Snierk gaped up at the swirly blue on white letters which boasted the existence of the Misty Mountain Muffin Top Sweet Shoppe. A fly buzzed by his face. A fur-tipped ear flicked at it, doing the job his mesmerized brain forgot to assign to his hands. If the Misty Mountain Muffin Top Sweet Shoppe were a living organism, its immune system would be fine tuned to ward off customers such as Snierk. Unhindered by such preemptive measures, he stretched to his tip-toes, gripped the doorknob, and let himself in.
There were several humans between him and the counter. He took his place in line behind an old woman whose form was indefinite under heavy layers of clothing. The wait was boring, but that was what humans did in these places, so he waited. He passed the time by using one of his toe claws to scratch funny pictures on the shiny floor.
The old woman reached the counter and made her order in a voice that oozed like syrup. Snierk fought down the growing urge to break something. He peaked around her to browse the display cases and saw…
The One. Not just a cupcake, The Cupcake. It dared to be moist and dense, defying the prevailing pressure that created pastries which were more air than substance. Even among its white-coated brethren of the same batch, it stood out as if illuminated by a part in a cloudy sky. Within seconds Snierk analyzed the contours of every visible surface. It was as close to perfect as he believed he would ever see, a surprising feat coming from clumsy human hands.
The old woman shuffled toward the door, and Snierk stepped up to the counter. He stood on tippy-toes, flashed a smile, and offered a polite flick of his tail at the baker. The baker was the widest human Snierk had ever seen. His head was bald, his nose was round, and there was a large mole on the tip. He looked like a living circle.
The baker frowned and made a shooing motion with his hand. “Get out of here, you hairy little cretin!” he said.
Snierk stomped his feet. “Discrimination!” he said, thrusting a clawed finger at the baker. “You are a discriminator!”
The line of human customers behind him took a collective step back. A woman gripped her child by his wrist and dragged him out the door.
The baker put his hands out, palms up. “I’m sorry, uh, Sir, but this is a business,” he said. “You can’t expect to come in here for free stuff.”
Snierk scowled and stabbed his hand into a pocket of his coat. “I never said nothing about free,” he said. “I gotsa human money. This is enough for one of them cupcakes, aint it?”
He leaned forward to let the baker get a better look at the gold coin in his palm.
The baker’s eyes grew circle-wide. “Uh, yes, yes!” he said. “That would be quite all right. Which type would you like, Sir?”
“That one,” Snierk said, tapping the glass.
The baker winced at the fresh scratch marks, but said nothing. He placed The Cupcake in a little paper box and traded it for the gold coin.
Snierk held his tail high in triumph and stepped aside to let the next customer through. He retreated to the front of the bakery, where a row of booths lined the windows. He placed the box on a table and withdrew The Cupcake. He closed his eyes and shifted it in the palm of his hand, studying the distribution of weight. His ears swiveled to follow human footsteps, which flowed around him at a measured distance like the ripples around river rocks.
Satisfied with his understanding of The Cupcake’s physical structure, he opened his eyes and turned to study the baker. The human was distracted with a customer, bland smile pasted on his face, thick hands waving while he made small talk. Snierk narrowed his eyes, slowed his breathing, and focused on the dark fleck of a mole in the center of that round face.
The Cupcake tumbled through the air with perfect grace, a beautiful sight which was no doubt over too quick to be appreciated by unobservant human eyes. Snierk’s ears rotated their wide, funneled openings forward to appreciate the full richness of the moment. Impact.
The humans were making plenty of noise now, but it didn’t matter. The sound was stamped into his memory. He withdrew a pad and pencil from his coat and stared at his notes. This, he realized, might be the most difficult part. The pencil hovered over the blank line.
Collision of Wet Pastry with Human Face: _____________
In a tentative scrawl he wrote, Splaaart?
It didn’t look quite right, but there would be plenty of time for edits before he returned home to compare notes with the Sound Collector’s Club. He smiled to himself and tucked the pad and pencil away.
The bakery was almost empty now, aside from a few humans who stood frozen with what appeared to be morbid fascination. The baker had wiped most of the frosting off his face, and its red color was returning to the normal shade. He wasn’t smiling, but he wasn’t yelling for the guards either. It was amazing what humans were willing to tolerate for their love of shiny metal.
Snierk bowed and swished his tail. “Thank ya, Mister,” he said. “I leave a satisfied customer.”
He let himself out and trotted down the street, searching for the supplies needed to create the next sound on the list.
And that is how the Misty Mountain Muffin Top Sweet Shoppe came to have the sign painted in dainty letters on the lower half of the front door: Notice For Troll Patrons- Double Fees For Items Purchased For Target Practice.