Everyone Loves A Cookie

Week 32: Written August 11, 2016

Leonard’s Bake Shop was the most popular bakery in the city. People lined up for blocks just to buy one large chocolate chip cookie. The wait on some afternoons was over two hours, but people waited anyway.

Every new trend began that way in the city, with everybody in town wanting to give it a try. But Leonard’s Bake Shop persevered. Over time, its popularity only grew. Anybody that tried it became a repeat customer. The more cookies they ate, the more frequently they dropped by. Some people dropped by on a daily basis. A few people waited in line for cookies twice in the same day.

Nobody ever saw Leonard, though.

The great chef, and owner of the bakery, made all the cookies off-site, by himself. He was supposedly young, a wunderkind in the pastry business, who respected his privacy. Leonard might not have even been his real name. All that was known about him was that he made great cookies.

He delivered fresh batches to his shop five times throughout the day. He drove a nondescript van and park near the back of the shop, so nobody ever saw him coming. But the shop was always well stocked and never lacking fresh cookies.

Rumors spread about what the secret ingredient was in his cookies, but most dismissed them as urban legends. Did he use human blood in the recipe? Were there drugs mixed into the dough? Was Leonard some sort of voodoo doctor, hypnotizing the city with his tasty cookies?

Leonard himself found the rumors amusing — in part because some of the wildest accusations were actually pretty accurate.

There was a secret ingredient in his cookies, one he used to manipulate the people who came to his shop. And his hope was to some day manipulate everybody, to brainwash them all, not into loving his cookies but loving each other.

The recipe was just a random occurance, a stroke of luck. The right combination of ingredients somehow made the people that tasted his cookies love other people who loved the cookies, too. And just about everybody loved his cookies, so there was something to it, a chance to unite even the most divided people out there.

The one, small shop was part of his plan, too. Leonard wanted people to line up, wanted them to wait, all together there on the street and in the heat. It was a giant experiment. Nothing got people more irritable and confrontatious that long lines and summer heat. If his cookies could overcome that warlike atmosphere, he was on to something.

And it did.

The lines became parties, as much an attraction as the cookies. The temperature didn’t matter, nor did current events or politics. It became clear to Leonard that the secret ingredient in his cookies was, somehow, glue that bridged the biggest gaps between the harshest opponents. It didn’t change anybody’s minds about anything. It just made everyone better partners.

It helped everyone see that a team of very different people was way stronger and more powerful than a team of identical people.