I’m happy to welcome back Wild Rose Press author Kimberly Baer. Today, Kimberly shares ten embarrassing moments and her new release, Snowdrop Dream, Cherry Thumbprint Screams.
I’ve lived long enough that I’ve had plenty of opportunities to embarrass myself. Here are ten such instances—though I can assure you, there are lots more where these came from. (Maybe if I get these off my chest, they’ll cease to turn my face red when I think back on them.)
1. All those times I responded to somebody who was waving at/smiling at/talking to me, only to realize they were actually waving at/smiling at/talking to somebody else.
2. During a beach trip with friends, I was frolicking in the ocean when a particularly forceful wave hit me. When I emerged, my friends started shrieking with laughter. That wave had undone my bikini top, and it was wrapped around my neck! Several nearby strangers got an unexpected show.
3. I used to work at an insurance claims office. Ken, one of our agents, would often speak in goofy voices when he called. One day I answered the phone, and a strange, slurred voice said, “Zis ze surance company?” Figuring Ken was up to his usual shenanigans, I said, “You are so weird!” There was a stunned silence, during which I realized the caller wasn’t Ken after all. It was a customer! I was so mortified, I put the guy on hold and made one of my coworkers take the call.
4. During a luncheon at my workplace, I was trying to cut my chicken breast with the flimsy plastic utensils we’d been given. The knife slipped and the chicken went flying—straight onto the plate of the lady sitting next to me. Silence prevailed for a long moment as everyone at our table stared at the errant chicken breast. Sheepishly, I stabbed it with my plastic fork and took it back, mumbling apologies.
5. When a friend and I were eighteen, we left our respective churches and started going to a new church together. Week after week, for unknown reasons, we would start giggling—silently, but with enough force to shake the whole pew—during the quietest part of the service. Despite the dirty looks we got, we just couldn’t stop.
6. When I was about fifteen, I thought the word vagina was pronounced “va-jeena.” (I mean, it has the name “Gina” in it, right?) I even got my friends saying it that way. I was pretty embarrassed when somebody finally set me straight.
7. I fell onstage while performing in a high school play. I was supposed to walk offstage, trailed by another character. But because of a mix-up, we weren’t standing in our assigned spots, and in an unprecedented ad lib, she grabbed me by the wrist and yanked me forward. My feet got tangled in my long gown, and down I went. Can you imagine being sixteen and taking a graceless tumble in front of an audience of hundreds? I would rather have fallen through the stage than on it.
8. Then there was the time I… Wait, no; that one is just too embarrassing to write about! Sorry!
9. As I was leaving a big-box store with two gallons of custom-mixed paint, one of the containers slipped out of my hand. When it hit the floor, the lid flew off, and a whole gallon of pink paint spilled across the floor, splattering the legs of nearby shoppers. If you were in the store that day and heard, “Cleanup at the main entrance!”—that was me.
10. At age fourteen, I had a major crush on seventeen-year-old Mike. One night my best friend and I went to his house and told his mom a crazy, made-up story: a strange man had tried to lure us into his car. She called Mike to come drive us home—which (bwa-ha-ha!) had been my plan all along. Years later, I ran into Mike, and we started dating. I confessed that I’d had a crush on him in high school and had made up the attempted-kidnapping story because I wanted to see him. Turned out he already knew and always had. I was mortified—not for my current self, who, after all, had gotten the guy of her dreams in the end, but for fourteen-year-old me, who, OMG, would have died, just died, if she’d known Mike knew she was into him. (Side note: The teenage crush depicted via flashbacks in Snowdrop Dreams, Cherry Thumbprint Screams is based heavily on my real-life crush on Mike. I’ve even included the fake kidnapping incident.)
When Annie Barkley discovers a boy living in the attic of her cookie shop, she’s stunned—and oddly elated. She can almost believe the universe is giving her back the infant son she lost eleven years ago.
Annie senses that something bad happened to the boy, but he won’t talk. All she knows is that he’s terrified of being found. When her long-ago crush, police captain Sam Stern, stops by to inquire about a missing boy, Annie says she hasn’t seen him.
Big mistake. Because that lie might cost her more than a romance with Sam. It also leaves her vulnerable to a ruthless pursuer, one who’s determined to silence the boy for good.
The days passed in a blur of bliss and apprehension. Annie rushed home from work each day, half afraid the boy wouldn’t be there. But he always was. One afternoon he surprised her by making a lettuce and tomato salad to go with dinner. Another day he ran the vacuum. In the evenings the two of them watched sitcoms or played video games.
Before she knew it, a whole week had gone by. Then another. She still hadn’t contacted the authorities. She’d expected the boy to be talking by now, but he was clinging to silence, resolute as a monk.
Cookie Heaven was closed on Thanksgiving. Annie declined several dinner invitations, including Jessica’s. She made an elaborate turkey dinner, knowing there’d be far too many leftovers. In the end, there wasn’t as much as she’d expected, because Jonah ate like a pig.
She was cheered to see him eating so heartily. Relieved that he was starting to fill out. Proud that she was giving him the things he needed—nourishment, love, a warm bed in a safe, comfortable home.
At the same time, she was aware of all the things she wasn’t providing. Like education. Jonah should have been in school. He needed friends to hang out with. He should have been playing sports, getting exercise. He was living a stunted life—but there was no way around that right now.
She took the day after Thanksgiving off. After lunch, while the aging dishwasher rumbled and gushed and clattered, she and Jonah adjourned to the living room to play a video game. When Jonah made a mistake that cost him a life, he let out a wail of anguish.
“Ah,” said Annie. “So you do have vocal cords.”
Jonah shot her a look that said he got sarcasm and didn’t appreciate it.
A sound from outside startled them—the crunch of tires on gravel. “Who on Earth could that be?” said Annie.
Jonah’s game controller clattered to the coffee table. He slunk across the living room, as if sneaking up on somebody. As he approached the picture window, he halted. And then a rich, young voice rippled across the living room.
“It’s the police, Annie! The police are here. Help me, please!”
Outside, a car door slammed. Jonah whirled toward her, his face as stricken as it had been the night she’d caught him in the cookie shop. “Don’t tell them about me—please! Cause if you do, they’ll put me in jail!”
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