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If a Souffle Falls at the Fair, Can Anyone Sense It?

As the second half of summer approached, Aunt Irene was scanning the stores for fresh cherries, peaches, apricots and even rutabaga. It’s that wonderful time when her kitchen smells like a candle store just before Christmas. Irene was one hell of a cook, and a very talented pastry chef.

The medallions on the wall from every nearby country fair proved her value. She had more blue ribbons than a presidential commission. She had swept away every baking prize ever created by county and state fairs. She had been awarded ribbons for all of her pies, her cakes, and probably could have won with a pie made from shaving cream – her reputation was that great.

Naturally, she was a bit upset last summer when her chocolate soufflé failed the judge’s exam, and came out of the oven entirely flat. She was even more disappointed two weeks later, when she went to the bigger urban county fair and failed yet again.

When it came time for the State Fair in September, Irene became suspicious. Instead of waiting with her friends as the judges gathered for a taste and quality test, she went to the back of the exposition hall.

It was then that she noticed the Parker boys standing behind the hall. Each of the Parker boys – who lived just down the street from Irene – weighed at least 300 pounds, a testimony to Irene’s pastry competence. It usually didn’t take more than five minutes from the time Irene took a pie out of the oven until the Parker boys showed up at the front door with outstretched hands and an offer to mow the lawn in exchange for Irene’s cherry pie. Irene didn’t mind. “They’re growing boys,” she said, stating the obvious.

But one day, Irene left on a shopping trip for more fruit, putting her freshly baked pie on the kitchen counter, not far from the window. The automatic sensing device native in the Parker Boys picked up the aroma, and disappointment hit the air when they discovered that Irene was not at home.

Knowing Irene’s good nature, the boys helped themselves by cracking the kitchen window pane and reaching through the window for a piece of pie. They had not even wiped the cherry remains off their faces when Irene showed up in the driveway.

The boys gave a sheepish look, showing their embarrassment. They hoped Irene would be forgiving.

She was not.

“Get out of my sight boys,” she said. “I don’t ever want to see you again!”

Disappointed, the boys had sworn to get “even” with the Queen of pastry for her act of rejection.

Now, she had caught them red-handed. The boys had apparently set off Irene’s new X10 motion detector. She had made a bargain with the X10 bandit, in hopes of catching a bandit herself.

Now she had caught two bandits that had denied her two championships. The Parker boys had registered motion at about 5.2 on the Richter scale. It didn’t take that much for the X10 system to sense activity and for her to sense that it was time to put the Parker boys on a no-pastry diet. “See if you ever see one of my soufflés again in your life,” she told the boys as she reset the motion detector.


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