Ian Baker

This is a short story by Mark Miller from the collection The Great Muffin Stories.

“$9.95 is your total and here’s $10.05 for your change,” the cashier said. One thousand five may sound like a very random number, but not for Ian Baker. In fact, 1005 just happens to be his house number, the last four digits of his credit card number, and much more. Ian took his plastic bag filled with a medium-sized box, a box labeled: “Bake It Yourself or Don’t Bake It At All Muffins, But If You Don’t Bake Them Then They Will Be Gooey and Gross.” Ian stared into the wrinkled plastic bag and through the smooth plastic window on the muffin box. He stared at the balls of perfectly round dough, he looked at them very peculiarly and then looked ahead of him and continued through the crowded New York streets.

Inside the muffin box was a very unpleasant place. It was very hot and crowded. All of the balls of muffin dough dared not to speak or move around for Ian might see them. All of the soon-to-be-muffins thought the exact same thought, “will this guy turn out to be an idiot?” For if Ian was an idiot, he might leave the box outside in the rain forgetting about them or he might put them in the oven at 1500°F for 2 minutes thinking they would cook faster. All the muffin dough balls looked at the plastic window ceiling of the box, looking at a bar code with the numbers 1005. All were very anxious, very uncomfortable, and very excited.

Ian walked up to 1005 North Street Apartment and unlocked the door. He walked into his house and set down the box. Ian never realized why he bought over-priced muffin dough when he could just make some, but the muffins didn’t complain. Ian dropped a couple of pennies into his “I did something stupid so I’ll just pay myself” jar. Things he did wrong included crossing the street during the “not a very good time to cross signal,” buying overpriced muffin dough, making a jar to pay himself when he does something stupid, and only putting in two pennies, so he put in two more after realizing this. Ian brought the box into the kitchen and opened it. The balls of dough were very excited to finally become muffins. Ian got out a muffin pan and placed each ball into the muffin paper cups. He placed the muffins into the oven when the phone rang.

“Hello? Yea? Uh-huh... WHAT?!!! Dude, I’ll be right there.” Ian ran out of his house forgetting about the uncooked dough.

Ian came back that night and remembered that he forgot to bake the dough.

“Oh my god! I need these by eight!” It was already 7:58 PM so he put them in the oven at 1500°F and the timer at 2 minutes.

“That should do it,” he said and then ran into the bathroom.

All the muffins realized something wasn’t right, it was getting hot too fast. They knew what was going on: Ian was an idiot. They all collaborated and formulated a plan. Their plan required brains, courage, and a powerful leap.

Ian walked out of the bathroom to find the oven door open. He was very perplexed about this and walked up to the oven. He looked inside of it to find 16 burnt dough balls stuck to the oven door. It was very weird to Ian, and he coped with this by sitting on the couch to watch television. It was too late for the muffins.