by Ruth Draves
For the Daily Flash Fiction contest.
|Flour danced in the air.
"Most places use an industrial mixer for this step," my uncle wheezed as he punched the sweet-smelling dough. "Never liked 'em. Makes the dough tough. Besides, kneading keeps ya young."
His chuckle dissolved into another fit of coughing. I turned to get his oxygen machine. His glare stopped me.
"But the doctor said..." I argued.
"That doctor don't know what's what," Uncle Jonny rasped. "I'm 85 years old. Nobody's lived enough to tell me what to do."
In silence, my uncle resumed his kneading.
"Dough is a living thing," he mused. "You got to treat it right. We make small batches of everything, and we do it by hand. Sure, we got a sheeter, and mixers. But stuff like this --" he patted the dough with a powdery hand -- "you beat it with a machine, it dies."
A coughing fit racked his body.
"Let me try," I offered. To my surprise, he nodded.
"Your cousins, they don't care about this place," he wiped his face with a handkerchief. "Doughnuts ain't fancy. They wanted the fast life. Stupid me, I gave it to 'em. Both went to college on my dime. Never really worked a day in their lives." He turned his rheumy eyes to me. "Why aren't you out with the big fancy job, girl? You did good in college. Better than either of them."
I smoothed the dough. "I'd rather punch dough than a corporate clock," I shrugged.
Uncle Jonny snorted. "Say that to your mom, she'll be yelling at me over that phone of hers."
With a grunt, he stood and limped to the table. He patted the dough.
"You're better at this than I feared,” he smiled. “Maybe you might be able to take over this place after all."
Word Count: 296