November 8, 2020 by Patrick Starks
The Muffin Man to most was known as a baker. To kids he was something like humpty dumpty, but obviously not an egg but a muffin with arms and legs as well blueberries or chocolate chips for his eyes. But that was not at all what the Muffin man was. The Muffin man was, in fact, a baker, just not the kind you would like baking for you.
The Muffin a Man was tall and hairy. And had pants that hung halfway down past his butt, which most today call the plumbers crack. But that’s another story. The muffin man dint have the best hygiene in the world, yet surprisingly his shop remained tidier than ballroom. From what the health inspectors say, his shop is the cleanest in the town of Salem.
It was October 31st, Halloween, and while everyone was last minute shopping for costumes and candy, I was investigating the kidnapping of three children. It had at least been going on for the entire month, but surely it would be this month I would solve the case and bring those children back home. And well, let’s just say that the Muffin Man’s shop was the last stop.
For the most part, the day had gone by faster than expected and every store in the town had closed early for the day seeing how they’d been fully depleted of their stock. Although, it would be the Muffin Man’s store that remained opened, with bright golden lights glowing from it like a beacon straight from the heavens. It was beautiful. It felt more like Christmas, but I knew that whatever was in that shop, there would be nothing jolly or fa la la la la about it.
. My curiosity was always known to get the best of me. It was the one reason no one on the force would partner with me but that was alright because I liked it that way. Alone, with no casualties of loss. Some might call that not living but you’ve got no idea the fucking life I’ve lived before all of this. I’d seen worse.
As curious as I was, I took no time to walk into the Muffin shop. And it would be as quite as a church mouse. No one was there. Not even anyone to greet me when I walked in. But there had to be someone there because by how the muffins in the room had smelt they surely weren’t day old. Without a doubt, they were fresh out of the oven.
I then took it upon myself to go to the back. I mean, come on, I was a detective, that was what we did. And sure, I didn’t have a warrant but we all know how that goes. But don’t worry, I promise I am one of the good ones.
Going past six giant flaps hanging on the ceiling, in the back were obviously more muffins but everything smelt much more different than what it had in the front of the store. It smelt, irony. Like blood, which gave me the chills because to be honest I was the kind of guy that didn’t even like seeing my own blood. And if you’re wondering how the hell am I a detective then. Well, in the words of my professor years ago, “One must fake it, until they make it.” And it was that I did. But moving on.
The further I walked in, the more I began regretting that I didn’t bring my gun. Didn’t think I needed it really. Then again, from what I was seeing I doubt it would have done me much good being in close quarters in all. I mean the kitchen felt like 350 sq. ft micro studio. But that would be the last of my problems. I couldn’t help but wonder why someone who made muffins would need so many knives. Clearly it wasn’t the meat market but sure as hell felt like it.
I’d taken a step past the refrigerator and slipped. No one told me when you got in your 30’s you’d really start feeling the pain. I definitely could have used an Aspirin or two in the moment, maybe even a medic, but that wasn’t the worst part to it all. While I lied on the floor like an old man, to my right would be a puddle of blood that looked so dark it looked like ink. And trust me I knew it was blood because well, that smell is one of its own for sure.
I was eager to get up and run so I could by god get some fresh air but then that was when he came— the Muffin Man. The flaps to the kitchen swung open, aggressively. He knew someone had been in the shop. That I had been in the shop.
Strangely enough the Muffin man started tapping his long fingernail against the kitchen table. I knew exactly what he was doing. We detectives knew only the best predators, the best trackers knew how to track down what they were looking for. And most of the time if not always, they found it. Thankfully, I’d be saved by the ringing of bells, no point intended.
“Hello, is anyone there?” shouted a woman.
It was then the Muffin Man stopped searching for me. All I heard next was the flaps to the kitchen swing back open.
“Hi sir, I’d like to buy a dozen of your Chocolate Chip muffins,” smiled the woman. “I figured to get the kids these instead of a bunch of processed candy. These are organic right?”
The Muffin Man said nothing. I peeked through the flaps and saw just his body alone for he was so wide and so tall that he covered any sight of the woman. But by the smell of her strong perfume, I figured she must have been a knock out. And before you say anting, again, I am a detective, these are just one of the many talents we have. But nevermind me, the Muffin Man would then speak.
“On the house,” said the Muffin Man. “We are closing now.”
“Oh wow! Thank you so much! I’ll definitely be recommending my friends to your shop!” shouted the woman with excitement.
As the woman left the Muffin Man locked the door and flipped his sign from open to closed. It was then he spoke to me directly.
“Come out, come out wherever you are. I know you’re here,” he whispered.
I stayed quiet, at least for the meantime.
“You know my friend, you’ve chose the wrong day to be nosy.” Chuckled the Muffin Man. “But for me this is perfect. I get to add a new ingredient to my muffins. I think I’m going to call this next muffin the Muffin Cop. You know, something like muffin top, but you’re a cop. So, yeah… that name will do.”
“How do you know that I’m a cop?” I asked, nervously.
