Nabberjack and Whiffling. Chapter 2.


     Nabberjack and Whiffling.


                                         Chapter 2.  fight stories
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The next instalment. A bit shorter, but not lacking in substance, I promise.

Nabberjack and Whiffling. Chapter 2.

But such piety to the pies was not loved by all. Ever since Otter Wetbottom had taken over his parent’s bakery, every other baker in Whiffling and Nabberjack had suffered. They tried every trick there was to claw back profits – lowering costs, raising costs, putting raisins in things, more flour, less flour, rainbow bread and artisan coffee – but it was never enough. Even grandmothers struggled to win

affection from their grandchildren through their sponges after Otter invented the lemon drizzle. Some bakers had to close their shops and seek new ventures, others simply moved away (the grandmothers largely stayed put, although a pack of them headed off to the Lake District in spite). A few of the older baking families held out, waiting patiently to restore

their former glory. They were; Tim Snippet of Northpole Lane, Mrs Chubbly of Oozels Street, and the twin brothers Robbert and Knobbert Laces of Water and Underwater Streets, respectively. However, glory never seemed to come. One-and-a-half Whip-Ma-Whop-Ma Street Bakery continued flourishing in an endless tide of sausage rolls

and steak bakes. And so, the other bakers hatched a devilish plan. They would tarnish the name of Otter Wetbottom forever. It was assumed that the famous young baker would win the competition. Rumours had begun to circle that he had perfected his entry many years prior, waiting for the right moment to release it to the

streets of Whiffling and Nabberjack. In truth, no one knows when exactly he had developed his recipe, but what is known is what happened next. As per the conditions of the competition, the bakers had to bring their entries to the Tasting Tent on the main bridge of the River Plonk at dawn. Each would be tasted at elevensies by the council

members and a selection of each of the cities' public. The judgement would be announced at four, over tea, and the triumphant baker would be presented with their prize by the twin Bakers' Guilds. It was just after dawn that the bakers struck. Each presented their baked goods to the Tent as the sun spread its light over the fields and the glittering Plonk. Otter,

unsuspecting, left immediately to serve his first customers back at his shop. The other bakers, after placing their attempts on the Grand Table, proceeded to inspect their competition. Some seemed rather good, some was burnt, two or three were completely flat, and one was French. Otter's was about two inches tall to three inches wide, and a perfect cylinder. The top was a soft brown colour while the

inside, which he had delicately cut into lengthwise, was a creamy and light. Beside the tiny cake-like creation was a pot of clotted cream and strawberry jam. It was, all in all, the obvious favourite. Quickly, Tim and Mrs Chubbly set about tipping tiny drops of this and that onto the still steaming entry. The brothers stood in front of them, hiding them from the not particularly

keen eyed guards. As soon as it was done, they all hurried out and down to the nearest pub for an early morning cider, and waited for the adjudication to begin. The judges filed in slowly. Each received a holy blessing from the bishops of Nabberjack and Whiffley. Before the tasting, the mayors of the cities made a joint speech with the usual vaguely amusing anecdotes

and congratulated each competitor for their entry, especially little Crumpet Jones aged five and three-sevenths, who would later go on to become the villain of another tale for selling his customers bread that was more air pockets than anything else. Then, the tasting began. The band of judges trundled down the length of the table, looking, and sniffing, prodding, and

tasting, before finally muttering together in a secretive circle. Looking on, the bakers stood like nervous sheep, drying the sweat off their foreheads with whole grain flour, and darting their eyes worriedly between the judges and the floor. Most agonised of all was Otter, who despite all his successes, never considered himself faultless, and always maintained that the

proof was in the pudding, and nowhere else. The judges seemed to like Knobbert's flaky flan, less so his brothers sponge tart. Tim's was given a few good nods, and Mrs. Chubbly's even received the promising sign of a double-taste, and her ruddy face positively glowed with pride. But all of this was paled in comparison to what Otter had produced. Modern yet

traditional, sweet but not overpowering, and the jam and cream, how they gilded the pastry perfectly! Otter Wetbottom had done it - he had made the miracle. And then, all at once, the judges gripped their stomachs and fell to their knees.

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