I saw Louis Sergeant at the vegetable market the other day. He was selling a variety of macarons, some croissants, some pains au chocolat.
Louis Sergeant used to have an inner-city patisserie where delicious dessert sculptures and pots of artisanal tea were conveyed to your table by bright-eyed women in black aprons. The cabinet presented at least a dozen options with shiny mousse spheres, gold flakes, and curved pieces of chocolate. I thought $14 was a rip-off until I tried one.
Then Louis Sergeant opened a second patisserie about two hundred metres away. They both closed within six months, and it seemed like that was that.
But here was Louis Sergeant himself, previously unglimpsed, peddling fine French pastries in a packed carpark alongside greengrocers from Levin.
“Got plans to open another shop soon?” I asked as he bagged a pastry.
“Yes,” he said, after some hesitation.
“My wife and I really miss your patisseries,” I said.
“Thank you,” he replied. “2019 was…” He grimaced and didn’t finish the sentence. I could only imagine the disastrous spreadsheets and red numbers flashing before his eyes.
“I hope 2020 is better,” I said.
“Yes, me too,” said Louis Sergeant.