Roger Tuckerman Short Stories

The Great and Popular Man: A Short Story

All my life I’ve wanted to achieve something great and be popular.

My name is Roger Tuckerman, and I live in Falkland, a small town in British Columbia. All my life I’ve wanted to achieve something great and be popular. This was my prayer every night before I went to sleep.

While I was brushing my teeth one morning, I heard a voice behind me say, “Search the Earth, and find the world’s best cookie recipe.”

I obeyed the voice, Googled the recipe, and found it.

Then the voice said, “I will make you into a great cookie maker, and I will bless you. I will make your name great, and you will be a blessing to many people.”

I obeyed the voice, made the cookies, and burned them.

“Try again,” the voice said.  

I made another batch of cookies and burned them. This went on for six days. But on the seventh day, I lowered the oven temperature, and my cookies did not burn. When I took them out of the oven, my girlfriend Suzie ate one.

“Roger,” she said, “these cookies are good.”

A week later, I entered a competition for Best Cookies at the Falkland Farmers’ Market. I competed with the wives of three farmers, and I won! Just like the day I graduated from high school, it was one of the best days of my life. I had finally achieved something great.

When I was presented with a medal, the mayor of Falkland stood beside me for a photo. For the first time in my life, I was a popular man: a local celebrity! 

With my newfound fame, my twelve co-workers treated me differently. They came to my table, congratulated me, and slapped me on the back. I had a job in a cheese factory, and they often played pranks on me, putting a block of cheese in my backpack or locker, and then they told my manager I stole it. Once, I got suspended for a week. But the days of playing pranks on Roger were over. My co-workers bought a dozen cookies and asked me for my autograph, which I happily gave them.

One co-worker laughed and said, “We got the signature of a famous person without having to pay for it.”  

“I would never charge you,” I told him. “Great men often give things away for free.”

Then my co-workers ate my cookies and tried to sell my autograph to people walking by. I was glad to help them out financially because we only earn minimum wage at the cheese factory. Sadly, no one bought my autograph.

When my co-workers were gone, the farmer’s wives walked up to my table, but instead of asking me for my autograph, they spat on the ground and growled at me. Then they each grabbed one of my cookies and ran off!

My girlfriend Suzie was there when it happened.

“I have to go after them and make them pay,” I said.

“No, Roger,” she said, holding my arm. “Just let them go. You should be flattered that the losers stole your cookies.”

Suzie is naïve about human nature. When people do bad things, they might do more bad things and become criminals.

“If I let them steal my cookies and get away with it, they might rob a bank,” I explained.

Suzie didn’t know what to say to that.

I left her by my table, chased after the farmers’ wives, but they had long legs and could run faster than me. When I finally found them at the Falkland Pub, they were drinking whiskey shots. As I walked up to their table, they looked at each other and cackled like the three witches in Macbeth.

But I wasn’t intimidated by their evil laughter. “You stole my cookies,” I said. “You owe me six dollars.”

One of the wives, a redhead in a black dress, stood up and came close to me. I could feel her hot breath in my face like dragon fire.

“We owe you nothing,” she said. “Give us your cookie recipe.”

“Never! It’s a secret.”

“I know how to make men tell me their secrets.”

The redhead purred like a kitten and stroked my arm. I thought she was trying to seduce me, but then she twisted my arm behind my back.

“Tell me how you made the cookies,” she said, “or I will make it hurt.”

I didn’t like being threatened. With my free hand I pulled her hair like a lever on a slot machine, and she shrieked. Breaking free from her grip, I ran out of the pub and down the street. She and the two other wives chased after me and, cornering me in an alley, they took hold of my arms and legs, rocked me back and forth like a hammock, and threw me into a dumpster. They wouldn’t let me out until I gave them my recipe.

My victory at the Farmers’ Market ended in a humiliating defeat. With my secret recipe, the three wives could become great and popular like me. I learned a painful lesson that day. In this world you will have enemies, and when you are a great cookie maker, your enemies will be multiplied.

Your enemies can take what you have, but if you have friends who will support you, they will help you rise again. Luckily, I have a real friend—my girlfriend Suzie. Four months later, on Christmas Day, she said to me: “Roger, I have a surprise for you.”

At the Farmers’ Market, she filmed the three wives spitting and growling at me and uploaded the video to YouTube. She also filmed them chasing me down the street, throwing me into the dumpster, and then dancing around it while I tried to climb out.  

The three wives treated me badly, but it all worked together for good. “The Great Cookie Maker of Falkland” has now gone viral with one million plays on YouTube. In this video, I’m an innocent victim—and when you’re the victim, people will like you a lot.  

As a YouTube star, I was blessed, but the voice also said I would be a blessing to others, and that is what happened. Six months ago, I quit my job at the cheese factory, and Suzie and I opened a bakery. People are coming from all over the world to buy my award-winning cookies. We are helping to make Falkland into a great town.  


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