Brownie by Charlie Coleman

“Gannon, where have you been? Last I knew you and Leary were in the bakery business. I expected that the two of you would hang out a sign. Ya know, something like “Crooked Cookies” or “Burglarized Brownies” with menu items like “Do a Short Stretch with Our Strudel” or “Get Busted on Our Bagels”. Rumor had it that you guys had some pretty intense brownies and everyone in the neighborhood was practically inhaling them. I was half expecting to find the two of you reviewed in one of those high brow magazines like New York Magazine, not that I ever buy or read it. But, what the fuck, if you guys had made it I might have ripped off a copy from Ricky’s Newsstand. It might have been worth the effort.”

“We were bakers, but we ended up like toast that’s been put down twice, burnt. We enjoyed another free bed and breakfast stay courtesy of the NYC penal system.”

“Hadda be Leary’s fault.”

“No, hard as it may be to believe, not entirely. But I have to give him, as usual, the lion’s share of credit.”

“What happened?”

“As you may or may not know, Leary and I had a minor misunderstanding that took place In Lou’s Grocery.”

“Do I know? Christ, the whole neighborhood knows. They all ravel in the exploits of the two of you. Your daring life of crime provides more entertainment to this neighborhood than Netflix. If I recall the plot of your last adventure it revolved around pineapples. I think it has a nice exotic Hawaiian touch to it. That said though, probably the only way the two of you would possibly ever get involved with anything Hawaiian would be getting arrested by Hawaii 5-0.”

“We haven’t made their rap sheet yet, but there’s still time. Anyway, because of our escapade at Lou’s we ended up getting community service.”

“That’s fitting, except that I think that you guys are under the impression that the community should serve you, not the other way around.”

“Due to our past and frequent interactions with the friendly folks at the New York City criminal justice system, they gave us a month of community service along with a complimentary warning that we were candidates for a return trip to one of their finer accommodations. Frankly, I think that the New York penal system had overbooked themselves which worked in our favor.”

“I can’t believe Leary didn’t approach it like an over booked airline and tell the judge that he’d give up his cell for $200.”

“Even Leary knew enough to keep his mouth shut on that. Hey, it was a month of freedom as opposed to God knows how long as a guest of the correctional system.”

“Too bad they don’t have a frequent guest program like hotels do. You guys would have all sorts of rewards accrued. Maybe a free week in solitary or a week in a famous prison like Folsom in California.”

“Anyway, we get assigned to a shelter kitchen. Besides the new knife skills that they taught us, which we never knew existed, as we always thought that knives were just for fights, they taught us how to bake.”

“Did the two of you wear those goofy, puffy hats?”

“Yeah, they came in handy for stowing contraband like weed to get us through our busy work day.”

“OK, so which one if you decided to learn to bake?”

“Neither, they were short cooks and we got drafted as second string chefs. No one else wanted to do it or knew how.”

“Isn’t there a term for that, Sioux chef?”

“Like the Indians?”

“Right, something like that, maybe it’s Sue chef. Regardless, continue.”

“OK, so this flaming liberal chick Samantha ends up feeling sorry for us. She takes it upon herself to teach us some basic cooking and baking skills. I think that she saw Leary boiling potatoes with the skins on and my first attempt at rolls that came out as hard as baseballs. She knew we needed help. She basically gave us the crash course. For some reason, the baking part stuck.”

“She had her own Pillsbury Dough Boys.”

“No, she was hot. There wasn’t anything soft when she was around.”

“So let me tell you what happened next, Leary’s Irish eyes start smiling. The Leary charm kicks in and pretty soon she teaching Leary how to make bacon and eggs, except it’s not in the shelter though.”

“Yeah, you got that right. She starts hanging out at Leary’s. Before she arrived, the only cooking utensil Leary had was a toaster. Leary’s oven saw less traffic then the middle of the Sahara desert. After she started dropping by, all sorts of cooking implements appeared out of nowhere like my relatives did the time I hit the numbers.”

“So what exactly did she do? Did she start teaching the two of you like she was Rachel Ray?”

“Who’s Rachel Ray? Is she the one behind Ray’s Pizza?”

“No, don’t you have the intellect for reality TV? She has a cooking show.”

“Fuck, you watch cooking shows?”

“Hey, don’t you know, chicks love guys who cook, even if your skill set consists of opening a can of beef stew. You just tell them you like to take a night off from preparing a five course meal. You don’t have to be able to cook the stuff, just describe it to them. Then you do something creative with the stew, like pour hot sauce or soy sauce on it.”

“I’ll have to remember that. Anyway, she teaches us how to make these incredible brownies. Leary gets the idea in his head that if we rent that little abandoned pizza place on First Avenue and Ninth Street, the one the size of a telephone booth; we can go into the bakery business.”

