The first story I wrote for the Appalling Stories anthology was titled Bake Me a Cake. A writer friend of mine gave me the idea: what would happen if a mom and pop bakery was asked to make The Aristocrats of cakes? The story was loosely based on the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, where a gay couple asked a Christian baker to make them a gay wedding cake. The baker refused to make them a wedding cake, as the tenets of his faith don’t allow for gay marriage, but he did say he’d bake them any other kind of cake. Then the gay customers sued him. The case went all the way to the Supreme Court:
In a 7-2 decision, the Court ruled on narrow grounds that the Commission did not employ religious neutrality, violating Masterpiece owner Jack Phillips’ rights to free exercise, and reversed the Commission’s decision. The Court did not rule on the broader intersection of anti-discrimination laws, free exercise of religion, and freedom of speech, due to the complications of the Commission’s lack of religious neutrality.
Now Masterpiece Cakeshop is being sued again:
On the same day the [Supreme Court] agreed to review the Masterpiece case, an attorney named Autumn Scardina called Phillips’ shop and asked him to create a cake celebrating a sex transition. The caller asked that the cake include a blue exterior and a pink interior, a reflection of Scardina’s transgender identity. Phillips declined to create the cake, given his religious conviction that sex is immutable, while offering to sell the caller other pre-made baked goods.
It gets better, though:
In the months that followed, the bakery received requests for cakes featuring marijuana use, sexually explicit messages, and Satanic symbols. One solicitation submitted by email asked the cake shop to create a three-tiered white cake depicting Satan licking a functional 9 inch dildo. Phillips believes Scardina made all these requests.
This is a clear case of harassment, of religious bigotry, and spiteful, disgusting abuse of the legal system to destroy someone’s business. I talk about the culture war quite a lot in this space, and this new case is just another attack by the social justice left to eliminate all resistance to their bizarre attempts at social engineering. There’s no compromise with them. There’s no working things out. They’ll never stop attacking normal people until every last person on this planet enthusiastically embraces every little thing they do. Live and let live isn’t an option any longer.
Below the fold I’ve included an extended excerpt of my story Bake Me a Cake. Tell me it wasn’t prescient.
Marty pressed a tiny fondant eyeball into the face of the third fleeing pig, squinted at its placement, and straightened to his full, unimpressive height.
The sound of his vertebrae crackling and popping back into place inspired Agnes, working nearby, to ask, “Somebody making popcorn in here?”
“Ha ha,” he replied. The magnifying lenses in his glasses gave him an owlish sort of appearance, so he swooped over to her and gave her a peck on the cheek. “Hey, that’s coming along nicely. I like the snaggly tooth on Mr. Big Bad, there.”
Agnes frowned at the piece. “Not too scary for the kids?”
“No. A little danger makes it exciting. They’ll love it.” Marty pushed his glasses up onto his forehead. “So we got the Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf pretty much done. Now we just have to make a house of sticks and we’re squared away.”
“Well, half a house of sticks. Mr. Big Bad’s huffing and puffing here.”
The chime on the front door rang.
“You get it,” Marty and Agnes said in unison.
“Rock-paper-scissors?” he asked, even as she started to move her right fist up and down. At shoot he chose rock.
“Ha!” Agnes crowed. “Paper covers rock.”
“You always win.” Shaking his head in mock outrage, Marty left the workroom.
Two men stood at the display case, giggling and whispering to each other. The tall, thin one, wearing a three-day growth of beard and a checkered scarf around his neck, carried a Starbucks cup in one hand and a spiral notebook in the other. His companion was considerably shorter and rounder, sporting a pair of Nantucket reds and a T-shirt that showed an illustration of a young Harrison Ford looking at the sky with an ecstatic smile on his face. Beneath Ford’s upraised chin were the words, Han Shot First.
Putting on his bland sales smile, Marty moved behind the case and said, “Hi. Welcome to Cake Boat Cake Shop.”
The taller man peered at him, lifted the coffee cup, and took a noisy sip. “Why’s this place called Cake Boat? Is it because of all of the seamen?” His voice was high, affected.
His companion laughed and tried to conceal it by coughing into his fist.
“Ha ha,” Marty said. “Ah…it’s a holdover from my time in the Navy. I’d made a birthday cake for a fellow squid, and the skipper came into the mess deck and said, ‘Get that thing outta here, Slumjinsky! This’s a navy ship, not a cake boat!’ So when I left the service—”
“Yeah. Okay. I get it,” the taller man said, with a brief head-shake. “Anyhoo, my name’s Charlee with two e’s, and this is my fiancé Ethan with one e, and we’d like a cake. A special cake for our special day.”
“Well,” said Marty, looking from Charlee to Ethan, “we’re happy to make cakes for all kinds of, ah, special occasions. What did you have in mind?”
