Chapter 15: Smile, You’re on Camera

None of the seven underworlds pay for a Cooking Channel subscription. Demons on the ruling council select a sim to provide them with a password in exchange for admittance into the First Underworld. The Grim Reaper, obviously, does not approve of this practice. – The Book of the Dead, Revised Edition 

The next thing Alice knew, she was being bustled up on stage. Rory had somehow pulled off a costume change, Vlad and William stood off to the side, and…was it her imagination, or had the room just gotten three times as full?

“It’s not your imagination folks! The room did just get more lively now that the bake-off is about to begin! Is it the sims from the Spice Festival that our producers gave free t-shirts to? Who knows?” Rory shouted loudly, his arms spread wide.

Alice grimaced as the crowd began to cheer loudly. She hated this. Five minutes ago with Vlad, Alice had begun to relax. She was flirting! And Vlad was flirting back! And not because they were trapped in a jail cell together!

Alice turned. Rory, if it were possible, had grown even more animated. “So, Jimena, are you nervous about going up against such a strong baker for this challenge, which is technically not part of the contest but will totally be reviewed by our judge later?”

She put her finger to her mouth, tilted her head and pretended to think. Then she gave Rory, and the camera, a huge smile. “You know what Rory, can I call you Rory? I’ll admit that I am a little nervous. But it’s only because I’m standing so close to you!”

Rory returned her sickly sweet smile. “Oh my! It’s my job to host, not to make the contestants faint!”

She fanned herself briefly and then gave another high-pitched laugh. “Rory! You charmer! Well, I’m so excited to compete and really show my stuff. I know when most people look at me, they just see a pretty face,” she paused and gave the camera a solemn but pouty look, “But I’m more than that. And I plan to prove it!”

“That’s the attitude!” Rory shouted in agreement.

Alice watched their whole exchange with a burgeoning sense of unease. This was a nightmare. She was caught inside an actual, living, nightmare.

“And how about you Alice? Ready to show this beautiful but totally laid-back supermodel/actress that baking is serious stuff better left for the professionals?”

“I’m…umm…” Alice stammered. The lights were blindingly bright. When did they get so bright? “I’m not really a professional baker. I’m a clerk at the Route 309 Convenience Store so…”

Rory didn’t miss a beat. “I’m sorry, Alice, repeat that for the folks in the back. You’re a convenience store clerk and not a professional chef? Why would you start a rumor like that?”

Alice’s cheeks burned with embarrassment. “I didn’t—”

“Folks, we want you to bring your a-game, not your ‘fake’ game. Alice, I hope you learned a valuable lesson. We’ll be keeping an eye on you!”

Rory then launched into an explanation of the contest rules. He motioned to Vlad to step forward when he mentioned the judging portion, but Vlad gave him a withering glare that seemed to indicate his desire to tear Rory limb from limb.

Alice appreciated his loyalty. Rory was being a real dick and she couldn’t say anything as a contestant, but she was glad that Vlad had her back. She caught his eye and gave him a grateful smile. He scowled in response.

O-kay.

Just when Alice thought she might be able to make an excuse to leap off-stage and disappear, a horn sounded and Rory did a well-choreographed step-ball-change.

“Bakers! Start your ovens!”

    10 comments
  • Dolly Llama
    December 9, 2019

    Tag yourself; I’m Valeria’s lab tech. She locked me in. Please help.

    I don’t know if I can put my finger on why right now, but Jimena antagonizing the God of Death doesn’t seem like it will end well for her. For some reason. Maybe it’ll become clear later? And unless Carol Channing or Barbra Streisand (or Bette Midler/Bernadette Peters in the 2017 revival) is about to sing a glamorous title song with the waiters, nothing good is going to happen in a restaurant named Dolly’s. (but grsajdjdashsjafdfa !!!)

    • feroshgirl
      December 10, 2019

      One day I might have to write a short story just about Valeria. LOL she is 100% based on a actual life experience.

      Team Bette Midler 🙂

      • Dolly Llama
        December 11, 2019

        Too real. To quote myself from last week: “I know exactly what to say to her. I’ve run out of the room crying during SO many presentations.”

  • feroshgirl
    December 11, 2019

    She may have be the scariest thing in this story hahaha. LOL one day someone from my job is going to read this and be like: oh, I see what’s happening here.

  • lonecat82
    May 2, 2020

    Vlad, you jerk! I sympathize with Alice, but I’m glad she’s not going to mope about it. I love the cliffhanger. This story is so addictive!

    • feroshgirl
      May 3, 2020

      Many thanks! I did not want Alice to be a doormat, even if she is an awkward weirdo.

  • theplumbob
    July 7, 2020

    Vlad, so disappointing! *shakes head*

    Aww, I felt for Ben in this chapter, I do wonder what his whole story is. Was he like Alice once upon a time?Anyway, their bonding moment was nice.

    What a cliffhanger- lucky that that doesn’t matter to me haha!

    • feroshgirl
      July 8, 2020

      Best part about binging a story with so many chapters lol! Oh man, Vlad-y did NOT make the right choice here. He’ll learn…

      Ben and Alice have a real genuine connection. His story is sad but also mysterious…more will come out in future chapters…

  • Yimiki
    February 2, 2021

    Blech, go choke on a raisin, Jimena. And take your fake smiles and stupid pink sparkly doll cake with you. Gah, and Rory can go get covered in baking soda too. He reminds me of those fake presenters on shows that always end up hugging the contestants like they’re best friends. I’ve always hated that fake arm-around-them hug, lol.

    YEEEEES add Bonehilda to the underworld baking contest! I’m so stoked to see that one now, lol. And now we can because Paranormal stuff! <3

    Ah crap. He didn’t let her win. I was so sure that he would, since she was interesting to him and he’d be able to hit two birds with one stone. T.T What gives, Vladdy?

    WHAT ANOTHER VAMPIRE NUUUUUU

    • feroshgirl
      February 5, 2021

      And just think, I wrote this long before Paranormal Stuff and the return of the great and powerful Bonehilda!!!! (Lol she will be in Book 2, I was determined to find a way to create her if she didn’t come back to the game).

      What? You don’t like Jimena and Rory’s super fake attitudes? ::evil laughter::

      You know, let’s just hope Vlad can learn from his mistakes.

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