‘Oh, that snowman has lost his nose.’ Zuzana was on her way to her favorite supermarket. She spotted the carrot lying on the ground. The snowman looked magnificent. He had black coat buttons for eyes and little apples for ears. He also had a red shawl and a green hat. But the snowman had lost his nose. She bowed down and snatched the carrot from the ground. She carefully fixed it back in place. Smiling she said: ‘There, you are complete again, Mr. Snowman. Have a lovely day.’

Zuzana started walking and when she was only about two meters past the snowman she heard someone say: 

‘I will reward you for your kindness. I will give you a superpower.’ 

Zuzana was quite used to magical things happening to her and was not surprised. 

She asked: ‘I would like to be able to fly.’ 

‘I can’t do that’, said the snowman. 

‘Ok, then I want to be able to become invisible.’ 

‘I can’t do that’, said the snowman. 

‘hmm, ok, then, in that case I want to be able to read people’s thoughts.’ 

‘Yeah, sorry, I can’t do that either…’ 

‘So what can you do?’ 

‘I can only give people a magic power that is specifically connected to their job.’ 

‘You magic creatures always have these very arbitrary rules! But ok, am happy with whatever you can offer. What will be my superpower?’  ‚You bake pizza’s and you are good at baking desserts. I will make your work very easy. If you put a picture of some food in the oven and close the oven for a second you will see that the food will be prepared exactly as in the picture. You will open the oven and the food will be hot and ready.’

‘Hmm. I do not want to be ungrateful, but I already know how to cook and don’t mind cooking. Can’t I snap my fingers and have my entire house thoroughly cleaned in an instant?’

‘This is the only superpower I can give you. I hope you will the benefits the power has to offer.’

‘Am sure I will think of something, yes. I thank you very sincerely and I hope your nose will stay in place from now. At least until you will melt.’

‘I will melt?’, asked the snowman in a terrified voice.

‘No, of course not. Am sorry. Forget what I said. Of course you will not melt. I thank you once again for the superpower and now I must be on my way to do my weekend shopping. Have a good, cold day, sir!’

On Monday Zuzana threw all her colleagues out of the kitchen. She told them to keep themselves busy. She would prepare all the orders today.

Her colleagues had no idea she had an envelope with pictures of everything the restaurant had on the menu in her pocket.

Many orders came. It was a very busy day. The cold winter made people extra hungry at lunch time.

Zuzana was equipped with her new superpower. She had but to put a picture of the desired food in the oven and a second later it was ready for consumption. All the food thus prepared tasted amazingly too.

Zuzana now had so much extra time on her hand! Many people in her position would have got bored or would have endlessly scrolled through Instagram and other social media feeds. Not Zuzana.

She had a very big tome in her purse. Gone with the wind by Margaret Mitchell. A Russian translation. More than 1,000 pages.

Zuzana loved reading and now she finally had the time for it.

The first week like this was pure bliss. She finished the book at work. In the second week she started a book by Charles Dickens. Great expectations. She loved that book as well.

Her colleagues started being suspicious. Why were they not allowed into the kitchen anymore? They were starting to get bored. Even Instagram had lost its appeal for them.

They told her she was working way too hard and that it would be only fair if they also did their fair share of the work.

Zuzana insisted she could easily handle the workload. She said she had so much energy because she was dating a Belgian.

Her colleagues gave up and decided to watch movies at work. They went through the entire Netflix catalogue really fast.

At home Zuzana served the most exquisite meals. She printed pictures of the most exotic and delicious food from internet and popped the pictures into the oven.
She started toying with the idea of opening a restaurant of her own.

At work she had read more than 40 classics. Dickens, Bronte, Tolstoj, Dostojevski, Balzac, Hemingway, Steinbeck…

She loved it, but also felt guilty for working a lot less than before. Zuzana had always worked very hard and her hands were starting to itch.

Then one day in March she put a picture of a pizza pepperoni in the oven at work.

She opened the oven and there was no hot pizza pizza with a crispy crust and juicy toppings… It was just the picture.

She felt the sun caressing her face through the kitchen window.

Instantly she realized what had happened.

‘The snowman has melted. The spell is broken…’

At first she felt sadness and frustration, because she knew she would have to make a bigger effort at work again.

But then she realized there is a very specific joy and sense of pride in seeing the fruit of real labor.

She went home that day and cooked a lavish meal for her loved ones. It took her hours to prepare and they ate everything in fifteen minutes.

Her loved ones thanked her and complimented her. It had been a lovely meal.

They all stood up and cleared the table and started doing the dishes.

Zuzana remained seated and smiled.

Later that evening her soulmate read her two short stories by Gogol out loud in bed.

She enjoyed it even more than before, because it was a welcome and well-deserved treat after doing a terrific job.


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