“Amelie's Cafe” is one of the outstanding stories of the first biannual International Short Story Contest 2018 written by Malia Denny, Tasman Bay Christian School, New Zealand.
Business wasn’t going well, the Cake Masters Competition in Paris, needed to be successful to keep Amelie’s Cafe running. In addition, the Manager, Mrs Lafleur, wanted to run the cafe. She thought her rules and ideas were better than Amelie’s. None of the staff liked Mrs Lafleur and often wondered why she’d been hired. Brought up in a strict household, she was exactly like her parents; bossy, and expected everything to be done her way.
The competition was in early November. Amelie and her staff had been busy all October designing, creating and decorating. All of Amelie’s staff had put in contributions for the cake but in the end only Amelie knew the recipe.
Vivienne, Amelie’s apprentice had olive skin and bright blue eyes, her lanky legs were fast and busy. She noticed Amelie’s agitation and decided to take her to Belle Baie for a picnic. Mrs Lafleur, spent the day in her office, talking on the phone to Leopold (her childhood friend). In the afternoon the staff could hear Mrs Lafleur shouting at Leopold.
The next day, Mrs Lafleur didn’t arrive at Amelie’s Cafe. People weren’t extremely worried, a few days later, though, Vivienne decided to ask her father, a detective to investigate.
Her father Monsieur Roberto made his way to Mrs Lafleur's office. On the door in bold print, was a sign ‘MRS LAFLEUR'S OFFICE, NO ENTRY.’ Ignoring the sign, Monsieur Roberto, pushed open the door and walked in.
The office contained one small desk; a big red chair and a fluorescent green rug. In the middle of the desk sat a large computer, with a pile of paper beside it. The page at the top of the pile had been ripped. And now, alone on the page was a single word, ‘Roberto!’ Vivienne’s face turned pale, she tucked the page quickly into her pocket and ran out of the room. Hoping her father was innocent.
As Vivienne ran down the hallway, she bumped into Amelie. “What are you doing? Amelie asked softly. Her forehead creased in a frown, as fear was written all over Vivienne’s face. “Vivienne, we can talk as we put the finishing touches on the eighth layer, remember the competition is tomorrow.”
Roberto decided to investigate further. Opening drawers and moving couches his foot slid against the rug. To his astonishment, underneath was a trapdoor. He brought out his phone, using the flashlight he shone into the hole, revealing a steep stairway. At the bottom was a dark musty cellar. His flashlight unexpectedly ran out. Stumbling, in the darkness Roberto bumped into a hard object and heard muffled whispering.
“Who are you?” Leopold demanded. “I could ask the same.” Roberto replied coldly.
“Well, well, well if it isn’t feather brained Roberto, sneaking around as always!” Mrs Lafleur snarled, “Leopold tie him up!”
“So this was your plan? Just to hide away in a dark cellar?” Roberto asked sarcastically. Mrs Lafleur smiled slyly, “We are going to become rich! Underneath us is an abundance of gold, but no, you had to come in and eavesdrop. What do we do to eavesdroppers? Leave them here to starve!” she carried on in a menacing whisper, “By the time the police find you, Leopold and I will be long gone.”
“Hold it right there! You’re under arrest for attempted robbery!” A burly policeman appeared out of nowhere. “How did you get here?”Mrs Lafleur screeched angrily. “Well firstly, your rug wasn’t covering the trap door, secondly we could hear you.” Sergeant Cromfore chuckled. “I thought you said this place was sound proof, you idiot!” Mrs Lafleur said flying into a rage at Leopold. Sergeant Cromfore dragged the two prisoners to a police car outside Amelie’s Cafe. “Those who live by the sword, die by the sword.” Monsieur Roberto thought as he watched the prisoners being taken away.
“Oh Dad, we were so worried.” Vivienne exclaimed as she flung herself into his arms.
The next day arrived very quickly, it was the day of the competition. Tables were set with blue polka dot clothes, white fleur-de-lis, white plates, white napkin wrapped knives and forks. The judges were chatting to each other at their table. Once everybody had calmed down, the judges tried a slice of each cake.
In a few moments, one short stout man stood up, cleared his throat and declared, “This year’s cake winner is Amelie’s Cafe!” Amelie and Vivienne smiled and whooped with joy!