Once Upon A Time a group of friends gathered for an informal party during a cold winter night. They were having a good time drinking hot tea and eating warm pastries and enjoying each other’s company. When Roy opened the last ginger tea bag and dunked it in his mug of steaming hot water, he said, “Looks like we’re all out of the ginger.” He took a sip and remarked, “Too bad, because this is damn fine tea.”
Lisa nodded and licked her lips, “This is the best tea I’ve probably ever had. I feel invigorated. What’s it called?”
The host, Becky, examined the empty, ornate box that was covered in Gingerbread Man faces, and figures laughing and crying with tears of joy. “It says it’s called Gingerbread Soma. Huh, I’ve never seen this before,” said Becky.
Roy looked around the room, “Well, I’d like to thank whoever brought it and brightened our evening.”
A moment passed. All eyes gazed around, but no one claimed the honor.
Then, the bathroom door swung open with such force that it startled the group and the calm silence. Out walked a baby-faced man with wide, trusting eyes. The baby-faced man smiled and said, “Oh, good. You all drank the tea I brought.”
Becky looked at the man, trying to place his face, but could not. “I’m sorry, I realize that I don’t know your name. You’re new here?”
“Yes,” he replied without offering his name.
“Well, thank you for the tea. Is there some secret ingredient that makes it so delicious?” said Becky.
The baby-faced man smiled a wicked a grin and said, “Let me tell you about this tea.”
He sat down, took a breath and began his tale. “Once upon a time there was a young boy of nine years of age. He always got what he wanted from his parents and his friends. No one could say no to him, and he loved it.
One day he was at his friend Josiah’s house and saw a tin container emblazoned with Gingerbread Men. He asked Josiah what was in it and Josiah told him that it was the most amazing tea he would ever taste, but that if he removed the tea from the house, he would turn into a Gingerbread Man the next day. The young boy laughed, believing that Josiah was pulling his leg. So, the little boy drank the tea and it was as if he had tasted the nectar of the Gods.
He decided to ignore Josiah’s warning and stole the tea saying he wanted it and there was nothing Josiah could do. However, the next morning when the little boy woke up he looked at his hands and saw that he had Gingerbread hands.
He got out of bed, but almost fell down, as his feet and legs were unwieldy Gingerbread limbs. He pulled himself up and looked in the mirror. To his horror he was an entire Gingerbread Man. The little boy grabbed the tin container, sneaked out the back of the house to avoid his parents, and waddled over to Josiah’s.
When Josiah opened the door, the little boy felt weak and helpless and cried as he asked for help. Josiah took back the tin and placed it in the same room it was found. Almost instantly, the little boy’s body returned to his human self.
He asked Josiah where this magical tea came from and Josiah told him matter of factly from Gingerbread Land. The little boy had an idea and pressed Josiah to tell him where this Land existed. Josiah refused, so the little boy grabbed a lamp and mercilessly beat Josiah until he told him where to find the entrance.
The next day, the little boy packed up enough food and water in a satchel for a full day and set out on his journey. After hours and hours of trekking through the hills and woods, the little boy found a small door hidden behind the rock that Josiah described. The little boy went through the door and entered a magical land full of joy, happiness and laughter. He had found the land where Gingerbread people lived.
A beaming Gingerbread Girl approached the little boy and asked him what he wanted. He told her that he needed some of their magical tea. The Girl said she would have to take him to the Mayor of the Land and he could help him.
When the Mayor greeted the little boy, he told him that they couldn’t let any outsiders take their tea unless someone approved them. The little boy lied and said that Josiah had given him permission and that was how he found their Land. The Mayor was suspicious and asked for the secret coin that Josiah would give a friend. The little boy grew frustrated and demanded the tea. The Mayor told him it would not be possible, as they have limited quantities since the tea is made from the life-blood of the Gingerbread people once a week and is then distributed outside the land.
The little boy became furious that his demands were not being met, so he pulled out a baseball bat from his satchel and cracked the Mayor in half, then smashed him into pieces. The little boy picked up the head of the mayor and ate him. He turned to the stunned on-lookers and told them that he will do the same to anyone else who opposes him.
Over the next two days the little boy tortured the Gingerbread men, women and little children, draining them of their life-blood to make the tea that he so desired. Their screams echoed throughout the tranquil landscape. The little boy filled up a wheel barrel of tea, and snatched the mayor’s son, threatening to kill him if they vanished or stopped him when he returns for more.”
The baby-faced man leaned back and ate a cookie. Becky, realizing the story was finished sputtered out, “That’s a fucked up story to tell.”
Lisa said, “Wait, so are you saying you get this tea from a little boy?”
“No. That story is twenty years old,” said the baby-faced, 29-year old man as he smiled a wicked grin.
“There’s no way that story is real. No effing way,” stammered Roy.
It was then that the baby-faced man pulled out a mason jar from his pocket. Inside was a tiny, defeated looking Gingerbread Man that whispered, “Help me.”
The baby-faced man turned to leave, but paused to say to the group, “Enjoy your blood of the Gingerbread Man. Especially in the morning.”
Becky yelled through her tears, “Why? Why did you do this to us?”
“Because every week you assholes block my driveway without any care to have your special get togethers,” and with that the man took his Gingerbread tea tin and left.