place her muffins. Someone came up behind her and before she could protest, took the pink swirled boxes out of her small paws and tossed them onto the table next to the chocolate fountain. The Xweetok was then swept away and was forced to mingle with the others. A part of her wanted to stay where she was and keep an eye on her muffins, and possibly eavesdrop on what the others had to say about her raisin-filled muffins.
Somewhere, the stomach of a hungry Lupe growled loudly. The Lupe trudged through the crowd and made it his mission to get to the table overflowing with food. He started with the meats, piling everything he could get his paws on between two slices of thick white bread. He skipped the refreshments and made his way to the sweets, his eyes sweeping hungrily over each treat. He snatched up some cookies and a slice of pound cake. He was about to make his way over to a table set with sparkling pink and purple flowers that matched the tablecloth, but his eyes narrowed and his curiosity was piqued. What was in those boxes? Was he allowed to eat them? If so, why weren’t they on display like the rest of the food? The Lupe casually flicked open the box on top and without looking, grabbed whatever was inside. He glanced around the room to see if anyone had seen him, placed the object onto his plate, and made his way to the table.
When he sat down, he focused on the treasure trove of food on his plate, and sitting on top of the mountain was a muffin, a seemingly harmless muffin. The Lupe broke it open and he immediately stuck out his tongue. Raisins. The Lupe stealthily placed the two muffin halves behind the glass vase and pretended he had never seen it before. The muffin was quickly forgotten as the Lupe dove into his feast.
A Quiggle, curious as to see what was at the buffet table, departed from her friends and quickly walked to the end with the sweets. Everything looked so tempting, but she couldn’t take everything, could she? Would the others think her a glutton? She grabbed a plate anyway and placed a couple candies in the center. They slid around the paper plate as she walked around and around the table.
Then she noticed something a little strange: several pink boxes stacked on top of each other. The Quiggle took the top box down so she could see what was inside at eye level. When she looked inside, she was pleased. Muffins! But what were those things that speckled the bread? Were they blueberries? Or possibly chocolate chips! The thought brought a giant grin upon the Quiggle’s face and she took one, immediately taking a bite. Something was off, though. As she chewed, she didn’t taste blueberries or chocolate chips. She looked down at the muffin and saw purple. They were raisins, not the Quiggle’s first choice in a muffin, but she didn’t want to be wasteful and thus, choked down the rest of the muffin and left to go play some games, passing an exhausted Korbat.
The Korbat had been playing games since she had gotten to the party three hours before and was in need of something cool to drink. She took a plastic cup off of its stack and filled it with pink lemonade. She let out a satisfied sigh and took another sip. A slight pang suddenly appeared in the middle of her stomach and the Korbat realized that she should probably eat something as well. She took a slice of meat and a few cubes of cheese and made her way down the buffet line. Dessert wouldn’t be a bad idea either and she took a swift look at her options. An open box caught her attention. The Korbat peered inside and was delighted to see the box contained a single muffin. The Korbat plucked the muffin out of the box and tore off her favorite part of the muffin, the crunchy top. She closed her eyes in delight as she realized the muffin was studded with her favorite snack, purple raisins. The Korbat looked around the room to make sure no one was watching and placed the bottom half of the muffin back into the box, sure it was not a very polite thing to do, but so was throwing away two thirds of the treat.
The Korbat was about to walk away when she noticed the other boxes that were hidden behind the first one. Could these containers be filled with the crunchy-topped raisin muffins? There was only one way to find out. She tore open the lid to the closest box and clapped to herself. More muffins! This time, she didn’t bother taking the muffin tops off; that would go beyond immoral. So the Korbat swiftly closed the lid to the box, placed it under her soft wing, and went on her way.
The party was soon coming to a close, and guests were starting to leave. The Faerieland citizens were all tuckered out from all of the games and chitchatting they had done throughout the course of the day. Most of them had also eaten their fair share of the party food and their bellies were starting to poke out. Some of the guests didn’t seem to get enough of the food. The pets who wanted more were encouraged to take as much as they wanted home so the food wasn’t put to waste.
Most everything was taken when the Xweetok arrived at the buffet table. There were hardly any scraps of meat left, and all that was left of the bread slices were crumbs and a few crusts here and there. The perfectly cubed cheese structure had been reduced to no more than ten chunks of multi-colored cheeses scattered on the white china plate. The bowls that had previously been filled with brightly colored soft drinks were now laced with half melted ice cubes.
The Xweetok kept walking down the line, trying to see if there was anything worth bringing home as leftovers. Most of the dessert type items had obviously been the first choice for many of the guests. There were hardly any left, save for the few chocolate morsels or broken pieces of fruit-filled candies. The only things that seemed to be untouched were some very familiar pink boxes. The Xweetok sighed. No one had wanted any of her delicious muffins.
Ready to carry a full load back home, she heaved the boxes and almost lost her grip on them when she realized they were lighter than expected. She set the boxes back onto the table and looked inside. One box was almost empty, except for an extraordinary amount of left over raisins someone had clearly taken the time to pick out and a lonely muffin bottom. The last box contained a muffin that had been almost completely eaten, except for a tiny corner piece that was rewrapped into its clear paper liner. There was also another muffin; it had been completely unwrapped and a full bite was missing out of its side.
Then the Xweetok noticed something: a whole box was missing. She had brought three to the party, but she only held two. Someone had decided to take an entire box full of muffins home with them. The Xweetok shrugged, collected the two boxes into her arms, and headed for the front door. She found no reason to keep the leftover muffins and placed them next to an already overflowing trash bin. The Xweetok said her goodbyes and flew home without a second thought as to the future of those boxes of leftover muffins.