Strange Spotlight: The Birthday Cake
Let’s examine this cake!
Hi folks- time at last for episode 3 of Strange Spotlight, taking a look at another story from Strange Matters: The Birthday Cake.
Strange Matters is my collection of short stories of fantasy, myth and magic. The eBook’s available from Amazon, Smashwords, Google Play and more, with the hardcopy on Amazon and Drive Thru RPG (where it’s cheaper!).
I opted to look at The Birthday Cake this time, because it was inspired by a Neil Gaiman story and today happens to be his birthday! HB, NG!
So, The Birthday Cake. This is a very short story, a couple of pages. The idea struck me when I read a Neil Gaiman short story, published in one of his own short collections, Smoke and Mirrors. Buy it!
The story is called ‘Babycakes’ and the title is something of a dark pun, because it’s about turning babies into cakes. Not a spoiler really, it’s only a one-pager. This made me think of birthday cakes; what if they, too, were literally cakes made out of birthdays? What significance could it have?
Thus was born the tale of a granddad baking a cake made of memories and giving it to his grandson, who upon eating it gains the old man’s years of wisdom. Birthdays, after all, are more than just parties; they are yearly, cyclical rituals which send off the old and welcome the new. They are perspective and experience. They’re also arguable a celebration of having Not Died, but this story is more focusing on the idea of passing the torch.
They became a Jewish family at some point, as I decided it fit the air of magic and it was a pleasing vehicle for the difference between the older and younger generations. Written from the boy Lucas’ perspective, his parents are all but invisible. Lucas does not speak, only Granddad Mort does. Just whose party is it?
This story was also made into a short film by a local filmmaker (you may recall a post on the matter). This was an honour, I must say. You can see David’s work below.
Thanks for reading- if you grab Strange Matters and check the story out, I hope you enjoy it.
Neil, may you have a birthday filled with joy and meaning and perspective… and most certainly, cake.