Samantha fought a losing war against her god damn, cheap ass, piece of shit stove that burnt everything she put on or in it no matter how vigilant she was with it. Its temperature markings were wildly inaccurate, its range jumped from super high directly to medium-low with zero gradation between, its heat would be different at the same marking depending if she was raising or lowering it, its pilot light went out on a whim, and no matter how methodical she was with the nightmare it misbehaved. These cookies weren’t just going to make themselves and this motherfucking stove was standing in her way. Must it be so difficult to satisfy her craving for fucking chocolate chip cookies? She worked hard. Did she not deserve a chocolate chip cookie or fourteen once in a while? Why must this stove stand in her way? And it was new. Her mind boggled at how bad the stoves in the apartments of the people who had lived in the building for 30 years must be. Her landlord refused to do repairs on apartments people were only paying 150 dollars a month for, and she could understand that, but she paid market value and she thought it fucking sucked to be stuck with a bum stove. Fuckers. Can’t just buy a stove that isn’t a piece of trash.
Tonight, desperately needing cookies, the dough made, the first sheet dotted with mostly round balls of potential cookie, she wanted to kick the stove when it refused to heat. The pilot was on, but it decided that, tonight, it was already too warm and did not really feel like getting hot.
She opened a beer and contemplated just eating the whole bowl of dough. She decided against it, though, not because of the raw egg, whatever, but because she would probably eat the whole thing and it would make her feel sick, completely defeating the purpose of cookies in the first place. She considered putting the bowl in the fridge and trying again the next day, but she felt the urge too hard. The need was too strong. If she could not have cookies tonight, she would probably die. Her life depended on eating at least 4 cookies with the milk she had picked up on the way home from work for expressly that purpose. She hated when plans got derailed.
Then she thought of that weirdo across the hall, what was his name, Jacob or something? He would probably let her use his oven in exchange for a few cookies. Giving away some of the cookies would be smart too since Yu Lee was God knows where tonight and if she had the whole batch, she would start tomorrow with no cookies. Better to remove the temptation to gorge on delicious, buttery chocolate chip cookies up front where it can’t hurt her as much.
Samantha knocked on the door across the hall, but got no answer. Determined, she knocked again, more vigorously, after a moment.
She heard heavy footsteps and grumbling approach from within the apartment and then the little spy window open. Through it she saw a bloodshot eyeball that suddenly went wide. The window shut again and she heard a chain being fiddled with and the deadbolt being thrown. The door opened a sliver and Jacob poked his head into it.
“Yeah?” he said.
“Uh, hi, I’m Samantha, from across the hall?”
“Yeah yeah, I remember you,” he said and opened the door all the way. He was wearing paint spattered pants and a wife beater t-shirt that needed to be thrown out. “What can old Jacob do for you, young lady?”
She hated being called young lady. “My stove isn’t working and…”
“You want me to take a look at it for you?”
“No, it’s done this before. It usually fixes itself after a while. I’m over here to ask if I can use yours for a little while.”
“Oh sure, sure. No problem. Mine works just fine, I guess. I ain’t used it in who knows, but it worked fine once right?” He laughed at what she could not tell was a joke. “What’re you making?”
“Cookies. I’ll be glad to give you some. For helping me out.”
“Cookies. Wow. We got a regular Mrs. Fields over there. What kind of cookies?”
“You got any milk?”
“Well well, I’ll leave my door open then, and you can just come in and out as you want, ok? I’m not doing a whole lot in there, just watchin’ a movie on the TV,” he said while adjusting his pants. He needed a belt.
“Ah, yeah, ok. I’ll be right back,” Samantha said and went back into her apartment. She closed the door behind her and tried to shake off the skeeved out feeling she had. God, his teeth were bad. Then she looked at the cookie sheet waiting to be put into a 375 degree oven for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown at the edges. She grit her teeth and sheet in hand, crossed the hall.