“Oh I can smell it on you. You all smell the same. Like day old breakfast, day old coffee, and two days missed of a shower,” said the Muffin Man.
“You want to tell me about hygiene…” I said, pissed. “You’re the smelliest bastard I know. My freaking nose is burning over here..”
“Well, I never said that I didn’t now did I,” said the Muffin Man, as he gradually was closing in the gap between us.
“Stop! You’re too late! I’ve already called in for back up! They should be here any minute now! I don’t know what sick shit you’ve got going on in this shop but it ends today Muffin Man,” I shouted.
“Really… because the way I see it. You ain’t got no way out and they’ve got no way in,” said the muffin man, this time bursting out with flusters of laughter.
The flaps then swung back open.
“Ahh there you are detective. I thought you would be much taller you know. But you’re just a young cop. Still wet behind the ears..”
The Muffin Man then grabbed one of the knives hanging above the kitchen table.
“Tell me Detective, do you like knives? I’ve grown quite fond of them. Their the perfect tool for everything. You can cut things into halves, into fours or even more, if that’s what you prefer. I gotten say for myself I definitely like a little more. But the thing that fascinates me the most detective about these knives is what you can do with them outside the kitchen.”
I stood startled by it all.
“You’re mad…” I said.
“Indeed, I am, but for good reason,” grinned the Muffin Man.
“So, you’ve been the one abducting all the children, haven’t you? No, scratch that. You look sick enough of a bastard to do so.
The Muffin man laughed.
“Bastard, that I am. But far as the children go, they’re not dead,” said the Muffin Man.
“Wait… What are you saying then?” I asked, curiously.
Their very much alive. But I can promise you that I am not the sick bastard that keeps them away. I might be a little deranged but I still have morals, you know, ” chuckled the Muffin Man.
“Where are they Muffin Man! Tell me now! Or…”
“Or what! Yeah… Just like I thought. You ain’t gonna do nothing detective but sit there nice and pretty until I figure out what to do with you. Besides, if I told you who I’d probably have to kill myself.”
“Well then at least tell me why you are doing this?” I asked.
But the Muffin man said nothing else after that. Just stood in front of me scratching whatever thinking cap he was trying to put on. But it was obvious that no hat could fit his big head.
I’d pretended like I was reaching for my gun, but I’d already made it clear that I didn’t have one. But a bluff was better than getting butchered by somebody called the Muffin man. I could only imagine the headline: “Young Detective butchered by the Muffin Man.” A death like that would surely be embarrassing and I wasn’t planning on being the first person to be the headline for it.
Thankfully sirens were beginning to be more clearer the closer they got.
“You’re screwed!” I chortled. “Backups on the way you sick fuck!”
It was then the Muffin Man changed his entire attitude. Sweat dripped profusely down the sides of his neck and to the center of his apron. It was as if someone had given him a shot of adrenaline. Within seconds the Muffin Man charged at me with a knife half the size of my arm.
“Wait!” I shouted.
The Muffin Man stopped, but he was breathing so hard to the point I thought he would have a heart attack right then and there, which for my sake or anyone else’s would’ve been a blessing.
“You like knives, right?” I asked.
“Yeah, I’ve told you that already.,” said the Muffin Man, annoyed.
“Well, what do you think of this one?”
From my right pocket I pulled out a knife my dad had given me when he served in the war.
The Muffin Man was intrigued by it.
“That’s no normal knife,” he said. “Is it?”
“No, its an old knife from the War. Only the men who served have them. They gave every soldier one of these. My dad said it saved his ass more times than what he could count. So, before he past away he gave it to me for good luck .”
The Muffin Man then had an excited look on his face. Like a child seeing a toy for the first time.
“My condolences but give it to me now. I want it,” said the Muffin Man.
“If I do, will you let me go?” I asked.
“Sure…. Yes, whatever, just give it to me now or ill gut you first and then take it after!”
There were then knocks on the door.
“The gig is up Muffin Man!” shouted a woman. “Come out now and maybe I’ll see about letting you have a muffin or two in jail.”
The Muffin man turned around trembling. For whatever reason it was, it was now him that was looking for a place to hide.
“I can’t believe out of all people, you called her! You fool! She’ll kill us both!” shouted the Muffin Man.
“What are you talking about? Its just a cop coming to serve your ass some straight up Justice for once.,” I replied.
“No! You idiot! That’s no cop, that’s the fucking gingerbread man! She’s the one with the fucking kids!”
“But how can she be the gingerbread man? She’s a woman.” I said. “And who the hell is the gingerbread man?”
“Yes.. I know it sounds complicated but trust me when I say that that woman is the gingerbread man. And it is in fact her, that is the sick bastard you are looking for!”
The Muffin Man dropped his knife and ran past me to the back of the kitchen, where there might’ve been an exit. Out of all the people to be chasing him and the so-called person would be the gingerbread man, which happened to be a woman. It all just didn’t make any sense. But either way, if the Muffin man was telling the truth I had to bring them both down.
But before I could chase after The Muffin Man I would be stopped.
To be continued…