This story was written by Kylie Leung Wei-nam, 16-year-old student from Our Lady of the Rosary College.
This story is one of the finalists of Young Post’s 2017 Winter Short Story Competition. Each week during the holidays, we will publish one of the finalists’ stories. The winning entry will appear in Young Post on April 7.
A really bad cake
I still didn’t really understand how a supposedly simple game could turn into an impossible mission of playing Cupid, giving someone the moon and another person the Earth – literally. But it did.
I guess it all started with Ella’s cakes.
We were deciding what Christmas gifts to give to Maia, Selina and Janice, and all of us, except Coral, objected when Ella said she was going to bake them cupcakes.
“Anything is better than Ella’s cakes,” said Cecelia with a wince, remembering the time they all got sick after eating them.
Coral, the only person who hadn’t tasted Ella’s cakes before, was quick to defend her. “And you’re so sure that whatever you make will be better?”
Whoever gives the best gifts wins
“How hard can it be?” quipped Janice.
Cecelia pressed her lips together. “Then how about we play a game? Ella will make something for Maia, Janice and Selina, and the two of you will also bake something for them. Whoever gives the best gifts wins.”
“Fine,” Cecelia said, and I nodded. A little friendly competition never hurt anyone, I thought.
“I’ll help Ella,” said Coral with a grin.
“That’s not fair!” I cried. It was well known that Coral was an expert in making all kinds of dessert. We would surely lose if we were to compete with Coral’s desserts.
“Too late. You’ve already agreed to the game,” Coral said in a singsong voice.
Maia spoke before I could say anything. “What do the winners, or the losers, get?”
Coral’s grin became feline. “The losers have to eat whatever the winners make for them.” I gulped.
Cecelia ignored the grin. “What Christmas present do you really want?” she asked the three.
Janice blushed. “I don’t think you can give me what I want.”
Cecelia smiled. “Try me.”
Janice smiled shyly. “I want Andrew to give me a kiss.”
I choked on my water. “What?”
Janice’s face turned even redder. “Well, I guess it doesn’t have to be just a kiss, kisses are even better.”
That seemed to give Cecelia an idea. “How about we win if we succeed in giving Janice, Maia and Selina whatever they ask for?”
I guessed that would give us some chance of winning, though getting Andrew to kiss Janice would be really difficult.
To my surprise, Coral agreed. “Fine. You can’t win anyway.”
But Maia and Selina decided not to go easy on us. Maia spread her arms and said “Earth! I want -”
She was cut off by Selina. “If that’s what Maia wants, I want the Moon! And I do mean the real moon, the star circling our planet right now, not some moon-like products.”
This was madness.
“And we win if we manage to give you all of those?” Cecelia asked.
Was she crazy? “That’s impossible!” I cried.
Selina giggled. “A plot of land on the Moon instead of the whole moon then. Will that make your job easier?”
“No,” I muttered. Selina just laughed louder.
So, here we were, in Cecelia’s room, discussing how we would accomplish this impossible mission. Baking was out of the question, because though the last dessert we baked was better than Ella’s cakes, we caused a tiny explosion in the process.
“We’re dead,” I groaned.
“No, we’re not. We’ll come up with something,” said Cecelia.
“But how are we going to give Selina the moon?”
Cecelia pressed her lips together again and began searching on Google.
“How do I literally give someone the moon?” she typed.
The only thing we found was a lamp that looked like a moon.
A frustrated grunt escaped me. “But Selina wants the real moon, not a lamp that looks like the moon.”
“I think she said we can get her a plot of land on the moon instead.”
I threw my hands into the air. “What difference does that make?”
Cecelia didn’t respond. Instead, she turned back to the computer.
“How do I buy a plot of land on the moon?”
Surprisingly, a website with the caption “Buy your own piece of the moon” popped up on the screen. We look at each other, and clicked.
1 Moon Arc, HK$172.78
“Really?” I cried out in disbelief.
Cecelia scrolled down the web page. “It says that deeds, which show where the land purchased is located, will be given to the buyer. The buyer will also get a transcript of the Declaration of Ownership filed by the United Nations General Assembly.”
“This is insane. How can a plot of land on the moon be so cheap? Do you know how expensive land in Hong Kong is?”
“Because even if you buy it, you can’t get there or build anything there … .”
“Then why would someone even buy it?”
“Aren’t we buying it right now?”
“Okay. But how do we know that this is not some hoax?”
“Who cares? It doesn’t matter if you actually buy that piece of land or not, you can’t go there or use that land anyway.”
“Then why are we even buying it?”
“Because Selina wants it!”
“I can’t believe we’re going to spend HK$170 to buy something we can’t even use.”
Cecelia chuckled. “At least it’s cool. We can now tell people we have bought our friend the moon. Literally.”
How on Earth?
“Fine. Who’s next? What does Maia want?”
I tried searching “How to give someone the Earth” on Google. None of the results were helpful.
I sighed. “Now what?”
Cecelia had no answer.
It was almost funny how the answer came to us when we least expected it.
