Exposé: The Doughnut Trade

I am working from home today. Not the book marketing this time which is riddled with crime and conspiracy, but my proper job which, well, isn’t. You know, the one that simply earns an honest wage. But then again, my book does pay for little extras like cake. And good coffee. Take my local shop. There is a happy symbiosis between me and my local store. The shopkeeper displays a tidy skyscraper of pristine signed copies of Below The Strandline balanced high on an attractive wooden stand in her beautiful shop window. As the pile shrinks, no medical pun intended, I gratefully collect the proceeds from the book sales. There is a transient moment of pure joy and feeling of self worth as I collect my earnings.
Not a bad business model. But of course I have no will power when it comes to cravings for caffeine and the best freshest doughnuts that money can buy this side of the pond. My takings usually go straight back to the shop, but that’s fair enough. They have been a lifeline and a mini social hub for so many people in lockdown – the last one, this one and probably the next one around the corner. It’s the sort of proper local shop where locals tether their dogs, the occasional pony, toddlers or elderly relatives outside while popping in for a pint of milk or a bottle of gin.
The shop door bell dings again as I leave the shop with my mask still in place concealing a smug grin and carrying a flat white in each hand. A box of doughnuts is balanced perilously under an armpit while I set off in a socially distanced way, weaving around the leashed grandparents, stepping over a little shih tzu and narrowly avoiding a cockapoo. They are seriously good doughnuts, still warm and generously packed with oozing homemade jam that hits the right notes in those taste sensors in … hmm, quick Google …. the primary gustatory cortex. Sweet but sharp, tingling those taste buds with a burst of raspberry jam. They sometimes sell mixed custard and jam ones as well but hey, I’m a purist. Soon the shop will want to put their lavish festive displays in the window. Until then I’ll let my books earn tomorrow’s coffee time treats. I hear you can buy Below The Strandline anywhere now, not just in my local shop. But it’s just not the same when you don’t get paid in doughnuts. Back to work.

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