Author Chelsea Brünger, a student of B.A. Creative Industries Management at the School of Popular Arts presents her text Of Blood and Cupcakes.
I’m a happy person, even if my parents decided to call me Sadie (pronounced “Saydee”, yet too often mispronounced as “Saddy”, which is frankly just disturbing) and as a rule I refuse to take life seriously. When I tell you that I am terrified of ever losing my fake teeth, thus exposing “The Gap”, I seriously mean it though. For once, I do. And I’m not trying to bum you out either. I’m also not trying to prove that I can in fact be a serious person. No señor.
This is the story of the time I smiled and disturbed the hell out of Jim and Kyle. Also known as the day I had to face said worst fear.
—“That’s a weird fear. But who are Jim and Kyle?”— you ask. Yes, it is and glad you asked. Jim and Kyle are two assholes I encounter on the daily on my work to the office.
—“But aren’t you a painter?”— you wonder out loud. And why yes, I am. However, I suffer from this strange condition commonly called nobody wants-to-buy-my-fucking-paintings. A tragic condition.
—“Is that a re-”— you try to inquire. It sure is, I interrupt you. It sure is.
—“Are you about to tell a ridiculously long and unnecessary backstory instead of just telling us about the time you faced your fear?”— you sigh. Why yes, I am.
Now, as I cannot eat paintbrushes unless I wanna spend my evenings shitting out sticks and bloody bristles, I have to design the furniture for the homes of soccer moms who came to sadly discover that the dream man they married isn’t as much a sexy Bob the Builder type, but more of a Bob the flaccid Loser. Bob the flaccid Loser’s lack of building abilities though, won’t keep Karen from having coffee in the perfect Pinterest kitchen, because Bob the Loser and Karen the soccer Mom both make money. And money is to be spent. Preferably on reasonably priced furniture designed by Swedish sadists who either don’t know or don’t care about the meaning of the phrase “easy to assemble”.
—“Are you implying that you, the individualist, the free spirited artist, works for an international corporation named Ikea?”— Yep. The individualist, the free spirit, the artist … designs impossible to assemble Ikea furniture, in an office. But Alas! Tragedies happen every day and a girl’s gotta eat. (You’ve gotta picture me giving you finger guns, otherwise this doesn’t work.) Overall, I realize you can’t hear me telling you this, but I want you to read this in a fun sarcastic tone. Not the “hate-my-life-please-kill-me-sarcasm”. More like the “I-see-the irony-and-yes-you-can-laugh-about-it-cause-I’m-not-mad-it-is-what-it-is-sarcasm”. The good kind, the happy kind. You know what I mean. And if you don’t, my condolences because your life must be dull as hell.
Anyway. Now that we have cleared this up. Let’s get back to business. This particular morning, I woke up on a park bench, wearing a stranger’s shoes. Most people black out when they drink. The more you drink, the more you’ll black out. However, it is not often that I drink, because when I drink, I drink. And as a bonus, I remember. With bizarre clarity. It is frankly quite freaky. So, a regular person’s reaction would have been “what the hell happened last night”, my reaction was “why did I trade my very expensive, very nice front teeth for a pair of size 11 men’s shoes? Oh yes, because I wanted to demonstrate my excellent bargaining skills to Tom.”
—“And are they in fact excellent?”— you might inquire. And let me tell you my friend, they are not. They are in fact shit. Two 15-thousand-dollar teeth I very much needed for a pair of New Balance sneakers that couldn’t be worth more than 40 bucks. Not excellent.
Now a regular person might have then gotten up and gone home. Taken a shower, changed clothes and then gone to work. The average regular person though doesn’t work for Swedish Satan, as I do. The average regular person also doesn’t have an irrational fear of “The Gap” being discovered. And as I sadly realized, my only replacement teeth were in my office locker.
So yeah, getting to that locker might not have been most people’s choice at this moment, to me though, it was the only choice. Unless I wanted to spend the rest of my days with my mouth shut. And you and I both know, that’s not gonna happen. I got on the bus and spent the entire ride fixing my hair. I also couldn’t for the life of me stop sticking my tongue in The Gap between my front teeth. The more I did this, the more anxious I got. I was painfully aware of the fact that I couldn’t speak. Not without revealing the goddamn black hole in my mouth. My palms were soaked by the time I got off the bus and walked into work.
