A kitchen scene, a woman but we can't see her face. An apple pie is cooling on the window sill. On the counter opposite the woman is a painting of apples. Outside the window is an apple orchard and... a wolf, eyeing the pie like he wants to grab it.
Apple Slice

The Gummy bear Case Study, Part 3

An Apple Slice short story by Apple | Content Warnings

The waitress, “Nice” her nametag said, took one look at Cheery and the doc’s outfits and let out a sigh that told Cheery she’d seen far too much nonsense go down in this cafe. Her face remained completely stoic beneath her bubblegum pink bangs as she grumbled, “What can I get you?”

“I’ll have a caramel latte and a sugar cookie,” Cheery chirped. “She’ll have the strawberry frozen yogurt with gummy bear toppings.” She felt the doc poke her ribs and added, “Extra gummy bears, please.”

Nice glanced around Cheery to verify this with the doc herself.

Dr. Somber shrugged from her spot beside Cheery in the booth, avoiding the waitress’s gaze. “I like gummy bears.”

Cheery supposed it was a strange order; given the man-eating science experiments running around town, people probably weren’t looking to eat their candy counterparts at the moment.

“Cool. Be right back.” The waitress spun on her heel and headed over to leave their order with the cook.

The cafe was full of retro diner decor, despite not offering any diner staples on the menu, but it was wildly popular, which was exactly what Cheery had been looking for when she chose the place.

“Thank you for ordering,” the doc said quietly. “I usually just order online to avoid all that, but I forgot. It’s been a while since I’ve gone out.”

“Anytime,” Cheery replied. “If there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s ordering food.”

“Are these clothes really necessary, though?”

“Absolutely. They’re imperative to the mission.”

A few tables over, Cheery spotted a couple trying to sneak a picture of them.

“Say ‘gummy bears’!” Cheery told the doc while striking a pose.

The doc looked over with a glare, but the couple was undeterred as they snapped a photo and went back to chatting over their shared dessert.

“Where did you even get outfits like these?” the doc asked.

“My mom made them. They’re cosplays from her favorite ancient detective show. You’re the detective,” Cheery said, gesturing to the doc’s long brown coat and matching hat. “I’m the budding starlet with a tragic backstory that visits her discretely to ask for help.”

“I don’t think she succeeded at discretion.”

Cheery adjusted her large, old Hollywood sunglasses, her red lips stretching into a Cheshire grin. “That’s the point,” she said, smile widening as she heard someone nearby recognize the doc by name. “And be careful in that. My mom still wears these to conventions.”

The doc went back to organizing a tray of syrups and creamers, reminiscent of diner ketchup bottles, with a sigh.

When the waitress returned, there was a mountain of gummy bears on the doc’s yogurt. She placed Cheery’s latte and cookie down next. “Enjoy,” Nice droned before walking off.

Cheery picked up her drink, taking a sip and immediately burning her tongue. “Hot!”

“You’re so good at telling me to be careful,” said the doc, “but you’re the worst when it comes to yourself.”

“That’s what friends are for,” Cheery said as she gratefully accepted a cool bite of the doc’s frozen yogurt.

“There you are,” a woman Cheery recognized from the news said as she plopped onto the booth seat across from them with a heavily sprinkled cake pop. “I ordered at the counter, but I should have gotten what you have. That looks delicious. Do you mind if I try it?” She dragged the plate with Cheery’s cookie over to herself without waiting for an answer. “Oh, this is so good,” she garbled around a mouthful. She took three more bites, leaving less than half the cookie, then bit into her cake pop.

The sprinkles scattered across the table, and Cheery convinced herself to take a calming breath.

“Goodness, where are my manners?” the woman said, dusting the crumbs covering her fingertips onto Cheery’s plate. “I’m Envy Cunning, the reporter. And you must be Dr. Jaded Somber. May I call you Jade?”

“No,” the doc said.

Envy plucked one of the doc’s gummy bears from her bowl and bit off its head. She plopped the rest of the candy into her mouth with a smile. “Alrighty,” she said sweetly. “Do you mind if I record?”

“No, as long as you don’t.” The doc gestured to her communicator on the table.

“Of course not. Let’s begin then, shall we?”

While Envy and the doc both pressed record, Cheery noticed a few others in the café holding up their comms. They must have recognized Envy from the news too. Perfect.

Envy must have picked up on her audience as well. “I’m familiar with your story Dr. Somber,” she said professionally. “I understand you had a very uncomfortable time with the media.”

“I’m still having a hard time,” the doc said.

Cheery couldn’t stop herself from giggling.

“I’m sorry, who did you say you were?” Envy asked.

“I’m just here for moral support,” Cheery said.

“I see. Well, I hope you both know that you can trust me.” She reached over the table to clasp the doc’s hands. “I am going to do everything I can to help you,” she lied. The doc freed her hands and reached into the pocket of her detective coat. She slid a small device toward Envy, and when she spoke, her voice carried across the hushed café. “This is a holo-drive with solid proof that the CMIIIA used my research to create the gummy bear monsters.”

1 thought on “The Gummy bear Case Study, Part 3”

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