Roger Tuckerman Short Stories

When Bad Things Happen: A Short Story

Bad things can lead to good things.

If you’re a good person, good things will happen to you, and bad things will happen to you. It’s just part of life: bad things happen to people, whether they are good or bad, or somewhere in between good and bad. Something bad happened to me before Christmas, something I didn’t deserve, but it led to something good.

I live in Falkland, a small town in British Columbia, and I work at a cheese factory that employs a dozen people. Two weeks before Christmas, on a Monday morning, my manager Dave said there would be a party at his house. On my lunch break, I went to his office. He was eating a big bowl of macaroni and cheese.

“Can I bring cookies to the party?” I asked him. “My Grandma has the best recipe for ginger cookies.”

“Sure, Roger,” he said. “That would be great.”

 Dave didn’t want to eat the rest of his macaroni and cheese, so he offered it to me, and I ate it.

When I got home from work, I decided to make the cookies. I opened my pantry, but it was empty. Then I opened my fridge, and it was empty, so I went to the grocery store and bought the following items:

A bag of sugar 
A carton of molasses 
A bag of flour 
A box of baking soda 
A package of ginger 
A package of nutmeg
A package of cinnamon
A tin of cloves 
A box of salt 
A block of butter 
A dozen eggs

The total cost was $78.44. With these ingredients, I made a batch of two dozen cookies and put them in the freezer.

On Friday night, I took the cookies to the Christmas party. My co-workers ate them all, and didn’t leave any for me, but that’s okay because I want them to like me.

After my cookies were gone, I approached Dave. He was sitting alone at the kitchen table.

“Here’s the receipt for my expenses,” I said and handed it to him. He looked at it briefly and gave it back to me.

“That’s hilarious,” he said. “You’re a funny guy, Roger.”

And then he called my co-workers into the kitchen.

“Hey everybody,” he said with a straight face. “Roger wants to be reimbursed for making cookies for the party.”

He banged his hand on the table and burst out laughing. I didn’t like being laughed at by my boss. To my great relief, my co-workers looked at Dave and started laughing. The only one who didn’t laugh was Suzie, but she doesn’t like to laugh at anyone.

My co-workers laughing at my boss made me feel much better, so I started laughing at him too. When everyone stopped laughing, Dave got up, smacked me on the back and went to get a beer from his fridge.

If Dave was a good boss, he would have signed my receipt. He authorized me to bring cookies to the party, but he made me pay my own expenses. He broke his word to me! Dave is like Pinocchio, but his nose isn’t quite as long.

It’s only fair that I be reimbursed for my expenses. Why should I have to give everyone free cookies for Christmas? Do I look like Santa Claus? I can’t even grow a beard!

Dave wouldn’t reimburse me because he envies me. He saw how popular I was at the party, and that really got his goat. When he gave me his macaroni and cheese, I thought he was my friend, but I was wrong. He’s just my manager. If I ever become the manager of the cheese factory, I won’t be anything like Dave. I’ll be a friend to all the workers.  

On Monday, I went to see the accountant, and told him what happened. Seated behind his desk, he looked at my receipt from the grocery store.  

“Let me get this straight,” he said. “You made two dozen cookies for the Christmas party, and you asked Dave to reimburse you?”

“Yes,” I said. “And he thought it was hilarious. Isn’t it shocking?”

“Yes, it sure is,” the accountant said. “I’ve worked here for twenty years, and this has never happened before.”

This made me feel much better. I was suffering an injustice no one had ever suffered before. I thanked the accountant for telling me that and shook his hand.

As I left his office, I met Suzie in the hallway. She was wearing a white long-sleeve T-shirt and green overalls. All the guys at the factory have tried to date her, but she turned them down. They call her Undateable Suzie.

“Roger,” she said with a smile, “Your ginger cookies were the best.”

I’ve always liked Suzie, but I was too nervous to ask her on a date. She has green eyes and long brown hair, and when I’m with her, I feel like I’m walking on air. She is very pretty, especially at the end of her shift when there are cheese strands in her hair. I often imagine her going home and washing all that cheese out of her hair. Her hair is so beautiful.    

Suzie stood staring at me, her lips red like a rose, her face radiant in the hall with a lot of burned-out light bulbs. I couldn’t tell if she liked me, or just my cookies, but I decided to take a chance.   

“I could show you how to make those cookies,” I said.

“Sure,” she said with a smile. “Can you come to my apartment on Saturday morning?”

“I would love to. And I’ll bring all the ingredients you need. I’ve got lots left from the batch I made for the party.”

“That’s great. I can’t wait to make them.”

Then Suzie gave me her address and phone number, and we both went back to work.

Sometimes bad things happen to good cookie makers, but the bad things can lead to good things. After making cookies for my co-workers—which I had to pay for—I got a date with Suzie, something I’ve always dreamed of.

At Suzie’s apartment, we made a big batch of cookies, and some more good things happened, but I’ll leave that to your imagination. Let’s just say we both felt very satisfied after we cleaned up the kitchen.



  1. Nice ending to the story. In all the years, I’ve attended office parties, it was usually clear whether someone was treating or it was a potluck. I’ve never heard of a case where someone offered to bring something and then expected to be reimbursed for the cost of the ingredients. Is this a local custom?

    Liked by 1 person

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