—“Hey Sadie!”— Pamela called. Pamela is really nice. For any fans of “The Office” just picture Pam.
Literally. Just do it. Boom! There you go. That’s what my Pamela is like. Just darker (skin-wise, not humor wise). I wish I could tell you that I awkwardly waved at her or that I just kept walking and ignored sweet Pamela. We all know that is too good to be true though. In reality, I took one look at her, slipped my tongue between my teeth, turned 180 degrees on the spot and fully intended to leave the building in gracious, yet panic fueled sprint.
—“But the shoes”— you might point out. And you are exactly right.
My entire brain was taken up by the thought of someone discovering the Grand Canyon hidden behind my lips. I only got in two steps of my intended escape-sprint before I collided with Georgina: This month’s intern. And yeah, people intern at Ikea. Don’t ask me why. Poor Georgina was carrying a giant tray of red velvet cupcakes. Delicious, beautiful cupcakes now stuck to my blouse. All my brain could comprehend though, was “Oh no, one more person who will know I have fake teeth”. I pushed Georgina aside, ran smack into the glass doors, took a not at all gracious step (tumble?) backwards and ran out. My nose had erupted in bloody waterfalls by then and I was pretty sure that everyone in the lobby was staring at me. I didn’t blame them; I would have stared at me too. However, in that moment, the fear of anyone seeing The Gap, made everything else irrelevant. EVERYTHING. It took over all my senses. It gave my bloody, cupcake covered toothless, barefoot body the strength to get up sprint down the street, run over two toddlers, bump into four elderly ladies and parkour-style jump over a fire hydrant and straight into a bush. And that’s where I stayed.
—“ ”— You stare at me in stunned silence and yeah, I know. It’s a strange turn of events brought about by a series of bizarre choices on my part. But what can I say, it is what it is.
It was only after spending 35 minutes crouching in said bush that fear released my brain and common sense came back to me. For like a second. Mostly until my tongue touched The Gap again. The fear came creeping back in. I crawled out of the bush and sneaked down the street. The plan was to sneak, ninja-style, though back alleys all the way to my apartment. I made it about four steps before coming across Jim and Kyle.
Now I’ve mentioned Jim and Kyle earlier. Jim and Kyle work construction over on 44th. Two blocks from my office. Jim and Kyle weren’t actually called Jim and Kyle. We, meaning the girls at my office, had dubbed them Jim the Gimp and Kyle the Pedophile. As one would have it, I rushed past them in a panic aaaaaand I couldn’t make it past them without a: —“Ai Mamasita”— and —“Give us a smile sexy lady”— Now at this point I had rushed past them. They had barely seen my front. See, fear gripped my brain, but sleezy harassment from two scumbags yanked it free. Who knew? So, with the full intention of telling them what’s what once and for all I whipped around and gave them my widest craziest don’t-fuck-with-me-because-I-will-murder-you-in-your-sleep-and-steal-your-duvet-as-a-souvenir smile. I had however completely forgotten that I was one, toothless and two, covered in blood, twigs and frosting. Not to mention barefoot. I have very ugly feet. The point is, not a single word had to leave my mouth. Jim was so started that he stumbled backwards, knocking into Kyle, who was white as a sheet. They both fell over into the bed of fresh cement they were laying on the sidewalk.
I wish I had enjoyed said moment more. It must have been majestic. A one-legged idiot and a child loving moron helplessly waddling around in toxic concrete. But sadly, as soon as my brain comprehended why they reacted the way they did (it really didn’t take long to figure out), fear took hold of it again and I sprinted home. That’s eight whole blocks. Barefoot. In New York City. Those are big blocks and dirty streets. The moral of the story is still lost on me. Nevertheless, if something is to be taken away, it’s that facing your worst, most irrational fear does in fact make for quite a fun story. And that’s all that matters.
And for the first time you don’t ask a question, you just agree. I’m glad you do, otherwise we couldn’t be friends.Oh, and the two asshole shaped imprints on the cement somewhere between 44th and 3rd, that’s just the icing on the cake. A true national landmark, if you ask me.
Author: Chelsea Brünger a student of B.A. Creative Industries Management at the School of Popular Arts