5 Cupcakes in South Bend, Indiana

Image of Long Story Short Award - 2022
Image of Short Fiction
There was trouble in the air. My naïveté did not sense it. The distrust. The greed. Nobody could sense its forthcoming. It was September of 2013, and my family and I were heading to a celebration. Of what, I do not remember, but I would not have gone had I known what atrocities awaited me.
We made our way across Notre Dame's campus. We went into a building I have never been in before, a building I will never go into again. Spotting my cousin across the room, I walked towards her. I had a smile on my face that would soon be wiped away. Being the age we were, we had no shame going immediately to the dessert table. On the table was a plateful of mini red velvet cupcakes. Without thinking, I popped one in my mouth, savoring the flavor. My cousin was quite judgemental about the matter.
"Kate, you can't just pop them in your mouth. You have to scout out your choices."
The comment was not given enough time to annoy me because a short time after, a tall, college student came up to me.
"I bet you ten dollars you could not fit five of those in your mouth at a time."
I felt grossly underestimated, and accepted the bet partially because of pride, partially because of greed, and partially because my cousin said I should not. I started placing the cupcakes in my mouth systematically. Once victorious, my concern was my rightfully deserved ten dollars.I figured the guy would leave, not wanting to give me my money, but he waited there until I was able to speak. Arrogantly, I broke the silence.
"Where's my ten dollars?"
A melancholic expression passed across his face. He started stammering, "I...I don't have ten dollars on me. I didn't think you'd be able to do it."
I did not understand. He made a bet. What kind of person would make a bet and not have the money to carry through? The anger swelled in my face. I walked away with no words. What could I say in that situation? Only poor things would come of it. All I knew was that I was cheated out of money, out of bragging rights, out of proving my cousin wrong.
Never again did I make a bet without seeing the money first. I could have taken a lesson of containing my greed, maybe even of controlling my pride, but they are not what cost me ten dollars. If anything, they are what gave my hope for a richer future.