Three Portlands Pastries
rating: +33+x

My first sight of the pocket-universe city of Three Portlands was their cold, concrete sidewalk as my breath slowly returned to me. Ways really were no joke! First I had to walk around a tree a bunch of times and then it felt like I'd gotten hit in the stomach. Thank God the Peculiar Post vans have some magic doohickey that makes sure you don't feel that when you go through one of their Ways.

Anyways, after I managed to stand to my feet, my second sight of Three Portlands was much more breathtaking— and not in a literal sense. The inverted horizon and cast-off lighthouse shadows in a sea of grey painted over the bustling crowd of Portlandsers just going about their day, not even bothering to check on me. They must get a lot of first-timers, I suppose.

As my nauseousness finally faded away, a building off in the distance caught my eye. The exact place I was there for: Paraweiser Pastries.

A bell above the door rung as I pulled it open, prompting the old woman at the counter to turn around, grinning. "Hello there, Mr…"

"Morrison. I suppose you're Mrs. Paraweiser?"

She laughed for a moment, which quickly turned to coughing, then back to laughing again. "Hell no! That's the most idiotic name ever, changed it the moment my parents died! In the process of rebranding, actually." The look on my face must've been one of great concern, or maybe disgust, for she glanced at me and scoffed. "Look, I loved them and all, but… Paraweiser? Really? I'm sure you can see how bad that is. I'm now Ms. Josephina."

"Nice meeting you then, Ms. Josephina. I'll have to note that in the publication." Changing your business' name can be quite confusing. Think of all the customers that would get confused!

"Publication?" Her eye twitched.

"I- I'm with the Peculiar Post. Just food journalism, critique, all that." Some folks were quite hostile when it came to the press. But luckily…

"Oh!" She instantly brightened up like a lightbulb. "My niece is always reading all those satire articles on that site! The Parawatch ones are her favorite— can you believe there's people that stupid out there? Crazy."

We at the Peculiar Post have quite a good reputation. Most news platforms are hated for bias, but luckily much of the anomalous community and our audience shares the same beliefs as us— not to mention we all like to laugh at dumb people— so we don't really have to worry about being 'apolitical' or anything like that.

"Yes, it is quite funny." It was at this point I realized I was practically salivating at the sweet smell hanging in the air. A mix of fruity frosting and perfectly baked dough. You can usually tell how good your food is going to be based on the smell of the establishment— and this was a very pleasing sign.

Ms. Josephina must've seen me looking around for a menu of some sort, because she giggled childishly. "Your strawberry doughnut is just about done, don't worry."


"I know, you didn't order yet. I ordered for you."

"What if I don't like strawberry?" I asked.

"You're a food journalist, there's nothing you don't like. Plus you just seem… strawberry-y. Appealing and charming— yet a bit tacky, in a good way. I'm sure you'll love it."

Tacky. Was that an insult or a compliment? I mean, I suppose I am a bit messy sometimes, but I'm not that bad, am I? Maybe she just meant gimmicky. Wait, but then what's—

A loud BRRRING suddenly interrupted my thoughts, making me jump a bit.

"Ah, it's done!" Ms. Josephina twirled around, reached into a metallic box, and pulled out a pastry on a little plastic plate. Its tannish-brownish dough was perfectly fried, and the artfully applied pink frosting slowly drew me in closer until my nose was right over it.

"I need to eat this. Now."

Without waiting for her to give the go-ahead, I snatched it up and took a bite into the firm outer crust. The inside was soft and perfectly moist, but then the frosting touched against my tongue and melted slowly, the sweet flavor dancing around my mouth cheerfully.

Before I knew it, the doughnut was completely gone, with only crumbly remnants where it once lay on the plate.

I looked up to Ms. Josephina, who had her arms crossed in a firm satisfaction. "How did you do that? How could you make something so amazing?"


Of course. That's practically what everyone says when it comes to anomalous food. But usually people are focused on making foods into weird things or harvesting ingredients from anomalous creatures. Using magic to make normal, everyday foods? That's next-level.

"So, the box. What does that do?"

"Get out," she demanded, still smirking. "You've had your doughnut. Now get out."

I must've been quite dumbfounded, for I simply stood there, the exact opposite of what she wanted me to do. So then began to force me out. "W- wait! I haven't paid you!" My feet skidded on the concrete below as I was pushed outside.

When I was a good distance from the building, she dusted her hands off. "You can pay me in exposure," she said before walking back and slamming the door.

"But…" Befuddled, I scratched my head. "Isn't that usually the other way around?!"

Food In The Anomalous Community by Edwin Morrison
Volume 2

For some people, eating is a boring and inconvenient chore. They wake up, eat breakfast, go to work, eat their horrible packed lunch, go home, and eat fast food of some sort because they're too lazy to cook.

For people such as I, eating is fun and enjoyable! I savor every bite of my meals and recognize the love and care put into them, no matter where they came from.

But for others, food is an experience. And I had an experience today.

In the city of Three Portlands, there's a small business named Paraweiser Pastries (which is currently being rebranded to Josephina Pastries). Its owner (and only employee), Ms. Josephina, is one of these people. I ate a wonderful strawberry doughnut with a delightful, aesthetically pleasing pink frosting on a little plastic plate. Incredibly basic, yet it still felt as if it'd been baked specifically for me, and then I was forced out of the bakery before I could ask for another.

But that taste, that pure, sweet flavor… it stuck with me for days, lingering in the back of my throat, forever reminding me of that delightful confection.

I've decided that I'm going to have a few more experiences. There are restaurants where you can hunt or find your own food, so I think I'll start with that.

I rate Paraweiser Pastries (soon to be Josephina Pastries) 9/10. My only complaint is that I couldn't get more.

P.S. In the holy Neapolitan trio of flavors, vanilla and strawberry are criminally underrated. And chocolate really isn't that good. Seriously, it can get really old and overbearing sometimes.

P.P.S. Am I tacky? Please let me know in the comments, seriously. Ms. Josephina said something, and just, I'm self-conscious about it, okay? Thank you.

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