Charlee handed his coffee to Ethan, riffled through the notebook, and folded back the cover. “Ethan drew some sketches of what we had in mind. He’s such a good artist! So we saw your stuff in the case and the little catalog you have there, and we just know you can make our special day even more special.” Turning the notebook upside down, he proffered it.
At first glance, Marty could not credit what his eyes were showing him. It was only when he bent closer to the page that the full effect of the drawing took hold.
“Ah…um…” Marty heard himself say, as if from a thousand miles away.
“Isn’t it just fabulous?” Charlee squealed.
“I know, right?” Charlee enthused.
“He loves it,” Charlee said, and planted a loud kiss on Ethan’s mouth. “Didn’t I tell you, sweetheart?”
“We’d like it in chocolate because we both love chocolate,” Charlee told him.
The drawing depicted a massive, erect cock, ejaculating a river of semen into a pond in which naked male figures cavorted in various poses of physical intimacy. In detail it was exquisite, down to the veins on the shaft, the wrinkles on the nutsack, and the shit one man was taking on another’s chest. Marty could find no safe place to look anywhere on the page. The human centipede of crouching asshole eaters led the eye to a circle jerk that had simultaneously reached climax, while in the foreground a man in a priest’s cassock pressed a boy’s face into his crotch. A trio of men nearby teabagged a fourth, whose bulging mouth managed to accept all three elongated scrota at once. And there on all fours a smiling Charlee, complete with scarf, held onto the huge cock by its retracted foreskin while a fictionally muscular Ethan knelt behind him with a fist buried into his anus to the elbow.
Tearing his eyes away from the illustration and flipping the notebook over, Marty said, “What is…what kind of…”
Charlee laughed. “It’s a wedding cake, silly! We’re getting married!” He threw his arm around Ethan’s shoulders and kissed him again for quite some time.
“To…” Marty said, “to each other.” He shook his head to clear the drawing from his mind’s eye, but it stubbornly remained.
“Well, of course!”
Head still wagging, Marty said, “I can’t…”
Charlee grinned. “Of course you can. Everyone says that you’re just a magician with fondant. Price is no object.”
“No,” said Marty. “I mean, I can’t do this cake for you. I won’t. Sir, we have all kinds of other cakes I’d be happy to do, but—”
“What? What did you just say to me?” Charlee snatched up the notebook, glaring.
Lifting a forefinger, Marty said in as reasonable a tone as he could muster, “I said I can’t make this cake. I can make another cake—”
As Ethan stared daggers, Charlee hissed, “It’s because we’re gay, isn’t it. You hate gay people.”
“I don’t hate anyone, sir. It’s just that—”
“Did you call me a faggot?” Charlee asked. “Is that what I just heard?”
Marty blinked at him. “I…”
“He just called me a faggot!” Charlee shouted at the ceiling. “In this day and age!”
Ethan, who had been silent until now, threw the coffee cup against the wall, splattering soy white chocolate mocha everywhere. “Love wins! It’s time to join the twenty-first century!”
“Love trumps hate!” Charlee added.
The back room door burst open with a crash. Agnes, standing at the threshold, hollered, “Get out! Both of you! Get out before I call the police!”
“Haters!” Charlee shrieked, and ran out with Ethan in tow.
Marty looked from Agnes to the front door to the coffee dripping down the wall in hot, milky smears. “I’ll…I’ll get the mop.”
A loud, insistent buzzing from somewhere started to cut into his enjoyment of Alisyn Burnett OverHere, so Marty leaned forward in his easy chair to turn up the volume on the remote. “What is that, anyway—”
“I think it’s your phone, dear,” Agnes said, without looking up from her copy of Better Homes & Gardens.
“Oh. Okay, thanks.” He muted the TV, heaved himself out of the chair, and hurried to pick up his cell, which was buried under a drift of mail on the kitchen counter.
“Dad? It’s me, Alan.”
“Al! How’re you doing? You okay? We’re giving you your space just like you asked—”
“Don’t worry about that,” Alan said. “Have you looked at Yelp lately?”
“Yelp? What’s Yelp?” Marty covered half the phone and called out to Agnes, “Aggie, what’s Yelp? Alan wants us to check it out.”
“How’s he doing?” Agnes asked. “Is he okay? We’re giving him his space just like he asked. Haven’t called in three days.”
“I don’t know. Hold on,” Marty said, and uncovered the phone to talk to Alan. “Yeah, we don’t know what Yelp is. Is it a weather thing?”
“No,” Alan said, sighing. “It’s not a weather thing. I know it’s probably a mistake to ask, but can you get on your computer?”
“Sure, sure. Gimme a minute.” He moved to the desk in Agnes’s sewing room, pried up the laptop cover, and waited for the screen to flicker on. “Everything okay over there? How’s that girl you were seeing? What was her name…Destiney? Britney?”
