“I knew you wouldn’t believe me! Look!” JR popped the lid off of a small Tupperware box and gingerly lifted out a seemingly standard cupcake, aside from the interesting little ribbon and scuffed-up frosting. Just as gently, JR shook the cupcake until it snorted awake.
Simon, Travis and Jordan all seemed to blink simultaneously in surprise. The cupcake had just snorted.
The cupcake groaned. “What gives, JR? I was napping up a storm!”
The room was silent. Apolo noticed he had company. Crap.
“Oh, hey guys. I’m kind of a cupcake now. I don’t totally know why, but I am. So…well…um.”
Still silent, apart from Simon uttering a low “Uuuuhhh…”. Travis was so stunned he hadn’t really moved since Apolo spoke. Jordan, on the other hand, was pawing through his pockets for his camera. “FILMING THIS!”, he shouted excitedly. “TOTALLY FILMING THIS!”
JR pulled Apolo back protectively. “God, Jordan! He’s already embarrassed as it is! He needs help, not screentime.”
Simon shrugged. “I figured this would be like, Apolo’s ultimate dream.”
Apolo snorted. “There’s a difference between eating a cupcake and being one, Simon. Being a cupcake gets pretty boring after like, a few seconds.” Simon nodded, honestly unable to argue.
JR’s shoulders slumped as he heard this. “I don’t know what to do, guys. I Googled everything relating to cupcakes you can imagine, and nothing helps. I don’t want him going stale, but he refuses to go in the refrigerator.”
“It’s dark in there, man!” Apolo countered. “And a Pepsi nearly fell on me.”
JR continued. “This is so much harder than I thought it would be. He needs to be changed back, and soon.”
Jordan rubbed his forehead in disbelief. This was all too much to take in at once. “Look, JR, maybe we can help out. Y’know, take turns watching him or something?”
JR’s face brightened. “Please? You guys have no idea how awesome that would be.”
Before Jordan knew what was happening, Simon and Travis had tapped their fingers to their noses, the universal sign of “Not It”. Well, fine. If they were going to act like that…
Great. Jordan thought. I’m babysitting a cupcake.
Jordan had placed Apolo on his kitchen countertop while he made himself breakfast. JR was right, Apolo really didn’t like being in the refrigerator. There was nothing creepier than Apolo’s tiny whine emanating from the ‘fridge. So, fine. If Apolo wanted to risk going stale, it was his choice.
Oly sat by Jordan’s leg, watching Apolo with an utmost level of interest and batting his tail against the floor.
“Your dog is freaking me out, Malone. He’s been watching me like that for about ten minutes.”
Jordan stirred in a handful of dried strawberries into his oatmeal. “Apolo, Oly is perfectly fine. He’s just looking at you because you’re something new.”
“He’s looking at me because I’m something edible.”
Jordan laughed. “Mellow out, man. Oly is harmless.” He headed to his laptop in the living room to check his email.
Jordan could hear Apolo from where he sat. “Get away, Oly. I mean it. Get away.” Jordan smirked. Apolo was so paranoid!
Then he heard the small thump, followed by some pretty impressive screams for such a small object.
It was almost too late by the time Jordan ran back into the kitchen. Oly had managed to knock Apolo to the floor, now pawing him around in a circle like a toy. Apolo’s frosting had been rolled clear off, now a mess on the linoleum. Oly had his mouth opened and ready to cow down when Jordan snatched him into his arms and clamped him close to his chest.
“Apolo, I’m so sorry! Oly’s usually way better than this, I swear!”
“JESUS CHRIST, I’M COVERED IN DOG DROOL.” Apparently, Apolo was in no mood for apologies and explanations.
Clutching Oly to his side with one arm (not an easy feat, considering the little bugger was still kicking and lurching), Jordan did the best to clean off Apolo’s top with a moist paper towel…but not too moist. He didn’t want JR’s boyfriend to dissolve.
Apolo was now settled on top of the dishwasher, finally calmed down.
“I’m bald, aren’t I?”
Jordan carefully considered his answer. “Well, in a cupcake context, I guess you are.” Apolo whimpered despondently.
Well, this was enlightening to see. All his life, Jordan thought sprinkles were made in factories.
Ever since the Oly incident, and a few close calls with his roommates (“Why is this cupcake so special I can't eat it?” Jun asked. “It doesn’t even have frosting. Looks like a muffin.”), Jordan decided to keep Apolo as close as possible at all times. This was reminding him of that project in high school where they had to take care of an egg for a week. He suddenly wished he hadn’t reminded himself of that, seeing as he had dropped his egg down a stairwell on the second day.
Jordan was getting bored with Mario Kart, and he couldn’t help but think Apolo was getting bored as well, perched on the arm of the sofa. Time to do something amusing.
Jordan dug his camera out of his pocket, turned it on focused on his subject. He pushed record. “Aiiiight, everyone! Dig Apolo, the magical talking cupcake! Say wassup, Apolo!”
“Oh, come on Apolo. I want to hear some inspiration from a cupcake. Anything, bro!”
“DO SOMETHING, MAN!” Jordan even dared to poke Apolo’s wrapper to get him going. Of course it didn’t work. Apolo was a resolute little fucker, even as a cupcake.
Jordan gave up, switching his camera off. “Fine, I’m done. You can stop being a little vanilla-flavored punk now.”