“That sounds too tame for Leary. I see Leary working a straight job like I see him joining the priesthood.”

“You can almost see the Leary slant on the bakery business coming.”

“Let me tell you, he spices up the product.”

“Not all of it, just the brownies, which we jack the price up on.”

“Normally, spicing would mean ginger or something similar but with Leary mixed in with the recipe I’m sure it’s weed.”

“With insight like that, you’re headed for “The Apprentice”. Weed becomes the chief ingredient of his signature brownies.”

“If I were part of a Leary venture, I’d want to be sure that I’m not headed to Riker’s Island.”

“Obviously,” so I say to Leary, “How do we sell the spiked ones?”

“It’s simple. We post a sign that states our spiked brownies are organic. They have a kick to them. We handle it the same way that the drug companies do.”

“Wait, fuck me, Leary, are you telling me that the drug companies make brownies? Sara Lee is actually a front for a drug company? No wonder nobody doesn’t like Sara Lee.”

“No, you can still like Sara Lee, in fact you can have sex with her for all I care. What I mean is, when you hear the drug companies advertise their junk, they always tell you that their drugs may cause headaches, diarrhea, constipation, etc.”

“First, how can something cause both diarrhea and constipation and second, who’s going to buy the brownies if they cause all those things?”

“No, Dr. House, I just threw a bunch of examples together, the first thing that came to my mind.”

“You mean that out of all the things that can be going through your mind all you can think about is going to the john?”

“Never mind, trust me on this we’ll just tell them that the brownies may have a little buzz to them. A mild after effect of you will.”

“And how do we tell them, whisper in their ear?”

“No, we put up a sign that says that due to their organic nature the special brownies may have a slight pleasant after effect. Note the word pleasant.”

“That’s a good point. The drug companies can’t say that you will be pleasantly constipated or pleasantly running to the john every five minutes.”

“OK, now you get the point.”

“So Leary makes up a sign telling the customers what’s up with the allegedly organic brownies. We’re in business. In fact business picks up really quickly. Word spreads in the neighborhood of our little venture and the organic brownie business is booming. Not to outdone by his own success, Leary comes up with another idea.”

“Look, why don’t we cater parties with the brownies. You know people can eat them at Sunday football tail gate parties, watching the Oscars etc.”

“Great idea, we can bake batches just for that purpose. After they’ve had the foot long sub they can have a brownie for dessert.”

“So Leary and I start advertising brownie batches for parties etc. If someone is having a traditional party, we give them the regular brownies. If it’s a special party, they get the higher priced organic brownies. Some of our customers are now planning social events around the organic brownies. The catering business takes off and we’re placing orders left and right.”

“So what went wrong?”

“We get really busy on one Friday night. As you’d suspect, weekends are when we did our best business.”

“Leary, where did you put the batch of regulars that are supposed to go to that Flanagan kid’s party?”

“They left.”

“They left?”

“They left yesterday. They were the ones that were sitting on the front counter to the left.”

“No, that batch was for the sixties revival party over on Avenue A.”

“No, that delivery is sitting right now on the back counter by the oven.”

“No, that’s the batch for Flanagan’s party.”

“What do you mean?”

“Oh shit, that means that the organic batch went to the kid’s party.”

“What’s the commotion out front?”

‘Mr. Leary, Mr. Gannon, I’m Detective Thomas from the Ninth Precinct. I’m placing the both of you under arrest for incorporating marijuana into your bakery products, particularly the brownies. One of the parties that you catered yesterday, Mrs. Flanagan’s I believe, was for the nine year old son of the precinct captain. Captain Flanagan suspected something when the room of usually rambunctious kids became exceptionally tranquil and manageable after eating your brownies. Then they started eating everything in the house. On a hunch, he had your brownies tested. The lab advised him that the primary active ingredient wasn’t cocoa, but marijuana. Would you gentlemen please come with me? One more thing, please don’t try eating the evidence.”


Charlie Coleman is a writer living in New York.

3 thoughts on “Brownie by Charlie Coleman”

  1. Glad you came back to these these two enterprising jailbirds. I like the charismatic manner you tell their story. You’ve taken us from pineapples to sex, brownies and undercover detectives with the “oh sh*t” factor thrown in just for fun. (Yay!)
    Always enjoy your stories, Charlie. Hope to read more of these two.

    btw, this line cracked me up “She had her own Pillsbury Dough Boys.”

  2. Richard, Jodi,

    Thanks for your comments. I’m glad you both enjoyed “the boys”. I hope to keep them busy in the future. As we all know, “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop”.


    I’m waiting patiently for the next installment of “WWB”.


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