“Out of This World,” by Brooksie C. Fontaine

Apr 20th, 2024 | By | Category: Fiction, Prose

I am Michelangelo. The bridezilla is the Pope. That’s how I choose to look at it.

Is it pleasant to be the unfortunate baker tasked with making her wedding cake? No.

She’s needy. She’s snappish. I often suspect she’s drunk. Every time she comes into the bakery, she looks like she’s about to cry, or just got done crying. I don’t know what she’d look like without slightly smeared mascara.

Despite her tyranny, she compels me to create some of my finest work. My confectionary masterpieces.

The wedding is space-themed. It would be cute, but the cake is supposed to look like the solar system. Yep, nine-tiered. She wouldn’t even let me omit Pluto.

Her initial goal was to have the cupcakes look like asteroids, but she’s unsatisfied by my samples.

“They look like little cowpats,” she says, fingers splayed on either side of the dish, like she doesn’t want to touch it. Her southern accent comes out in moments of frustration.

“Well, I warned you that brown frosting doesn’t always look the most appetizing. It’s the best I can do.”

She looks like she might actually scream, so I quickly offer, “How about I make them look like little astronauts?”

“Okay.” She sounds like someone just squirted lemon into her eyes and she’s trying to maintain composure. “Okay.”

So that’s what I do. The groom shows up to check my next sample, a guy who looks like he’s taken a Rip Van Winkle-style nap in the middle of his frat years and has yet to realize he’s an adult.

“They look good to me,” he shrugs, and the only thing more disheartening than the fact that he’s a thirty-five-year-old wearing a sideways baseball cap is that I know he’s rich. What a waste of money and good looks. “Don’t know why you can’t text us pictures.”

“Your fiancée feels that won’t give her a good enough sense of their quality or scale.”

“Okay,” he shrugs, scratching under his arm.

The bride who cares too much, the groom who cares too little. An upper and a downer. As if cocaine and heroin were a couple.

The astronaut cupcakes were easy. I even throw in a few alien cupcakes for fun, fully prepared to be screamed at for not following the bridezilla’s explicit instructions. One must make sacrifices for her art, after all.

The cake is another matter. Nine different frosting types, designed to mimic the crust of each planet. Nine different fillings. She calls me at 7 AM to say she wants to add the moons.

“Can you get them to look like they’re orbiting somehow?”

“No,” I say, too tired to be polite.

Eventually she agrees to moon-shaped pies instead, which is another full day of tinkering with crusts.

Because it’s nine tiers, I have to assemble the cake at the venue. It’s outdoors, in a cornfield, with fake crop circles. Someone tells me the priest will be dressed as an astronaut and all the groomsmen and bridesmaids will be dressed as aliens. I can’t tell if he’s joking.

Seeing the cake fully assembled, in its natural setting, is a religious experience. It’s my Michelangelo moment. My Sistine Chapel.

“It’s beautiful.”

I jump. Bridezilla has come up alongside me. She’s wearing a galaxy-themed wedding dress, blue with sparkles that look like stars, and I realize for the first time what a stunning woman she is.

Her face isn’t pinched with stress anymore. She looks resigned.

“When I was a kid, I always wanted to be an astronaut,” she says.

“What do you do?”

“I teach math at college.”

“That’s a good career.”

“Yeah. It is.” There’s an awkward silence. She goes on, “I’m sorry for how I’ve been acting. I’m not…like this.”

“It’s all good, just as long as you pay.”

I hope she can tell I’m joking, and am relieved when she cracks a smile. “I feel like I wouldn’t care about all this stuff if I were with the right person.”

I don’t know what to say to that. “Then, why?” Why go through with it? Why waste the time and money?

“I don’t want to be alone. I want a baby. Maybe he can give me something to love, even if I don’t love him the way I’m supposed to.”

I expect her to start crying, but she doesn’t.

“I’m a horrible person,” she says.

“No,” I say. “You’re just like most people. Only difference is, you know.”

I have a kid. I have an ex-husband, who I thought I loved enough to marry. He didn’t love me enough not to cheat.

I don’t think most people would get married if that yearning for the big day, the happily ever after, wasn’t instilled in them so young. I don’t think most people would get married if it weren’t for alcohol to help them tolerate one another, or the fear of being alone in this big, scary universe.

“Well,” says the bride, sounding decades older than she actually is, “thank you, at least, for helping to make this day so special. That’s one thing to take with me.”

I loop my arm through hers, an act of forgiveness, of camaraderie. Both of us are just primates, clinging to this rock together. “It’ll be out of this world.”


Brooksie C. Fontaine is a coffee addict who got into college at fifteen and annoyed everyone there. She is a teaching assistant, tutor, illustrator, and grad student. Her work has been published by Eunoia Review, Boston Accent Lit, Anti-Heroin Chic, and the Cryptids Emerging and Things Improbable anthologies.

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