Apolo heaved an exasperated sigh.
“I. Am. Buttercream.”
“What is this, music from the Weather Channel?” Apolo huffed from his corner of Jordan’s computer desk.
Jordan rolled his eyes. “It’s Jack Johnson. I like Jack Johnson. If you don’t like it, then you can l...” Jordan stopped himself, remembering Apolo couldn’t leave, at least not on his own.
“Well, he’s boring me to sprinkles…tears, I mean. Oh God, I’m going native.” Wishing for Apolo to shut up, Jordan searched for a different song on his I-tunes library. Red Hot Chili Peppers had some hip-hop to them, maybe that’d be okay.
“How about something I can really dance to? Do you have any Li’l Wayne?” Jordan died a little on the inside when he heard this.
“You can’t even dance.” Jordan grumbled through gritted teeth.
Apolo persisted. “I can shuffle a little. Come on! Please!”
Jordan downloaded a few Li’l Wayne songs, much to his chagrin. He watched as Apolo wiggled along to “Lollipop”. He had to admit, there was something endearing about it. He smiled and played the next song.
“Yo, Apolo! It’s JR. You want me to put him on speakerphone?”
If it was possible for cupcakes to look perky, Apolo sure did. He shuffled about eagerly on the kitchen table. “Yeah, of course!”
Jordan set his phone next to Apolo, marveling not so much at the surreal scene set before him, but at the fact that it no longer really struck him as surreal.
“Apolo? You there?” JR sounded kind of anxious.
“I’m here, man. How’s things? Any word from that priestess lady yet?” JR had called the day before with news that he had found a voodoo priestess online who had claimed to restore people transformed into chickens, frogs and goats into their original human form. Weird? Totally, but it had promise. And at this point, JR and Apolo were willing to try anything.
“Yeah, about her. I called her. When I told her what’s up and…”
“And?” Apolo bounced just a little.
“And she laughed so hard that she dropped the phone. I’ve called back, but I think she’s ignoring me now. I’m sorry, Apolo. I tried.”
Apolo responded quietly. “I understand. It’s fine.” It wasn’t fine at all though. Jordan could tell from the –plink- of one stray sprinkle on the table.
JR tried talking about other things, but Apolo just wasn’t up to it. After JR said his goodbye and hung up, Apolo didn’t say a thing for a long time.
“I think I’m stuck.”
Jordan cupped Apolo into his hands. He didn’t know what to say, so he just let the sprinkles spill between his fingers.
At that moment, something clicked in Jordan’s mind. It was late in the day, but it needed to be done.
He had to get to a grocery store.
Apolo was jostled awake by Jordan at what felt like a ridiculous hour in the morning. There had better be a good reason for this.
“Alright, Apolo. I know you’re down about being a cupcake and all, but I figured we should make the most of it. Check it out!”
Laid out on the counter was a jar of fresh chocolate frosting, a butter knife and a jar full of maraschino cherries. Apolo wiggled with glee. He was getting a makeover!
Apolo practically buzzed with excitement as Jordan spread the frosting on his top. “I could get used to this, Malone. Maybe being a pastry isn’t so bad. JR and I could open up a bakery together, and I could be the mascot or something. I’d be popular with kids, don’t you think? A talking cupcake. Yeah, not so bad.”
Jordan smiled. Obnoxious as it could get, it was actually nice to hear Apolo being Prince Perky-Pants again. He held Apolo up to see his reflection in a window so he could gauge Jordan’s hard work.
A surprised gasp. “I look brand new, Malone! If I didn’t know all the places I had been, I’d say I even looked edible! Thank you!”
Jordan beamed. It wasn’t really as bad as he thought it would be, having Apolo-The-Cupcake around. In fact, he realized that he had enjoyed most of it. The spontaneous Weezy-fueled dance parties Apolo asked for had gotten fun after a while. He couldn’t believe he was thinking it, but he was going to miss the little guy.
Apolo turned down adding a cherry, finding it a bit too flamboyant. Instead, he opted to continue checking himself out in the window. He was a new, fully rejuvenated cupcake, and he was enjoying every second. It was too cute for words, and it triggered something in Jordan. Before he could stop himself, his lips had tapped Apolo’s top in a kiss, filling his senses with the sweet smell of fresh chocolate.
Apolo was scandalized, of course. Jordan knew he was with JR, and yet here he was taking advantage of him! Molesting a baked good? That was just plain sick! Apolo retaliated with a swift punch to Jordan’s gut.
Wait. A punch? That meant he had-
Apolo looked down! Hands! Feet! Everything else in between! He was human again! He was naked in Malone’s kitchen, but he was a naked HUMAN!
Jordan was still reeling from the punch he had delivered. Whoops. After gaining some air back, Jordan’s expression was an odd mix of joy and disappointment. “THAT was all it took? How frickin’ cliché!”
Apolo laughed. “Cliché or not, you totally deserved that. Now get me some pants. Wait, wait. Christ, how are we going to explain this to JR?”
Jordan thought as quickly as he could. “Maybe I’ll tell him we found out the South Koreans put some ancient curse on you and I twisted Jun’s arm to get the anti-spell.”
“He won’t believe that.”
“You were a cupcake for a week. He’ll believe anything.”
Apolo laughed. “Yeah, true. Now seriously, pants. Get on that.”