Alan sighed into the phone again. “She’s fine. You remember your password, right?”
“Yup.” Marty tapped the index card scotch-taped to the desk. “Got it written down right here.”
Though he couldn’t see it, Marty was sure that Alan was rolling his eyes when he said, “Real secure, Dad.”
Squinting, Marty hunted and pecked the password into the field. “Okay. It’s starting up. Didn’t use to be this slow, you know. I think all that security stuff you put on here’s slowing it down.”
“Dad,” Alan said, “if you and Mom wouldn’t click on like every link every one of your friends emails you, you wouldn’t need four anti-virus programs.”
“Who else’s gonna help those Nigerian princes get their money?”
“Ha ha,” Alan said. “At least, I hope you’re joking.”
“All right. We’re up and running,” Marty said.
“Good. I emailed you a link to Cake Boat’s Yelp page, so open your mail program and click on it.”
“I thought you said we shouldn’t click links in emails—”
“Okay, okay.” Marty clicked, read, and frowned. “Is this some kind of a joke, Alan? Because it’s not funny—”
“No, it’s not a joke. It’s a page where people review places, like restaurants and drugstores and stuff.”
Marty hunched up his shoulders. “I don’t know any of these people! How could they…I mean…”
“I just noticed it myself,” Alan said.
“Ah…um…” Marty scrolled and scrolled and scrolled.
“Not for nothing, but what’re you running over there?” Alan asked. “A satellite office of the Westboro Baptist Church or something?”
“There’s like a hundred one-star reviews since noon!” Alan said. “In fact, there’s nothing but one-star reviews.”
“And you really don’t want to see the Facebook page, trust me.”
I would give this place NO Stars if I could!! Its full of homophobic Christian bigots!!!!
worst service ever. Would not recommend
LOVE WINS HATE LOSES TUCK FRUMP
Never ever go to Cake Boat. They push their hate-filled religion on you the second you come through the door. The old guy called my friend “a dyke who eats at the Y” for wanting a wedding cake for her gay paraplegic partner of color with PTSD, and kicked us out. There are better cake shops around, like Lily’s Sweets & Stuff on 14th and Pine. 303-720-5968.
the owner called me a faggot and told me he shits in the chocolate ganache
Worst service ever. It smells like pee and mothballs inside, and I saw a rat in the back. Also, they’re homophobic bigots.
FUCK U AND UR H8 JESUS SUCKS RHINO BALLS
“Did you really call a guy a…a faggot?” Alan said.
“No!” Marty shouted into the phone. “Of course not! Do you really think I’d do that?”
“Well, no, I guess not, but what the heck’s going on? What happened today?”
Marty gave the Lazy Susan one last quarter turn, pulled the icing smoother away from the side of the cake, and cocked his head. Overall, he’d done a good job. The surface was as smooth as plaster and even all the way around. Just had to press the gold dragees into the top, and—
“Marty?” Agnes called from the front.
He glanced at the clock. Just ten minutes before opening. “Yes, dear?”
“You’d better come see this,” she said.
On any other day this would be a troubling suggestion. But after yesterday, with the horrible online comments from people who had probably never even been near the shop, it filled him with fear.
“Coming.” Wiping his now-moist palms on his apron, he pushed through the doors to the front room and moved to stand next to Agnes, who was biting her knuckle and staring out the front window. “Huh. Isn’t that…”
“Yes, that’s definitely the Channel 9 Eyewitness News truck parked in the handicapped space in front of our shop,” Agnes said.
“Yes, that’s definitely that investigative reporter girl Chelsea Gonzalez,” Agnes said.
“Yes, she’s definitely telling those angry people with the signs where to stand,” Agnes said.
“Yes, they’re definitely fixing to protest something in front of our shop,” Agnes said.
“Yes,” Agnes said, and held his hand.
The protest signs that stood out the most were the Love Wins rainbow affairs, printed in bright colors and held high. They put the hand-drawn Take Your Christian Hate Elsewhere and Jesus Had Two Dads signs to shame. Preprinted EQUAL LOVE and STOP THE H8 banners were well-represented, as were numerous densely-written signs that no one standing further than a foot away could read, let alone understand. And there, way in the back, were a few Queers for Palestine and This Pussy Grabs Back signs, complete with bearers wearing pink keffiyehs and pussy hats, respectively.
“You know I didn’t say any of those things,” Marty said. “Right? I never called anyone a—”
“Cut it out,” Agnes said, and squeezed his hand, hard. “We’ve been married almost forty years. I know you better than you know yourself.”
“You’ve been saying that for almost forty years, too.”
“Mmm. Time to open.”
(You can read the rest of the story in Appalling Stories: 13 Tales of Social Injustice.)