Of Mice and Doughnut Holes

my favorite local landmarks are falling by the roadside

Mike Paulus

The weekend was not going well. The friends we had invited to stay overnight at our house had already been met with a string of disappointments. They had brought their own booze, but we had no Coke. After they ran to the nearest Kwik Trip and back, we realized we had no ice. We ordered pizza from our favorite local place, and it sucked. Maybe it was an off night for the pizza chef, maybe he had just broken up with his girlfriend and couldn’t focus, but whatever the cause, the effect was soggy-ass pizza that you couldn’t even cut. However, my wife Shannon had a great Sunday breakfast planned. Surely, it would go flawlessly. Surely, we couldn’t let down our guests yet again. 


Well, in addition to the egg ’n’ sausage ’n’ cheese masterpiece Shannon had concocted, we decided it’d be cool to have some doughnuts. A few weeks prior to this, I had taken our kid to a bakery in town – the same bakery my dad had always frequented back when I was a wee, chubby, doughnut-scarfing youngster. It was pretty cool to go in there and relive that sugary experience. Anyway, on my revisit, I had gotten these amazing doughnut holes that were the size of a regular doughnut. I thought I’d run down there and get some for our guests.

I talked up these doughnut holes. A lot. We told the whole “when Mike was a chubby youngster” story. We described the taste and the feel of them. We talked in hushed tones about the way sunlight would glance off the sugar crystals stuck to their surface, creating the feel of standing in a grand cathedral at midday, the strained glass windows alive with light. They couldn’t wait. But it was not meant to be.

I walked into the bakery, and everything looked normal enough. But wait. No doughnut holes. This couldn’t be. How could I come back home to breakfast with no puffy, tasty goodness? I asked about the doughnut holes, and after a few minutes of slightly confused discussion, I figured out that the bakery was under new ownership, and they no longer served doughnuts because, “Everyone’s got doughnuts.”

I felt like a ton of unbleached pastry flour had fallen right onto my head. I stared at this perfectly fine baker in disbelief. The curse of bad luck we had placed upon our weekend guests was powerful enough to magick an entire pastry shop into permanently canceling the doughnut holes I had promised. My god. What had we done? I drove home and broke the news. The rest is dismal history.



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