SHORTS FROM THE SHELF features short serialized fiction by author Shannon Muir, administrator of SHANNON MUIR’S THE PULP AND MYSTERY SHELF, that may be later released as part of e-book or print collections. The story line featured currently is “Blacke and Nu Beginnings,”  that will appear on Saturdays and Sundays over the next several weekends, and then a special daily run from March 21st to March 27th, 2020. This is Part One.

“Blacke and Nu. How can we help you?”


Saundra Nu took to abbreviating her last name since no one could remember it. Paired with her friend Caitlin Blacke’s last name, it resulted in a catchy business name easy to remember. 


“Was wondering if I could place an order for four dozen gluten free chocolate cupcakes.”


Saundra came to realize baking to be her calling after floundering a few years, including a marriage that ended with her first husband’s death and the birth of twins. However, her unplanned children saved her when her son turned out to have celiac issues and needed to cut gluten from his diet. Learning to bake for him solved the mystery of her calling. The other thing Saundra exhibited since youth was a heart for those who struggled, and this allowed her to bring both her passions in life together and contributing to her second marriage with a philanthropist husband, Delmont Nutino.


“We can do that,” Saundtra said eagerly. “When were you looking to pick them up by?”


“At closing,” the man on the other end of the phone said.


Saundra  took a quick look at the clock, and became nervous.


“That’s only an hour and a half away,” stressed Saundra.


“You did promise to do them today,” the male voice sternly pointed out.


“Well, yes, if I start right now. But first I must get a name and contact number,” Saundra insisted.


“Just have them ready at closing,” the calller  phone demanded, and then hung up.


Saundra sighed. Making the cupcakes now would be challenging. She walked over to Caitlin, who currently covered the coffee bar half of the enterprise.


“Cait, sorry to stretch you thin, especially since you are covering for your no show sister again,” Saundra said, referring to Caitlin’s half sister Vallie whom she’d given a job to when down on her luck but not returning the favor. “I have a rush bakery order. Can you sell what’s left on the display case? And take their name and number for custom sales?”


Cait sighed.


“Yeah, I guess I can. You know I prefer working the back office though. That’s why I busted my ass to study business entrepreneurship. Give me a minute to suit up.”


As Cait went into the back, Saundra needed to stifle a laugh. That phrase just had an odd sound every time Cait spoke it; she struggled to glorify putting on the hair not and apron required for food safety. 


Once Cait returned, Saundra headed off to make the urgent cupcakes, wondering what trouble Vallie got into this time.


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