Small and I were charged with supplying “city food” for 17 preschoolers today.

My first thought was to steam hot dogs and serve them in stale buns; my next was to make sushi rolls. I settled on a more palatable mid-morning snack and something infinitely easier for me to provide – fresh bagels. 

We arrived at our regular bagel place bright and early. Henry marched directly to the potato chip display. Before he could open his mouth to say, “I want,” I had elbowed our way through the commuters to the counter and given my order to the heavily mascara-ed twenty-year old behind it. “I’d like eighteen bagels, please.”

She smiled blandly at me. “Would you prefer a dozen and a half?”

I paused and stared at her. Was she joking? I hadn’t finished my quart of coffee yet, maybe I had misunderstood her. “Yes,” I said, “That’s what I want. A dozen and a half. Six plain, six cinnamon raisin and six sesame.”

She snapped a brown bag open and began filling my order. “What was the last kind, again?”


“Sesame, sure. Do you want a different kind for your extra bagel?”

“What extra bagel?”

“Oh!” she tittered, eyeing me like I was the idiot. “We do a baker’s dozen. You know, thirteen instead of twelve.”

“Oh,” I said. “What a relief you can perform simple math, after all.”

Alright, I didn’t really say that last bit. I just thought it. Don’t mess with me before I’m fully caffeinated.