I got a ring from Cecelia three days later, and the first thing she screamed to me was: “I’ve found a way to get the present Maia wants!”
“Really?” I was sceptical, because how do you give someone the Earth?
Cecelia began talking really fast. “I was researching something my dog has been doing recently that’s been worrying me – eating dirt. It turned out to be quite a normal phenomenon called geophagia.”
Okay, okay. But how did all that relate to giving Maia the Earth?
Cecelia continued. “And do you know how Wikipedia defines the word geophagia? It defines it as the practice of eating earth!”
“Oh my goodness!” I finally realised what Cecelia was trying to tell me. “The word “earth” does not only mean planet Earth, but can also mean ...”
“Soil!” We exclaimed together.
“So all we need to do is give Maia a jar of soil,” Cecelia concluded.
“I don’t think Maia will like that,” I said.
“But it is what she asked for, it’s just that she won’t receive it the way she expects. Besides, I don’t think she’s expecting anything anyway.”
Kisses from Andrew
I thought about that. “Fine. Now we only have one more to go.”
“Yep, to make Andrew give Janice a kiss,” Cecelia replied brightly.
Somehow, that was harder than giving someone the Earth and the moon.
“NO,” said Andrew for the 20th time.
“Please,” I begged. “You only have to give her one kiss.”
“Absolutely not. Now please leave me alone,” said Andrew, irritated.
He started walking away from us. That was understandable. Cecelia and I had been pestering him for about 10 minutes like a swarm of annoying flies.
Cecelia blocked his escape. “I will give you $50 if you do.”
“It doesn’t matter how much you give me, the answer is, and will always be, no.”
Cecelia was adamant. “How about ...”
Andrew groaned. “How many times do I have to tell you? I will never kiss Janice.”
Cecelia persisted. “But ...”
Andrew threw up his arms in exasperation. “Please stop. I have a girlfriend.” With that, he shoved past Cecelia and stormed away.
“That went well,” I said, as Cecelia walked back towards me.
She glared at me. “Yeah, and you were so helpful, right?”
“He was never going to say yes,” I said quietly.
Cecelia slumped down. “You’re right.”
The defeat weighed down on me, too. We had got two out of the three requested gifts. We were so close.
Yet as I stared at the earth beneath my feet, then at the moon watching over us in broad daylight, I realised that I didn’t care. “You know, I don’t mind not winning.”
Cecelia was silent for a while. Then slowly, a small smile touched her lips. “Yeah, who would have thought we could give someone the moon?”
There was a smile on my face as well. “And we promised the Earth to another, and will give her that, too.”
“And if we can do that, we can survive Ella’s cakes.”
I laughed. “Because how can that be harder than giving someone the moon?”
Cecelia echoed my laugh. “How about we buy some snacks before facing that nightmare?”
Somehow, the idea of Ella’s cakes did not seem so horrible anymore, but having something sweet to eat first would be nice. “Sure!”
We went to the nearest supermarket and began browsing around. We were thinking of which sweets to buy when we both saw it.
The solution to the problem.
We looked at each other, and grinned.
We knew how to give Janice the present she had asked for.
At long last, the day when we had to give our Christmas presents to Selina, Maia and Janice had arrived.
“Well,” Cecelia began after we all finished eating the cakes Coral helped Ella bake. “Shall I give all of you what you asked for?”
Five pairs of eyebrows shot up. I hid a grin.
Cecelia pulled out the Lunar Land packages. “Selina, we have bought you a plot of land on the moon, as you requested.” She opened the package, took out the Lunar Site Map, and pointed. “Look, that’s where your property is located.”
Selina was speechless as she looked through the package, her eyes as wide as the moon.
“And for Maia.” Cecelia placed the jar of soil on the table. “Earth!” she said gleefully.
For a moment, Maia just stared at the bottle, confused. We watched as her expression turned from puzzlement to disbelief as she realised what we meant. She shook her head. “That ... that was very clever of you.”
“Last, but not least …” Cecelia’s eyes were glinting as she gave Andrew, who was observing nearby, the signal to come to our table.
Janice had a hand over her mouth as she watched Andrew approach her.
He stopped next to where Janice sat and smiled at her.
Janice blushed and stood up. Coyly, she looked at Andrew through her eyelashes.
Andrew leaned down, and Janice tilted her head in anticipation of a kiss …
... When Andrew pulled back and handed her a packet of chocolate.
A packet of Hershey’s Kisses, that is.
There was a huge grin on Cecelia’s face as she announced. “Kisses, from Andrew to Janice!”
No longer able to control ourselves, Cecelia, Andrew and I broke into hysterical laughter.
Janice looked as if she wanted to murder us.
But we did give her, Selina and Maia what they asked for. Nobody could deny that.
“There is something we have to deal with …” Ella was looking at the disgusting cake she had baked with the intention of making Cecelia and I ill.
In the end, we finished that cake together. And we all vomited.
From that day on, nobody ever made fun of Ella’s horrible baking skills again. I guess none of us want to accomplish an impossible mission again.
Or, should I say, a near impossible mission?